Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Higher Education

A Comparison of Factors Related to University Students' Learning: College-Transfer and Direct-Entry from High School Students

Academic journal article The Canadian Journal of Higher Education

A Comparison of Factors Related to University Students' Learning: College-Transfer and Direct-Entry from High School Students

Article excerpt

Introduction

In higher education, transfer programs are created by two postsecondary institutions formally agreeing to allow students to use previous academic experience from one institution to achieve advanced standing in a related program at the second institution (Boggs & Trick, 2009). This type of partnership is common between colleges and universities: students with two-year college diplomas can receive advancement toward a four-year university degree or vice versa. When focusing on student mobility from colleges to universities, articulation agreements typically take one of three forms: bilateral agreements, whereby two institutions with related programs allow credits from a college program to be transferred toward a university degree program; multilateral agreements, whereby several universities with related programs accept transfer credits from a single college program; and concurrent programs, whereby students work toward the requirements of a college diploma from one institution and a university degree from another at the same time and in one geographic area (Boggs & Trick, 2009). Students-especially those in college programs-often expect to be able to move between colleges and universities to "combine the strengths of both sectors and support the pursuit of continuous lifelong learning" (Decock, McCloy, Liu, & Hu, 2011, p. 6).

Transfer Programs in Canada

In the United States, community colleges were originally established to encourage the movement of students, particularly from racialized or less affluent backgrounds, into four-year degree-granting institutions (Boswell & Wilson, 2004). In Canada, particularly in British Columbia (BC) and Alberta, colleges were developed for similar reasons. Ac- cording to Dennison (1995), colleges allow students facing a variety of barriers-for example, financial, academic, or geographic-to access postsecondary education (PSE). For example, "for students from the lowest income categories in Canada, the participation rate is about 50% greater in colleges than in universities, indicating that colleges play an important role in equitable access to PSE" (Drolet, 2005, p. 30). In BC and Alberta, articulation agreements between colleges and universities are provincially mandated (Decock et al., 2011). Québec has a unique postsecondary system in which high school graduates can pursue either a either a two-year pre-university program or a three-year technical program within a Collège D'enseignement Général et Professionnel (CÉGEP; Colleges Ontario, 2009). Thus, this system allows both traditional general arts and science college graduates and applied or technical college graduates to transfer into university programs. Approximately 25% of CÉGEP graduates in the technical stream go on to university, compared to 78% in the pre-university stream (Colleges Ontario, 2009).

Several organizations exist to help create articulation agreements between colleges and universities and to conduct research on transfer programs. For example, the British Columbia Council on Admissions and Transfer (BCCAT) and the Alberta Council on Admissions and Transfer (ACAT) help facilitate the creation of transfer agreements between colleges and universities and conduct periodic studies on transfer student mobility and experiences in their respective provinces (ACAT, 2009; BCCAT, 2009). In 2006, an ACAT survey showed that two years after graduation, approximately 20.5% of graduates from two technical institutes1 in Alberta were pursuing some sort of further education (Colleges Ontario, 2009). Of this 20.5%, 36.1% were enrolled in undergraduate-level degree programs and 4.5% in graduate-level degree programs. In BC, the overall college-university transfer rate was reported to be 19% in 2007 (Colleges Ontario, 2009).

Transfer Programs in Ontario

Ontario established colleges in 1965 as a solution to the postsecondary system's inability to sustain the increasing number of high school graduates. …

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