Academic journal article College and University

Transfer Students' Institutional Attendance Patterns: A Case Study

Academic journal article College and University

Transfer Students' Institutional Attendance Patterns: A Case Study

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study examined the institutional attendance patterns of 605 two-year college students who transferred to a large, urban, public Midsouth University between Fall 1994 and Spring 1998. The purpose was to ascertain the extent ofstudents' interinstitutional traf

fic, including the role of the two-year college in this traffic. Several patterns were found, including the role of the two-year college in this traffic. Several patterns were found, including the fact that 45 percent of the students attended three or more colleges in pursuing the baccalaureate and 13 percent continued to enroll at two-year colleges while enrolled at the University.

he stereotypical profile of a community college (transfer student is "one who enrolls in college immediately after high school graduation, attends the community college for two years, and then transfers to the university" (Piland 1995). The implicit assumption is that these students earn an associate's degree before transferring. Although many two-year transfers fit this profile, there is increasing evidence it is an outdated characterization. Rather, for many students the two-year college is one of several colleges attended in a circuitous route to the baccalaureate, a route that includes frequent transferring between colleges, in both the two-year and four-year sectors (Kearney, Townsend, and Kearney 1995; Townsend and Dever 1999). Also, the route does not always include receipt of an associate's degree.

Failure to understand how students use the two-year college as they seek the baccalaureate may underlie some four-year faculty and administrators' inattentiveness or even resistance to developing articulation agreements with two-year colleges. If an articulation agreement is reached, it is commonly one to accept in toto the Associate of Arts (A.A.) degree, generally considered to be the "transfer degree." However, in many states students who earn the Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S.) degree transfer in greater numbers than do students with the A.A. or Associate of Science (A.S.) degrees (Eaton 1991).

To provide a better understanding of how students use the two-year school in their pursuit of a baccalaureate, the author conducted a case study of the institutional attendance patterns of a group of two-year college transfers to a large, urban, public Midsouth university. This study sought to determine how many of the students transferred with an associate's degree.

Methodology

The population for this study was all students who (1) entered the University in Fall 1994 or subsequent semesters through Spring 1998, (2) were still enrolled in the Spring 1998 semester, and (3) had accumulated at least 18 credit hours from one of the area's four two-year colleges. These four colleges were selected because they are major feeder schools for the University. For example, in Fall 1998 more than 63 percent of the University's undergraduate transfers were from these schools. Two of the colleges are located in the same city as the University and two are rural institutions located within 11 to 21/z hours' driving time. Three of the colleges are community colleges, and one is a technical institute permitted to offer only the A.A.S. degree, considered by the state to be a non-transfer degree.

The decision to study students who had transferred in at least 18 hours rather than those who had completed a two-year degree was made to gain some perspective on the extent to which two-year transfers complete a degree before transferring. Eighteen credit hours was selected as the initial parameter, based on the recommendation of an advisory group of representatives from the two-year colleges and the university in the study.

For all four two-year colleges, the University's registrar provided the researcher with a list of students who had transferred in 18 or more hours from these schools (n=1,181) and their majors. A check of the students' academic areas indicated that the ones with the highest enrollment were business, education, and nursing. …

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