To transfer or not to transfer... by nicole baird

As community college practitioner, I tend to be very defensive of community college students. It was interesting to listen to Andrew Flagel’s research. I have always suspected that competitive schools are not as likely to accept community college transfer students into their programs. And those community college students that are accepted into four year colleges, I question if they get the proactive services they need to be successful. However, as noted in our text and the notes there are a multitude of affective co-factors that we know negatively student success (part time status, family commitments, work schedule, commuter students, etc.) Additionally, it was interesting to learn that Flagel’s research revealed that articulations don’t really matter. This is in direct conflict with what we learned in the text (Kuh, 2015, p. 277). Also, creating seamless articulations is hard since the community college and the four-year institution change curriculum and don’t always keep each other informed.

From a theoretical perspective and upon reading the literature provided this week, I wonder if community colleges are not providing students with the social and navigational skills needed to be successful in four year institutions. How often do community college attribute high enrollments in remedial coursework to our K-12 partners stating that high school graduates aren’t prepared. Yet, we don’t have programming to support students through transfer. Instead, we apply a lot of resources to new students on the front end but don’t provide as many interventions on the back end. Also, the theory and research behind transfer shock was quite interesting and should be used to develop responsive programming for transfer students.

So let’s have some real talk…

I work at the BJ’s or Sam’s club of higher education boasting 160+ different degree and certificate options. Our vast menu of options makes it entirely too difficult to expertly advise in select areas. Furthermore, it is like a puzzle to figure which programs transfer to which schools. None of our programs transfer seamlessly to each of our 4 year partners. Thus, academic advisement is challenging and students are often advised to major in general studies (allowing the student to take 24 elective courses in anything and 34-36 general education courses requirements). The academic departments become angry and frustrated with the academic advisors for pulling students out of their program majors as they are expected to meet certain benchmarks for program completion. The academic advisors don’t want to misadvise the student. Thus, there is a divide in philosophies and the one entity that is hurting, is the student.

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