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Transfer Student Attrition and Retention at Point Loma Nazarene

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					 Transfer Student Attrition and
          Retention at
Point Loma Nazarene University

               By Jovonne M. Dempster
               soon to be BA in May 2007

               Point Loma Nazarene University
               San Diego, California
Who am I?

 Jovonne M. Dempster
   21 year old female
Industrial Organizational
     Psychology major
First Generation College
         Graduate
    Minority Student
     Honors Student
Former Transfer Student
My Transfer Story…

College Journey:
   High School graduate class of 2003
   Azusa Pacific University for Fall 2003
   Mira Costa Community College for Spring 2004
   Point Loma Nazarene University for Fall 2004


          Graduation= Spring 2007
Point Loma Nazarene University

                   Founded in 1902 by Phineas
                    F. Bresee (USC Board of
                    Trustees member)
                   Private & Liberal Arts
                    University
                   Sponsored by the Church of
                    the Nazarene
                   Accredited by the Western
                    Association with Schools
                    and Colleges (WASC)
                   2400 undergraduate
                    students
Point Loma Nazarene University

       “To Teach~ To Shape~ To Send”
                     Mission Statement
 Point Loma Nazarene University exists to provide higher
 education in a vital Christian community where minds are
 engaged and challenged, character is modeled and formed,
 and service becomes an expression of faith. Being of
 Wesleyan heritage, we aspire to be a learning community
 where grace is foundational, truth is pursued, and holiness
 is a way of life.
A View from Point Loma Nazarene
           University
Overview

   Connection to Transfer Students
   Point Loma Nazarene University Transfer Student Retention
   Review of the Literature
   Gaps in the Literature
   Fall 2006 Transfer Orientation
   Quotes from Student Participants
   Results of Post-Orientation Assessment
   Fall to Spring Retention
   Spring 2007 Orientation
   Quotes from Student Participants
Overview continued

   Next Step
   Future Suggestions for Point Loma Nazarene University’s
    Transfer Program
   Question and Answer session



                Ready? Let’s dive right into it!
Why Me?

 NSO transfer student panel
 Connection with Student Development
 Hired to research and design
 Senior Honors Project
PLNU Transfer Retention

   Transfer students enter the University at
    different classifications, freshman to senior.
   85% of transfers are sophomores or
    juniors
   Expected time of completion vary within the
    different classifications, depending on the #
    of units they come in with.
PLNU Transfer Retention

   The University began creating cohorts of
    transfer students, identified by entering year
    and classification, in the fall of 2001-2002.
   Currently the data is only available for four
    years on the first cohort year, limiting
    current reporting on transfer students.
PLNU Transfer Retention

Preliminary Themes:
Junior Transfers have a 85% graduation rate

Freshman or Sophomore Transfer have a 65%
  graduation rate
                      vs.

Overall 6 year grad rate for First Time Freshman is
  68%
Review of the Literature

    The fact of the matter is…
   Recent information on college enrollment trends indicated that
    higher education experienced a rapid growth of transfer
    students in the last decade (United States Department of Education, 2001).


   Significant portion of the college population attend more than
    one college. (Townsend, 2001)

   During some portion of their college careers, approximately 1/3
    of college seniors have transferred (Jacobs, 2006)
Review of the Literature

Transfer students are often labeled as:
   Not wanting to engage in the campus life of their new institution
    (Astin, 1982)
   Concerned only with their academic course requirements, being
    academically unprepared for the demands of four-year institutions
    (Keeley & House, 1993; Laanan, 1999; Townsend, 1994)
   Not needing assistance in their transition because they have
    already experienced college life on at least one other campus
    (Beckenstein, 1992).
Review of the Literature

Why do students transfer colleges?
   Pursue further education
   Academic difficulty
   Dissatisfaction
   Lack of institutional fit
   Financial difficulties
   Career Change
   Crisis
   Relocation
                             (Harrison & Varcol, 1984)
Review of the Literature

“Transfer student hassles: Investigation and
  remediation” by Alice A. Mitchell and William E. Sedlacek
   Sample group consisted of Junior criminal justice & government students. Students were
   given a questionnaire that asked them questions about their concerns and about their
   attitudes toward their transfer process.

The three highest hassles for transfer students were:

   (1) Determining which advisor is appropriate for particular questions
   (2) Receiving adequate information about sources of scholarships

   (3) Learning which courses will count toward requirements.
Review of the Literature

The three lowest hassles reported by transfer students
  were:
  (1) Getting information about appropriate procedures for applying for
  graduation
  (2) Finding out the procedure to change one's major
  (3) Getting unofficial copies of one's transcript.
Review of the Literature

Characteristics of Transfer Students:
   Aware of some institution expectations
   Expect some services as at prior institution
   When compared to freshman are more mature and understand rules
   Overly confident
   Possess a predetermined bias
   Come with developed interest in academics and out of class activities
   Developed better social skills
   Sense isolation and often skip orientation programs
   Show less enthusiasm
   Display false sense of security
                                          (Horne & Kreusch, 1989)
Review of the Literature
    Relatively well-established research in the United States has identified
    a range of student and institutional issues related to the transfer
    experience.
   “Transfer shock” (Carlan & Byxbe, 2000; Cjeda, 1997; Fredrickson, 1998; Glass & Harrington,
    2002; Laanan, 2001; Rhine, Milligan & Nelson, 2000),

   “Transfer shock" has been coined to denote the lowered
    performance of transfer students, in comparison to pre-transfer
    performance (Holahan et al., 1983)
   Student withdrawal rates (Minear, 1998 in D.S. Peterman, 2002; Van Middlesworth,
    Carpenter-Davis & McCool, 2002)
   Student perceptions of the cultural differences between college
    and university (Davies & Dickmann, 1998)
   Institutional remedies to enhance the success of transfer
    students (Rhine, Milligan & Nelson, 2000)
Review of the Literature

Some more important information to know about transfer students:
   Kelley (1982) observed that transfer students' awareness of themselves as a
    unique group was important in predicting transfer student expectations of
    academic success.
   Bean and Metzner (1985) suggested that administrators and faculty need to
    better understand transfer students on their respective college campuses.
   Studying transfer students upon their entry into their new institution provides an
    opportunity for researchers to study a group of students who are still committed
    to completing a college degree (Tinto, 1993)
   Assessing the goals, attitudes, academic behaviors, and intentions of
    transfer students allows for a better understanding of the college retention
    process for transfer students. (Laanan, 1996)
Review of the Literature

Some more important info…
   Volkwein, King & Terenzini (1986) note that interaction with faculty
    can be critical in helping to develop the cognitive skills of
    transfer students. (Johnson, 1987)

   Better understanding how this theme relates to success by using non-
    cognitive variables (a positive self-concept, availability of a strong
    support person, importance of community, long-range goals,
    leadership skills, and understanding how to negotiate a diverse
    environment) will help to gauge transfer students’ talents and
    potential to succeed in college (Wawrzynski & Sedlacek, 2003)
Review of the Literature

The final piece of literature…
Wrenn (1967, in Feldman, Sedlacek, & Wright, 1977) wrote:


 “Transfers are freshmen in every sense of the
   word except for a few more years of general
     maturity and some additional academic
          content gathered elsewhere."
Gaps in the Literature

    Main areas the literature failed to give any insight…


   Critical window of engagement for transfer
    students
   Small College/University data
   Lack of intensive transfer student research
Gaps in the Literature

 Although numbers of transfer students increased over the
 past decade, research on transfer students has not kept
 pace with this growing trend.

 The research on transfer students has been devoted to
 comparing transfer students to their first-year student
 counterparts (Miville & Sedlacek, 1995) or to students who originated
 and continued enrollment at the same institution (Keeley & House,
 1993; Townsend, 1994), or grouped students into minority and non-
 minority transfer students (Keeley & House; Laanan, 1999).
Fall 2006 Transfer Orientation

Pre-Orientation Preparations:

   Transfer Student Needs, Orientation, and PLNU
    research

   “Welcome to Point Loma Nazarene University” letter
Fall 2006 Transfer Orientation
1.   1.5 hour session dedicated to building social connections and educating
     transfer students about campus culture

2.   1.5 hour session dedicated to informing new students about general
     education requirements, academic standings, and academic advising

3.   Pre-engagement piece:
     - Strengths Quest group
     - Reading Discussion group

4.   3 week engagement piece
     - Week 1: Transfer Student Dinner
     - Week 2: “Check in” email
     - Week 3: “Send off” email
Fall 2006 Transfer Orientation

“10 tips for Transfer Success at Point Loma Nazarene
    University”                   By: Jovonne M. Dempster
1.    “Get Acquainted with your Academic Department”
2.    “Build a Relationship with your Advisor”
3.    “Create Social, Academic, and Spiritual network of friends”
4.    “Dive into PLNU’s culture”
5.    “Focus your time”
6.    “Set Goals, and FOLLOW them”
7.    “Have Fun (It’s College after all!)”
8.    “Be Aggressive and Proactive”
9.    “Keep On Your Game”
10.   “Don’t be Afraid to Question”
Fall 2006 Transfer Orientation

Intervention:

  Sophomore and Junior residents met at the Residence Director
  of Nease Halls’, a freshman/sophomore dormitory, apartment
  for dinner and a debriefing about their semester before
  Thanksgiving break…
Quotes from Student Participants

“Going into any new school half way through the year
  can be intimidating at first. But for me, coming from a
  large public university in Alabama to PLNU was a
  very comfortable transition. I was made to feel like I
  was a part of the student body and not just as a
  number as I did at my previous institution. I knew
  that I made the right decision to transfer to PLNU!”

                           Michelle Jaimerena
                           Fall 2006 sophomore transfer
Quotes from Student Participants

 “At the transfer luncheon, there were 3 people that I sat with and got to
 know. Of those 3 I am still really close to 2 of them. One of the girls actually
 became my best friend here at Point Loma and I don’t think we would have
 ever met if it wasn’t for the transfer luncheon.

 In addition to the luncheon, I believe the dinner that we had a week or so after
 NSO was also very important. It gave us a break from the hundreds of people
 we were meeting in the first week and then allowed us to recall those that we
 have seen around campus and really be able to attach a name to their faces.

 For the future, I think it would be a good idea to maybe do a couple more of
 those dinners throughout the semester and really allow time for transfers to
 develop a stronger relationship with other transfers in case they aren’t enjoying
 the people they were forced to live with”                  Whitney Cauzza
                                                            Fall 2006 Junior
            Results of Post-Orientation
                   Assessment

What type of                              Type of Previous Institution
institution did you
transfer from?
                              4-year private
                                                 other
                                  12%                                    2-year
                                                  0%
2-year institution= 69%   4-year public                                  trade school
                              19%                                        4-year public
Trade School= 0%
                          trade school                                   4-year private
                                                         2-year
4-year Public= 19%             0%                                        other
                                                          69%
4-year Private= 12%
Other= 0%
What is the reason for transferring to
Point Loma Nazarene University?

Major, Location, Size    20%
Nursing Program          16%
Community & Atmosphere   14.67%
Degree                   14.67%
Christian Education      12%
Religious Affiliation    5.33%
Better School            5.33%
Peer/Family Influence    4%
Weather                  4%
N/A                      4%
Athletics                2.67%
Fall to Spring Retention?

Fall – Spring First Time Freshman retention
  rate of 86% (last couple of years)
Fall 06- Spring 07 First Time Freshman
  retention rate of 95%
                      Vs.

Fall – Spring Transfer retention rate of 93.6%
Fall 06- Spring 07 Transfer retention rate of
  95%
Spring 2007 Transfer Orientation


 Change from 3 hour,
 Sunday whirlwind to full
     day Saturday
      Orientation.

  Results= Success!!!
Quotes from Student Participants

“The Life of a Transfer Student” by Jen Lebron, Spring 2007 Jr. Transfer

1.   “It was weird enough starting a brand new school as a slightly older junior;
     but it was even stranger to arrive halfway through the school year”
2.   “I’ve never been to a school that pushes you so hard to be involved…with
     EVERYTHING!”
3.   “Even though I’ve been here for a week, I already know that my choice to
     come to PLNU was a good one.”

* Hint: She’s involved with the school newspaper!
Next Step

1.   Student Development
2.   Academic Advisers
3.   Relationship with Commuter Office
4.   Who will run with the torch next?
     Future Suggestions for Point Loma
       Nazarene University’s Transfer
                Programs

1.   Wellness Center contacts with Transfer Students
2.   Post “Welcome to Point Loma Nazarene University”
     letter
3.   Better Intervention/ A time of debriefing
4.   Better scheduling of classes in the 1st semester
Any Comments, Questions, Concerns?




This is your chance to finally speak!
Thank You!!!

               Contact me…

                 Jovonne M. Dempster
               jdempste@pointloma.edu

				
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