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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.

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Presentation on theme: "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."— Presentation transcript:

1 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

2 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

3 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

4 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

5 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.

6 A View from Point Loma Nazarene University

7 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

8 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!

9 Why Me? NSO transfer student panel Connection with Student Development Hired to research and design Senior Honors Project

10 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.

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

12 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%

13 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)

14 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).

15 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)

16 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.

17 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.

18 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)

19 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)

20 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)

21 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)

22 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."

23 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

24 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).

25 Fall 2006 Transfer Orientation Pre-Orientation Preparations: Transfer Student Needs, Orientation, and PLNU research “Welcome to Point Loma Nazarene University” letter

26 Fall 2006 Transfer Orientation hour session dedicated to building social connections and educating transfer students about campus culture 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” - Week 3: “Send off”

27 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”

28 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…

29 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

30 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

31 Results of Post-Orientation Assessment What type of institution did you transfer from? 2-year institution= 69% Trade School= 0% 4-year Public= 19% 4-year Private= 12% Other= 0%

32 What is the reason for transferring to Point Loma Nazarene University? Major, Location, Size20% Nursing Program16% Community & Atmosphere14.67% Degree14.67% Christian Education12% Religious Affiliation5.33% Better School5.33% Peer/Family Influence4% Weather4% N/A4% Athletics2.67%

33 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%

34 Spring 2007 Transfer Orientation Change from 3 hour, Sunday whirlwind to full day Saturday Orientation. Results= Success!!!

35 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!

36 Next Step 1. Student Development 2. Academic Advisers 3. Relationship with Commuter Office 4. Who will run with the torch next?

37 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 1 st semester

38 Any Comments, Questions, Concerns? This is your chance to finally speak!

39 Thank You!!! Contact me… Jovonne M. Dempster


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