Experiences of Students Transferring from Community and Technical Colleges to a Private Nonprofit University Open Access
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The purpose of the study is to learn about how students who transfer from community and technical colleges to a private four-year research university experience the transfer process at both institutions. The study followed Merriam's (2009) basic interpretive qualitative design. A sample of 20 participants was recruited for the study. Semi-structured, in-depth, face-to-face interviews were conducted with each participant. Each interview was audio recorded and transcribed by the researchers. Data in the study is presented using Merriam's (2009) narrative analysis format. In the narrative analysis of the data, themes identified through the analysis are described at length including exemplar excerpts from the interview transcripts. Long quotations from the participants and rich description of the interview context from the researcher create the narrative. Quotations from various participants are organized in a way that demonstrates to the reader how the participants' responses form a theme. Aspects of the theories of involvement (Astin, 1984/1999), integration (Tinto, 1993), and engagement (Kuh, 2001; Kuh, Kinzie, Schuh, & Whitt, 2005) were applied by the researcher to the analysis of the experiences of the study participants. These findings can be organized into an institutional strand and a student strand. The institutional strand of findings includes threads related to the institutions' role in engaging students both academically and socially as they travel between the institutions throughout the transfer process. The student strand of findings includes threads related to aspects of the students' experiences that demonstrate how the act of transferring changes how they participate in the academic and social environments of the institutions. The findings of this study have implications for students who transfer from community and technical colleges to private universities as well as for transfer students in general. Recommendations are offered by the researcher to improve future policy, practice, and research related to these student populations.