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The recent Transfer and Progress: Fall 2022 Report from the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center (NSCRC) reveals an enrollment decline of 14.5% since 2020 in the number of college and university students transferring from two-year colleges to four-year institutions, amounting to over 78,500 students. This stat raises an important question: how can schools effectively support the health and well-being of transfer students so they can achieve their academic goals?
Types of transfers in higher education
In Fall 2022, student mobility among last year’s 11.5 million undergraduate students without a bachelor’s degree displayed varying patterns. Reverse transfers, with which students transitioned from four-year to two-year colleges, showed a slight increase of 1%. Lateral transfers experienced a 0.3% increase among two-year colleges and a 2% increase among four-year students. However, upward transfers, which involve students transferring from two-year colleges to four-year institutions, declined by 7.5% last academic year, representing a decrease of approximately 37,600 students.
The clearinghouse data also highlights racial disparities in transfer trends. Since the onset of the pandemic, Asian and White students experienced the most significant declines in transfers, with drops of 14.8% and 12.2% respectively.
Gender also plays a role in transfer patterns. Over the span of two years, the proportion of men transferring decreased by nearly 4%, while women experienced a decline of over 9%. These findings underscore the importance of recognizing and addressing the complex factors that contribute to disparities in transfer rates, including race, ethnicity, and gender. By actively working toward equitable solutions, educational institutions can strive for a more inclusive and supportive environment for all learners pursuing higher education – particularly to address the significant decline of upward transfer students.
Challenges transfer students face
Transfer students face a unique set of challenges when transitioning from one educational institution to another. These challenges can impact their academic performance, well-being, and overall college experience. Understanding and addressing these obstacles is crucial to ensuring a smooth transition and support for transfer students. The following list explores some of the key challenges faced by transfer students, based on information from Inside Higher Ed, Forbes, The Captain’s Log, and Psycnet.
Lack of knowledge about transfer students
According to the SENSE 2022 survey among community college students, 52% of entering students reported being unaware that their college offered transfer advising services. This lack of knowledge can hinder students from accessing resources that could support their transfer process.
Changing of major and education pathway
Over half of all transfer students (53.9%) change their major when transitioning to a different institution. This trend is more common among upward transfers (90.5%), with lateral transfers (88%) and reverse transfers (approximately 59%) not falling far behind. Shifting educational pathways and changing majors can introduce additional challenges for transfer students.
Making new connections
Transfer students often struggle to establish new connections and integrate into the social fabric of their new institution. Joining clubs, organizations, and athletics; participating in campus events; and connecting with other transfer students can help overcome this challenge by creating a feeling of belonging.
Many transfer students face difficulties in balancing their academic coursework with personal responsibilities such as work or family obligations. Prioritizing tasks, creating a balanced schedule, and seeking support from friends, family, or academic advisors can aid in managing these responsibilities effectively.
Navigating financial aid and scholarships
Adjusting to a new environment
Adapting to a new environment can be challenging for transfer students. Connecting with roommates and friends, exploring the local area, and seeking support from the school’s housing office can ease the transition and facilitate a sense of belonging.
Transferring credits and fulfilling degree requirements
Transfer students often face the task of transferring credits and ensuring they meet the degree requirements of their new institution. Regular meetings with academic advisors, reviewing degree requirements, and exploring transfer credit policies can help students navigate this process successfully.
Adapting to a new academic environment
Transfer students may find it necessary to adapt to a new academic environment, including different teaching styles, academic expectations, and campus resources. Attending orientation sessions, meeting with academic advisors, and connecting with other first-year students can facilitate a smoother adjustment to the new academic setting.
Student mental health challenges
Studies find that “transfer students who presented to the counseling center endorsed higher levels of symptoms of depression and social anxiety, as well as more academic and family problems.” Addressing mental health issues and providing appropriate support services and mental health services are vital for student success.
All these challenges can significantly impact transfer students’ health and well-being, affecting their academic performance and college experience. Supporting transfer students’ health and well-being is crucial for their overall success.
Help transfer students thrive
How schools can prepare transfer students for the transition
Preparing transfer students for a successful transition is an essential responsibility of colleges and universities. By providing the necessary support and resources, institutions can ensure that students feel empowered and well-equipped to navigate the transfer process. This list explores several ideas on how schools can effectively prepare upward transfer students for their transition, drawing insights from the SENSE 2022 survey and relevant sources.
Provide transfer students with a transfer program
Establishing a dedicated transfer program can greatly assist transfer students in their transition. This program should include comprehensive information on the transfer process, application procedures, financial aid options, and available resources. Having a centralized hub of transfer-related information can help students navigate the complexities of transferring more smoothly.
Train faculty and staff on transferring discussions
It’s imperative to train faculty and staff on effectively discussing transferring with students. The SENSE 2022 survey revealed that a significant number of students felt that staff did not adequately address the overall transfer process or clarify which credits would transfer to their desired program. Training faculty and staff to provide accurate and helpful information can alleviate confusion and facilitate a seamless transfer experience.
Assist transfer students in defining long-term plans
Helping transfer students define their long-term goals and aspirations is essential. By proactively reaching out to students and connecting them with the necessary resources, colleges, and universities can help transfer students establish a clear vision for their life, career, and educational path. Guiding them through the available options and opportunities can set them on a trajectory toward success.
Outline academic plans from the beginning
Alert transfer students to financial resources
Provide a dedicated support person
Designating a “go-to” person transfer students can greatly enhance their transition experience. This individual serves as a guide, assisting students through each step of the admissions process, financial aid applications, and academic planning. Having a reliable and accessible point of contact fosters a supportive environment for transfer students.
Utilize telehealth for 24/7 support
Incorporating telehealth services can offer transfer students 24/7 support for their mental health and well-being, as well as address their basic needs. Transfer students may face challenges related to housing, food insecurity, and access to healthcare. By providing telehealth services that encompass not only mental health support but also resources for addressing basic needs, colleges and universities can ensure that transfer students have comprehensive assistance regardless of time or location. This holistic approach helps create an inclusive and supportive environment for transfer students, enabling them to thrive academically and personally during their transition.
Preparing transfer students for a successful transition requires a comprehensive approach that addresses their unique needs and challenges. By implementing initiatives such as the ones above, colleges and universities can empower transfer students to thrive in their new educational journey.
How can TimelyCare help your institution support transfer students?
TimelyCare revolutionizes the student experience on campus by providing convenient access to virtual medical and mental health care services. Our hybrid care model, developed in collaboration with campus health resources, offers a comprehensive range of virtual services to support the well-being of the entire student population. Through our platform, students can access counseling services, on-demand emotional support, substance use counseling, medical care, psychiatric support, health coaching, basic needs support, self-care content, and a wide range of other physical health and mental health resources.
By leveraging technology, our telehealth services bridge gaps in care and ensure students receive continuous support, bolstering student well-being. With the flexibility of virtual and in-person options, colleges and universities can establish a robust healthcare ecosystem that enhances accessibility for all students while alleviating the strain on overburdened healthcare providers.
In utilizing TimelyCare’s integrated telehealth solution, students – avoid costly hospital and urgent care expenses, receiving timely and effective care. Our commitment to delivering high-quality, personalized care brings peace of mind to campus administrators, healthcare professionals, students, and their families.
Discover how TimelyCare’s hybrid care model, delivered through telehealth and virtual resources, can elevate your campus health resources. Contact us today to explore the transformative impact on the student experience.