Taking a Deeper Dive to Improve Transfer Student Experiences on Your Campus


For the second year, NACAC sponsored the annual conference of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS). At the sold-out event in February, attendees gathered to learn new ideas and share best practices designed to help students navigate the transfer process.

One especially useful session reviewed lessons learned by a group of schools that underwent a rigorous self-study process to evaluate the effectiveness of their transfer policies and procedures. The findings, presented by Betsy Griffin of the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, came from a mix of two- and four-year institutions.

Top recommendations included:

    • Harness the power of assessment and data. Increasing assessment of transfer students, using transfer student profiles and success data to dispel faculty myths, and measuring the effectiveness of transfer programming were common improvement strategies among four-year colleges. For two-year institutions, identifying and tracking prospective transfer candidates, collecting data on student success post-transfer, and disseminating data on campus about transfer-bound students were cited as areas critical to improvement.
    • Make advising a priority. Improving advising at both the two-year and four-year level requires professional development for transfer advisors, as well as new or improved advising materials. Colleges must also evaluate the effectiveness of their advising services, improve student access to advisors, and require or encourage advisement for students who plan to transfer.
    • Improve communication with students. Updating and developing processes to keep transfer information current, making such information readily available online, and improving access to course equivalencies and articulation agreements are important steps for both two- and four-year colleges.

    For a list of sample questions to begin assessing your institution’s approach to transfer, visit NACAC’s website.

    Resources from NACAC include the association’s application fee waiver form for transfer students and a tip sheet for students who are planning to transfer to a four-year institution from a community college.

    Heather Durosko is a policy and research strategic initiatives analyst at NACAC. She can be reached at hdurosko@nacacnet.org.

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