By Katy Kappler, Co-Founder and CEO, InScribe, and Dr. Jonathan Huck, Research Scientist, WGU Labs
The decision to apply to college, even for older students, can be a lonely, high-stakes journey. Price tags are often shrouded in mystery. Outcomes for graduates can be vague. And confusing terms (registrar, bursar, oh my!) appear at every turn.
These challenges, however, are often mitigated at traditional universities, where students can find answers and build a sense of connection with an institution by walking its grounds, smelling its flowers, and taking lively tours. Unfortunately, these advantages are absent in the online learning space.
How, then, to foster a sense of belonging among applicants who may never set foot on a physical campus? We met this challenge through a recent pilot at Western Governors University (WGU), where we created a virtual community for prospective students to connect with peers, staff, and alumni before deciding to enroll.
The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) recently released new transfer guides for student-athletes currently attending a two- or four-year institution and planning to transfer to a four-year NCAA school.
“Demystifying the College Transfer Process: What Students and Families Need to Know” offers tips to potential transfer students and explores ways to make the transfer process between community colleges and four-year schools more seamless.
Tune in and share with the students and families you serve!
Community college presidents are still concerned that a lack of clear pathways for community college students to transfer two years’ worth of credit is a significant barrier to students transferring to four-year colleges to earn a bachelor’s degree.
Numerous students transfer to another college and complete their degree program each year. Wanting to be closer to home, changing your major, not seeing the current school as good fit, and financial issues often factor into a transfer decision.
Before making a final decision, students should consider the following:
Community college transfer students also graduate at higher rates than students who transfer from other four-year colleges, according to the report.
More than 35,000 community college students transfer to selective colleges and universities each year and 75 percent of them graduate within six years. About 73 percent of students entering selective universities straight from high school graduate in that time frame, along with 61 percent of students who transfer from another four-year institution.
On average, community college transfer students earn their degree within two and a half years.
Transfer students are an important part of the University of Central Florida.
In fact, in recent years, the institution has welcomed more transfer students in its incoming class than first-year freshmen — and in the process has created what some consider a national model of excellence while increasing access for underrepresented students.
“We’ve always been concerned with the success of every student, but as our numbers started to increase with transfer students, we really started to focus heavily on how we could work with our transfer population to make them as successful as possible,” said Jennifer Sumner, a UCF administrator.
Helping community college students select courses suited to their interests and finding ways to connect classroom lessons with the real world could help more students persist in higher education, according to a new report from the Brookings Institution.
“The key takeaways are that making it easier for students to navigate the college environment and connect their coursework to their lives can improve student outcomes,” noted report author Elizabeth Mann Levesque.