Date of Award

Spring 5-2019

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Education

First Advisor

Dr. Rhonda Bishop

Second Advisor

Dr. Sherry DeVore

Third Advisor

Dr. Tracey Glaessgen

Abstract

Although attendance numbers are rising in both populations, transfer students and firstgeneration students have lower retention and completion rates (Bonet & Walters, 2016; Seider, Clark, & Soutter, 2015). All students, specifically first-generation and transfer students, have a better chance of succeeding if they feel they are academically and socially integrated into the university setting (Seider et al., 2015; Williams & Ferrari, 2015). The purpose of this study was to examine the success gap between firstgeneration transfer students and continuing generation community college transfer students who attend one Midwest university. The mixed methods study included an analysis of quantitative data of retention rates for both of these groups. A z-test was administered, and retention rates were not statistically significant between firstgeneration and continuing generation community college transfer students. For the qualitative analysis, a focus group was conducted with four students who were firstgeneration community college transfer students in their first semester at the participating institution. The focus group questions concentrated on building a sense of belonging at the institution. Additionally, five interviews were conducted with transfer student specific faculty and staff academic advisors. Questions during the interview focused on support techniques and training for academic advisors. Following the qualitative analysis, three themes emerged: students need support, advisors need training, and transfer student status matters more than first-generation student status. For students to be successful a sense of belonging must be obtained.

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