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"You Can Do It!" Social Support for Transfer Students During the Transition From Community College to a Four-Year University

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Although degrees are awarded to students individually, often the processes by which students accomplish this feat are a communal effort. Transfer students, in particular, face a unique set of challenges when transitioning from community college to a four-year university. For this study, three focus groups were conducted with a total of 14 students who recently transferred to a four-year university. Sessions centered on the challenges of transferring, and the relationships and resources they found supportive during the transition. Three areas of support emerged: emotional support, practical support, and campus capital. Parents and friends provided emotional support (verbal encouragement) as well as practical support (i. e., financial support or cooking meals). Faculty and staff at the university were found to provide campus capital, or the campusspecific information needed to successfully navigate the university. Recommendations for supporting transfer students are provided.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2017

More about this publication?
  • The Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition is a semiannual refereed journal providing current research on the first college year and other significant student transitions. The primary purpose of the Journal is to disseminate empirical research findings on student transition issues that inform practice in all sectors of postsecondary education, such as explorations into the academic, personal, and social experiences (including outcomes related to success, learning, and development) of students at a range of transition points throughout the college years; transition issues unique to specific populations (e.g., non-traditional, traditional, historically underrepresented students, transfer students, commuters, part-time students); and explorations of faculty development, curriculum, and pedagogical innovations connected to college transitions.
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