Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2012

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In

Educational Policy and Leadership Studies

First Advisor

Bills, David

First Committee Member

Hevel, Michael S

Second Committee Member

Lovaglia, Michael J

Third Committee Member

Mcnabb, Scott F

Fourth Committee Member

Pascarella, Ernest T


The purpose of this study was to explore whether traditional and nontraditional students who transferred from 2-year to 4-year institutions experienced differences in transfer shock, academic integration, and social integration. A substantial body of knowledge comparing transfer students to native students on transfer shock exists, while only a few qualitative studies have focused on how transfer students experience academic and social integration at the transfer institution. Further, the major studies examining transfer student behavior group all transfer students into a single category by the one thing they share in common- a transition experience. Due to the increasing numbers and diversity of transfer students it is important to examine how their unique characteristics influence transfer and subsequent integration into their new environment. The sample for this study was taken from the Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study (BPS: 04/09). The large, nationally representative data set was filtered to include only students who transferred from 2-year institutions to 4-year institutions, creating a much smaller sample of students. The main independent variable in the analyses was age. For this study traditional students were defined as those less than 24 years of age, while nontraditional students were those 24 years or older. Linear regression was used to examine whether traditional and nontraditional students experienced differences in transfer shock, level of academic integration, and level of social integration following transfer. The findings from this study suggest that there is no relationship between age and transfer experiences. Further research is necessary to determine whether the absence of a relationship truly exists or whether the small sample size in this analysis influenced the outcome.


academic integation, community college, social integration, transfer shock, transfer students


viii, 93 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 88-93).


Copyright 2012 Brooke Lindsey Strahn-Koller