Transfer transitions: first semester experiences of transfer students at selected Texas Christian universities.
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Gumm, John Eric.
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This study examined the experiences of new transfer students in the Fall semester of 2005 at three Christian universities. The research focused on determining the variables that predicted transfer students' successful transition and persistence during their first semester at these universities. This study applied Tinto's (1993) model of student departure to transfer students and also included an examination of the impact of spiritual integration on student persistence. Additionally, it considered those variables which impacted student academic and social adjustment (Laanan, 1998). Three Christian universities in Texas (with a total new transfer student population of 603) were selected for this study. A 70-item survey was used to examine the students' backgrounds and their transfer experiences. Multiple rounds of reminders resulted in an overall response rate of 58% (n=348). Only one of the twenty pre-enrollment variables, Highest Degree Planned at Current Institution, was significant at the p<.05 level with regard to the prediction of student persistence. Logistic regression was then used to consider whether the Tinto constructs of academic integration, social integration, and goal and institutional commitments were significant predictors of transfer student persistence. The spiritual integration construct was tested in the same manner. Only the Social Integration (specifically the Peer Interaction variable) and Goal and Institutional Commitment constructs were predictive of transfer student persistence at these three universities. Linear regression was then utilized to determine the variables that affected the academic and social adjustment of these transfer students. Results showed three variables with a significant effect on the transfer student's academic adjustment (and accounted for 45% of the variation) and three variables that were significant in their effect on the transfer student's social adjustment (accounting for 41% of the variation). Recommendations for practice and future research were made based on the results of the analysis. Transfer students create a unique opportunity and challenge for higher education, including Christian universities. It is hoped that this research will be the impetus needed to challenge universities to pursue answers to these same research questions and to a greater understanding of their transfer students.