Repository logo

The impact of student engagement on the transfer student experience: a phenomenological analysis




Romba, Elizabeth A., author
Kuk, Linda, advisor
Banning, James, committee member
Binard, Kristina, committee member
Scott, Malcolm, committee member

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


The purpose of this dissertation was to understand the experiences of students who have transferred from two-year institutions to large, public four-year institutions. An estimated 40-60% of enrollment at four-year institutions is comprised of transfer students (Miller & Hillis, 2006). As community college enrollment and transfer student populations continue to increase, it will become increasingly more imperative that the experiences of these students are understood and programs are implemented to endure these students make a smooth transition from the two-year institution to the four-year institution. Using Tinto's model of college student departure as a theoretical lens, this study illustrated the experiences of transfer students through the direct experiences of students who have made the transition from a two-year institution to a four-year institution. This qualitative study utilized an Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis approach. This study was comprised of interviews with ten students who all attended the same two-year institution and who are all currently enrolled at the same large four-year institution in the Rocky Mountain Region. The analysis used personal and in-depth detail ascertained from the individual interviews and perspectives used to describe the experiences each student encountered through the transfer process and the subsequent engagement experiences each encountered. Analysis of the data presented five overarching themes, connection to the institution, academic integration, involvement, confidence, and transfer student transitions. The data from these interviews yielded can be utilized to develop transfer student resources and programming to facilitate a stronger institutional connection among transfer students, as well as provide students intending on transferring with valuable information into the transfer student experience.


Rights Access


community colleges
transfer students
student engagement


Associated Publications