The Relationship Between Transfer Student Status, Student Engagement, and High-Impact Practice Participation

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transfer students, high-impact practices, student engagement, faculty interaction structural equation modeling, survey research

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Objective: Based on the growing number of transfer students in higher education and the concern that transfer students are not as engaged as their peers, specifically in participation in high-impact practices (HIPs), this research asks, “Is there a significant direct or indirect relationship between transfer status, student engagement, and HIP participation?” Method: The current study employed a general latent variable model to explore the relationship between community college transfer student status, student engagement, and participation in HIPs. Using data from the 2014 administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement, 22,994 senior student responses were examined to measure the association between transfer status (students who transferred from a 2-year to 4-year institution compared with nontransfer students), student engagement (collaborative learning, student–faculty interaction, and supportive campus environment), and HIP participation (learning community, service-learning, research with a faculty member, internship, study abroad, and culminating senior experience). Results: Although each of the student engagement indicators significantly mediated HIP participation for transfer students, only the effect for student–faculty interaction was nontrivial. Contributions: The results from this study indicate the importance of faculty in advocating for and supporting transfer students, while presenting questions about the degree to which these students may need additional institutional support to recognize HIPs in a 4-year context. Implications for enhancing student–faculty interaction among transfer students, as a means to increase HIP participation, are discussed.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Community College Review, v. 46, issue 4, p. 368-387