2014 GSA Annual Meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia (19–22 October 2014)

Paper No. 94-10
Presentation Time: 10:45 AM


VAN DER HOEVEN KRAFT, Katrien J., Science, Whatcom Community College, 237 W. Kellogg Road, Bellingham, WA 98226, WILSON, Carolyn, American Geosciences Institute, 4220 King Street, Alexandria, VA 22302 and WOLFE, Benjamin A., Department of Natural Sciences, Metropolitan Community College-Blue River, 20301 E. 78 Highway, Independence, MO 64057

A recent survey of graduating students in geoscience programs across the U.S. administered by the American Geosciences Institute (AGI) provided insight into students who attended a two-year college (2YC) for at least one semester during their postsecondary education. Responses by students who transferred to four-year colleges (4YC) from 2YCs provide insight into enrollment decisions for students transferring into geoscience programs. This population is of particular interest because 2YC students are generally more diverse than their 4-year counterparts. The sample from this survey represents 154 responses from a total of 596 responses. General demographics reveal an older population (average age: 30, median: 27), a higher percent of male students (54% male, 40% female) and Caucasians (76%, 10% non Caucasian) than a traditional 2YC student. Students attending 2YC nationally are on average 28 years old (median: 24), are 57% women, and are 51% Caucasian (AACC Fast Facts, 2014). When students were asked what factors influenced their ability to successfully transfer from 2YC to 4YC, the most commonly identified factors were personal motivation and transferred courses. Less commonly identified factors for supporting students in their transfer from 2YC to 4YC were friends and academic advisors.

We also asked the 2YC students to identify major obstacles in completing their degree. Major obstacles affecting transfer can be categorized into four different barriers: personal issues relating to time, family, and money; academic challenges in courses both within and outside of the major; self-regulation (emotions, motivation, goals, lacking study skill sets) and institutional barriers such as the challenges of transferring classes and coursework requirements in conjunction with time. While some of these challenges are true for all students, some of these issues may be more acute for students transferring in from a 2YC. Issues that may preclude students from being successful should be identified and addressed to assure student success for all.