“You Can Do It!” Social Support for Transfer Students During the Transition From Community College to a Four-Year University
Author(s): Shaw, S. T., & Chin-Newman, C. S.
Citation: Shaw, S. T., & Chin-Newman, C. S. (2017). “You Can Do It!” Social Support for Transfer Students During the Transition From Community College to a Four-Year University. Journal of The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, 29(2), 65-78.
Although degrees are awarded to students individually, often the processes by which students accomplish this feat are a communal effort. Transfer students, in particular, face a unique set of challenges when transitioning from community college to a four-year university. For this study, three focus groups were conducted with a total of 14 students who recently transferred to a four-year university. Sessions centered on the challenges of transferring, and the relationships and resources they found supportive during the transition. Three areas of support emerged: emotional support, practical support, and campus capital. Parents and friends provided emotional support (verbal encouragement) as well as practical support (i.e., financial support or cooking meals). Faculty and staff at the university were found to provide campus capital, or the campus-specific information needed to successfully navigate the university. Recommendations for supporting transfer students are provided.