Expectations and realities for community college engineering transfers at a large university

Mary R. Anderson-Rowland

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


This paper is focused on identifying the factors that worry potential and new transfer students in engineering. Special efforts to help students transfer smoothly into engineering and computer science have been in place since 2002 at Arizona State University (ASU) through an Academic Success and Professional Development class and a Motivated Engineering Transfer Student (METS) Center. During this time, we have become aware that transfer students come to a university with certain expectations and preconceived ideas, some which are true and some which are not. In addition, many transfer students are not aware of some of the realities they will face as a transfer. In order to check on what the actual expectations and realities are for transfer students, we surveyed 120 transfer students who were enrolled in the Academic Success Class during Fall 2012. The top six expectations were reality over which the transfer students had little control: higher tuition, some very large classes, expensive parking, a large campus, a long commute, and difficulty in parking. These expectations were followed closely by several factors to which the students had some control: GPA shock, a faster pace of classes, feeling like a freshman all over again, and not knowing where resources are. The top four expectations upon transferring were the same as the top four realities, although in a different order. For half of the students, the fifth most prevalent reality was that the METS Center helped in their transfer. The next most frequent realities were that the pace of classes was faster and that classes had more assigned homework than they had at the community college. We also examined gender differences. We detail what we are doing to help transfer students with these realities. We will use the data in this paper to inform potential and new transfer students and to help them plan for success. Even though much of this knowledge may be well known, a new transfer often does not believe that the challenges will affect him. By using the results of this study, at this university, the facts are more believable. We encourage others working with transfer students to become familiar with the expectations and realities of their own transfer students in order to help them be successful.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2013 Frontiers in Education Conference
Subtitle of host publicationEnergizing the Future, FIE 2013 - Proceedings
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Dec 1 2013
Event43rd IEEE Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2013 - Oklahoma City, OK, United States
Duration: Oct 23 2013Oct 26 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE
ISSN (Print)1539-4565


Other43rd IEEE Annual Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE 2013
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityOklahoma City, OK


  • Intentional advising
  • Recruitment
  • Retention
  • Survey
  • Transfer expectations
  • Transfer shock

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Education
  • Computer Science Applications


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