A four-year comparison of transfer and native student performance and success at the University of Houston



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Transferring from one institution to another continues to be an increasingly important trend in higher education. There have been conflicting results in past studies relative to the degree of academic difficulties experienced by transfer and native students, and there were virtually no studies involving comparisons done in urban senior institutions. The purpose of this study was to analyze and compare the academic progress of transfer students and continuous native students at one urban university, University of Houston Central Campus (UHCC). The analyses focused on two major areas: (1) the identification of those characteristics which distinguished entering transfer students from continuous native students; and (2) the comparison of the academic performance of transfer and native students as measured by grade point average (GPA), academic status (clear or probationary), continued enrollment (retention), and graduation through the four years following transfer. Students included in this study began their college course work as freshmen during the fall semester of 1975. Those first time students whose mode of entry was high school comprised the native student population (N=2,147). Students who began their college course work in 1975 at another college or university and transferred to UHCC during the fall semester of 1977 were identified as either (1) junior college transfer students (N=323), or (2) senior college transfer students (N=330) on the basis of which location the predominant portion of their courses were taken. Analysis of the data supports the following conclusions: 1. A significant difference in age was found between the transfer students from the junior colleges and the native student group. 2. Although male students made up a slightly higher percentage of all three groups, there was no significant relationship between sex and mode of admission. 3. While the highest percentage of whites was found among the senior college transfer group, minority and foreign students tended to enter the university as either a junior college transfer student or native student. 4. The more applied curricula (Technology, Business Administration, Education) were selected to a greater degree by the transfer student groups, especially the junior college transfer student. Native students tended to be most dominant in the area of Arts and Sciences (Humanities, Social Science, Natural Science). 5. There was no measurable difference between the first semester post-transfer grade point averages of students who transferred from junior colleges or senior colleges. 6. Students who transferred from a senior college tended to achieve higher grades during their stay at UHCC than did students who transferred from a junior college. 7. When the groups were equated on such variables as credit hours completed, age, sex, and ethnicity, those students who transferred from another senior college earned statistically significantly higher GPAs than did the students who entered directly from high school or from a junior college. 8. Transfer students in general graduated at a higher percentage rate than did their native counterparts. Senior college transfers had the highest graduation percentage, followed by junior college transfer students and then native students. It was concluded, therefore, that capable transfer students can experience academic success at the University of Houston, especially if they are transferring from another senior institution. Junior college transfer students, while older, career oriented, and composed of a greater percentage of ethnic minorities, still performed as well or better in overall achievement at UHCC as did the native students. It was recommended that future research examine additional variables not addressed by this study, particularly demographic characteristics, such as socioeconomic status and academic motivation.



College students, Transfer students, Houston history archives