Understanding the path of engineering and computer science upper division transfer students to a large university

Mary R. Anderson-Rowland

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

7 Scopus citations


The community college is a critical source for growing the engineering and computer fields in the United States. The encouragement, recruitment, transfer and acclimation process for these students to a larger four-year school is very crucial in their successful graduation with an engineering or computer science Bachelor's degree. Successful academic scholarship retention programs for transfer students have been in existence at a Carnegie Research I University for ten years with the assistance of grants from the National Science Foundation. As a part of this effort, we are continually trying to learn more about our engineering transfer students in order to better be able to interest them in engineering, to be able to encourage them to consider a career in engineering, and ultimately to be able to help them transfer to a four-year school to graduate with a Bachelor's degree, and, hopefully, also a graduate degree. In this study done in Fall 2010, 61engineering and computer science transfer students taking an Academic Success Class sponsored by the National Science Foundation were surveyed to determine why and when they decided to go to a two-year college, when they decided on their major, and when they decided that they would transfer to a four-year school. The average age of the students was 24.5 years. Over 60% of the transfer students knew "from the beginning" that they would attend a four-year college. However, 21% did not know until they had attended a community college (CC) for up to three years that they would go to a four-year college. Only one-third of the transfer students knew that engineering or computer science would be their major before they attended a community college. The experiences of the transfer women are compared with those of the transfer men. In this paper we consider the findings of the survey and the implications of this information. The late decisions of CC students to major in engineering or computer science mean that it is very important for four-year schools to reach out to CCs to encourage their students to consider engineering and computer science as a major and to continue on to a four year-school.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings
StatePublished - 2012
Event119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition - San Antonio, TX, United States
Duration: Jun 10 2012Jun 13 2012


Other119th ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Antonio, TX

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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