Redefining transfer student success: Transfer capital and the Laanan-transfer students' questionnaire (L-TSQ) revisited
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Many researchers have examined the factors that affect student success in college, and some have generated conflicting results when exploring the role of various student characteristics on success in higher education settings (Baker & Velez, 1996). In addition, others have raised concerns about the lack of a strong reliance on theory in much of the student success research, pointing to a reliance on empirical data over theoretical models (Smart, Feldman & Ethington, 2006). The issue becomes even more complicated when one factors in community college transfer status (i.e., vertical transfer students, transferring from a 2-year to a 4-year institution) when attempting to determine the strongest predictors of success in college. The purpose of this study was to reexamine the Laanan-Transfer Students' Questionnaire, a survey designed to provide new ways of studying transfer students at 4-year institutions (Laanan, 1998, 2004). The addition of five new constructs to the questionnaire, in consideration of new research in the field, helped to further clarify transfer student capital as a theory and a construct. The construct of transfer student capital was further operationalized and its impact on transfer student success was explored. The results of this study provide a framework for the reexamination of the programs and offerings on campuses that are currently in place to promote the success of transfer students. Important practical implications for this investigation exist as institutional officials and student affairs leaders continue to strive to improve success for transfer students, a rapidly growing subset of the population at their institutions.