Transfer students in STEM majors: Gender differences in the socialization factors that influence academic and social adjustment
The purposes of this study were (a) to examine the socialization factors of community college transfer students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM); (b) to examine the socialization factors that impact the academic and social adjustment of community college transfer students in STEM majors; and (c) to understand how female community college transfer students describe their overall socialization experiences in STEM majors. A survey was used to collect data concerning the background characteristics as well as the community college and university experiences of transfer students. A purposive sample of female community college transfer students were interviewed to gather information about their overall socialization experiences.
The researcher employed a hypothetical conceptual framework of undergraduate socialization for community college transfer students based on Weidman's (1987) conceptual framework of undergraduate socialization. The hypothesized model was used to examine how selected variables-- background characteristics, community college experiences, and university experiences--impacted the academic and social adjustment among community college transfer students. Quantitative analysis, including descriptive statistics, independent samples t test, and hierarchical multiple regression, as well as qualitative analysis, including narrative inquiry, were used to analyze the data.
Two hierarchical multiple regression models were used to examine the background characteristics and the community college and university variables that predict academic and social adjustment. The results of this study suggest that the background characteristics, including gender; community college experiences, including transfer semester hours, experience with faculty and transfer process; as well as university experiences that include negative general perception of transfer students, impacted the academic adjustment of community college transfer students.
Similarly, a second hierarchical multiple regression model was used to examine the background characteristics and community and university variables that predict social adjustment. The results of this study suggest that the background characteristics parental household income level; community college experiences: academic advising, course learning; and university experiences: financial influential reasons for attending ISU and negative general perception of transfer students impacted the social adjustment of community college transfer students in STEM.
Additionally, qualitative data, which focused on five female community college transfer students, highlight the role of parents, faculty, community colleges, and universities in the academic and social adjustment of community college transfer students in STEM majors. The study should be replicated in other research universities with a large transfer student population. In addition, it is imperative that policymakers and community college and university faculty and staff understand the socialization of transfer students to ensure the institutional environments are conducive to successful transfer and adjustment.