Transitions and Decisions: Academic Advising Behaviors of Undergraduate Transfer Students




Tucker, Megan

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This study investigates attitudes towards academic advising, barriers to social and academic progress, and the actual academic behaviors used in regards to advising from unique and diverse groups of undergraduate students. Using a convenience sample, one-on-one interviews were conducted and a follow-up questionnaire given to 25 participants who identified as undergraduate transfer students. Following data collection, a thematic analysis was applied in order to extract overarching categories which contained themes and sub-themes. Findings suggest that this group of transfer students are actively thinking about and making decisions related to their academic future. These students saw the benefits of being prepared and being able to manage constant stress. Likewise, the participants that did not have good experiences with advising at their previous institution were much more likely to distrust their new advisors, or seek out information elsewhere. Finally, the participants expressed the desire for changes to the advising structure including catering more to part-time students who have day jobs, creating mentoring programs for transfers, and requiring advising for new students or brand new transfers until they are comfortable and more confident in their progress. This research offers recommendations for department-level and institution-level changes that puts academic advising in the forefront of the students' minds and offers more accessibility to an ever-growing population of transfer students at higher education institutions. These proposed changes hope to create more inviting and appreciative interpersonal communication patterns between advisors and students, and may promote healthy academic behaviors that assist students in successful degree completion.



Higher education, Communication, Educational administration, Academic advising, Advising behaviors, Attitudes, Self-Efficacy, Theory of Planned Behavior, Transfer students