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Most deadlines for fall transfer admissions land between January and March. That means that admissions committees around the country are starting to make their decisions about who they’ll be accepting right now. Yet when it comes to building a student population that’s likely to graduate, many of the most promising students are least likely to get into the best schools. The source of these star pupils? Community colleges.

New research from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation makes it clear: community college students who transfer to selective four-year schools perform as well as—or even better than—their peers who come directly from high school.

Emma O’Donoghue holds up her diploma as she returns to her seat during an undergraduate commencement ceremony for Ramapo College in Newark, N.J., Thursday, May 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)ASSOCIATED PRESS

 

Here are the facts:

  • The six-year graduation rate (a standard metric for four-year U.S. colleges) for students who transferred from community colleges to “most competitive” or “highly competitive” institutions in Fall 2010 is 75%.
  • The rate for students who enrolled directly out of high school is 73%.
  • For students who transferred from one four-year college to another, it’s 61%.

The bottom line? Transfer students from community colleges are the group most likely to actually graduate.

Unfortunately, many top colleges don’t seem to have gotten the message. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation also reports that, at the United States’s 100 most selective colleges, just 14% of students transfer in, and the students most likely to graduate, community college students, represent only 5%.

Given these figures, it seems that many of our best colleges and universities aren’t focusing on the students that would perform best, if only they were given the chance. But just because some schools have ignored or discounted community college transfer students in the past doesn’t mean they can’t start making meaningful changes today.

The first step any college or university can take toward accepting more community college transfers is to perform an honest self-evaluation of how well it meets the needs of potential transfer students. Leaving aside hard enrollment numbers for the moment, is it easy for transfer students to understand what the school has to offer, make an informed decision, and apply? If it’s more difficult for a community college transfer student to apply than it is for a high school student, it’s time to start thinking about how to fix that.

Remember, these aren’t charity cases, these are the students most likely to graduate. If a school wants to enroll students who outperform, it needs to provide the best resources, tailored to those same students, to attract and retain them.

Another essential piece of the puzzle for any school looking to become a more welcoming place for transfer students is to look past the acceptance phase of the process and think about what’s provided to students after they enroll. Designing orientation sessions for transfer students is a good place to start. Customizing financial aid and housing policies for these students is even better. Providing the best experience for transfer students will help recruit and retain the best in the country.

For a long time, administrators, faculty, advisors,and even many community college transfers themselves have had doubts about whether they could succeed at the most competitive schools around the nation. Now that the facts are in, it’s clear they can, and can do so at even higher rates than their peers. Let’s start acting like it!

Reference link:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/nancyleesanchez/2019/01/30/community-college-transfers-outperform-high-schoolers-at-top-colleges-so-why-do-we-ignore-them/?fbclid=IwAR3H6nLy_pD-P9KGEVgeXyNdvXzCUo-OFN13ugxK4MijoNqAD1CjVo_1D7M#4923fc9b59d7

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