Aug. 6, 2014. Approximately 32 percent of new students enrolling at Appalachian State University during the 2014-15 academic year will be transfer students.
The increase in the transfer student population over the past years – from 768 in fall 2006 to an expected 1,150 by fall 2016 – is part of a focused effort to meet university and UNC system enrollment goals and a trend across the 16 universities within the University of North Carolina.
Located in John E. Thomas Hall, Appalachian’s Office of Transfer Services, formerly the Office of Transfer Articulation, oversees the transfer student transition and now includes a transfer admissions representative, transition adviser and retention specialist dedicated solely to the transfer population. Future plans include a Transfer Student Center, the location for which is to be determined.
The UNC Strategic Plan, “Our Time, Our Future,” requires all UNC system institutions to develop a seamless transfer process for community college students and to create an office focused on transfer and adult student success in efforts to meet the state bachelor’s degree attainment goals. In addition, Appalachian’s 2012 Finish in Four Final Report and 2013 Transfer Services Team Report called for a transfer student center that would consolidate currently offered services and resources in a convenient, one-stop location.
“Appalachian is committed to transfer student success as indicated by the creation of the Office of Transfer Services,” said Susan Davies, associate vice chancellor for enrollment management.
Davies said the realigned office allows Appalachian to take a more comprehensive approach in supporting transfer students through graduation. The Office of Transfer Services now includes a transfer admissions representative and a transition advisor who work solely with transfer students, an associate director of transfer services, a director of the Jump Start Appalachian Program, which provides outreach and programs related to the transfer student experience, three transfer credit evaluators and a director who oversees office activities.
The transfer population is important to Appalachian’s goals to maintain its overall enrollment, especially as trends indicate fewer graduating high school seniors will seek college degrees in the future. Additionally, more students are choosing non-traditional paths for their college education, with many entering a community college following high school graduation and transferring to a four-year institution at a later date.
“The climate and culture of higher education has changed drastically,” said Jane Rex, director of the Office of Transfer Services. “Transfer students represent a large portion of the student body on most college campuses. As professionals in higher education, it is critical that we understand the demographics of the students who enroll in our institutions and provide the resources and services to promote academic success for all.”
Appalachian expects to enroll 1,145 new transfer students this fall. Generally, 30 percent of each year’s graduating class is made up of students who arrived as transfer students, according to information from Appalachian’s Office of Institutional Research, Assessment and Planning.
Rex said both the Office of Transfer Services and the future Transfer Student Center will better meet the needs of students transferring to Appalachian, including community college and four-year college transfer students, non-traditional aged students and military students. The office will also help the university achieve its goal of increasing student retention and graduation through intentional programming and services.
Quick Facts about Appalachian’s Transfer Population
In 2013, 67 percent of new transfer students transferred from community colleges, with 31 percent transferring from four-year institutions. The other 2 percent of students transferred from unknown institutions such as overseas institutions.
The transfer student population is more diverse than the freshman population – 14.1 percent were minority students in 2013 v. 12 percent minority in students in the 2013 freshman class.
The top five community colleges that sent transfer students to Appalachian in 2013 were Caldwell Community College, Wake Technical Community College, Central Piedmont Community College ,Catawba Valley Community College and Wilkes Community College.
The top majors selected at the time of admission were in the departments of health, leisure and exercise science; management; government and justice studies; curriculum and instruction; psychology and biology.
The average time transfer students take to earn their degree is 2.6 years, very similar to the freshman cohorts who take an average 4.5 years to graduate.
Since 2009, around 30 percent of the graduating class has been made up of students who entered Appalachian as transfer students. In a graduating class of 3,400 students, that means 1,021 students.