The Success and Satisfaction of Community College Transfer Students at UC Berkeley

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1 The Success and Satisfaction of Community College Transfer Students at UC Berkeley G R E G G T H O M S O N, E X E C U T I V E D I R E C T O R S E R E E T A A L E X A N D E R, P H. D., R E S E A R C H A N A L Y S T O F F I C E O F S T U D E N T R E S E A R C H A N D C A M P U S S U R V E Y S U N I V E R S I T Y O F C A L I F O R N I A, B E R K E L E Y 2011 California Intersegmental Articulation Council (CIAC) Conference April 28, 2011

2 Background: Institutional Facts Every year almost a third of newly enrolled students at UC Berkeley is a transfer student. Over 90% of these students matriculate from California community colleges and enter the university as juniors. In recent years, about 50 of California s 112 community colleges provide 90% of these transfers. Four schools (Diablo Valley, De Anza, San Francisco City College, and Santa Monica) contribute about 30%, another twelve the next 30%, and thirty-four another 30%. More than 90% of both students who are admitted as freshmen and California community college transfers earn a Berkeley degree.

3 Background: Institutional Facts 1 ENGLISH. Top 35 Degrees Awarded at UC Berkeley for California Community College Cohorts 2 POLITICAL SCIENCE 3 ECONOMICS 4 PSYCHOLOGY 5 ARCHITECTURE 6 BUSINESS ADMIN 7 ELEC ENGR COMPUT SCI 8 SOCIOLOGY 9 ANTHROPOLOGY 10 HISTORY 11 MASS COMMUNICATIONS 12 MOLECULAR & CELL BIO,EMPHASIS: CELL & DEVELOPMENTAL BIO 13 INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES 14 LEGAL STUDIES 15 PHILOSOPHY 16 ART 17 APPLIED MATHEMATICS 18 MECHANICAL ENGINEERING 19 INTEGRATIVE BIOLOGY 20 COMPUTER SCIENCE 21 CIVIL ENGINEERING 22 HISTORY OF ART 23 AMERICAN STUDIES 24 FILM 25 SOCIAL WELFARE 26 RHETORIC 27 MATHEMATICS 28 CHEMICAL ENGINEERING 29 POL ECON-INDSTRL SOCIETIES 30 PHYSICS 31 LINGUISTICS 32 COGNITIVE SCIENCE 33 PEACE-CONFLICT STUD 34 ENV ECON & POLICY 35 MOLECULAR & CELL BIO,EMPHASIS: BIOCHEMISTRY & MOLEC BIO

4 Goals of the Current Research Make use of both institutional and survey data to examine the academic and social experiences of community college transfer students at UC Berkeley Highlight some of the ways in which community college transfer students report experiencing the university differently than those who were admitted as freshmen Dispel some of the myths that may exist about transfer student success and their university-level experience at an institution of more than 25,000 undergraduate students

5 Guiding Questions Q 1: How satisfied are community college transfer students with their UC Berkeley experience and what proportion would reenroll at UCB based on what they now know? Q 2: How engaged do community college transfer students report being in the classroom and how much interaction with faculty do they have? Q 3: Do the degree aspirations of transfer students in their senior year differ from those of their freshman admitted counterparts? Q4: How are the backgrounds of transfer students (e.g., ethnicity, socioeconomic status) different from the demographic backgrounds of freshman admits? Q5: What are the current graduation rates and UC grade point average of community college transfer students and how might they vary by field of study, community college of origin, or other student characteristics?

6 Survey Data: University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES) The University of California Undergraduate Experience Survey (UCUES) is an extensive survey that assesses students academic, social, extra-curricular, and civic engagement experiences during their time at the university. UCUES is conducted annually at UC Berkeley and once every two years at the other nine UC undergraduate campuses. UCUES is a census survey, meaning that all undergraduates are invited to complete the survey. Reported here are findings from the 2010 UC Berkeley UCUES, which had a response rate of about 50%. More than 2,300 community college transfer students attending UC Berkeley in the spring of 2010 responded to UCUES.

7 Guiding Question #1: Satisfaction with the UC Berkeley Experience Results indicated that CCT students were generally satisfied:

8 Guiding Question #1 (Cont d): Satisfaction with the UC Berkeley Experience Desire to Reenroll & Sense of Belonging A large majority of community college transfer students (87%)reported that if they had it to do all over again they would reenroll at UC Berkeley. However, those admitted to UC Berkeley from community colleges reported a lower sense of belonging than those admitted directly from high school:

9 Guiding Question #1 (Cont d): Satisfaction with the UCB Experience Advising, Quality of Instruction, and the Value of Education for the Price

10 Guiding Question #2: Classroom Engagement and Faculty Interaction Community college transfer students reported a high level of engagement while at UC Berkeley. Below are the proportion of students indicating that they at least occasionally (occasionally / somewhat often / often / very often) or at least once this academic year, engaged in the following: Classroom Engagement - At Least Occasionally This Academic Year 84% Contributed to a class discussion 78% Had a class in which the professor knew or learned your name 72% Brought up ideas or concepts from different courses during class discussions 70% Asked an insightful question in class 68% Found a course so interesting that you did more work than was required 62% Made a class presentation Faculty Interaction - At Least Occasionally This Academic Year 83% Communicated with a faculty member by or in person 67% Interacted with faculty during lecture class sessions 63% Talked with the instructor outside of class about concepts derived from a course Faculty Interaction - At Least Once This Academic Year 37% Taken a small research-oriented seminar with faculty 38% Worked with a faculty member on an activity other than coursework

11 Guiding Question #3: Degree Aspirations of UC Berkeley Seniors What is the HIGHEST academic degree or credential that you plan to eventually earn?

12 Guiding Question #4: Comparing the Demographic Backgrounds of Community College Transfer Students and Freshman Admitted Students at UC Berkeley Ethnic Diversity: In fall 2010, 22% of newly enrolled transfer students at UCB were URMs compared to 16% in the new freshmen cohort. First Generation College Student Standing: Making use of UCUES data, we found that 45% of community college transfer students reported that they were first generation college students, compared to 26% of freshman admits. Subjective Social Class While Growing Up, 2009 Household Income Range, and Immigrant Generation were also examined

13 Guiding Question #4 (Cont d): Comparing Demographic Backgrounds Social Class While Growing Up Forty-five percent of community college transfer students and 30% of freshman admits reported that their social class when growing up was workingclass or low-income/poor. Whereas 17% of community college transfers considered their social class while growing up to be wealthy or upper-middle -/professional- class. Note that, for freshman admitted students, this proportion is nearly doubled at 33%

14 Guiding Question #4 (Cont d): Comparing Demographic Backgrounds 2009 Household Income The majority of community college transfer students (61%) reported household incomes of less than $50,000 compared to 31% of freshman admits Students admitted directly from high school were also more likely to report household incomes of $125,000 or more (25% versus 8%). Note: 43% of community college transfer students responding to UCUES in 2010 also reported that they were financially independent, compared to 5% of freshman entrants.

15 Guiding Question #4 (Cont d): Comparing Demographic Backgrounds 2009 Household Income (Financially Dependent Students Only) The disproportionate representation of community college transfers at the lower end of the income range holds even when comparing the household incomes of financially dependent students.

16 Guiding Question #4 (Cont d): Comparing Demographic Backgrounds Immigrant Generation Forty percent (40%) of community college transfers were either international students or 1 st generation immigrants, and about the same proportion (39%) were third generation or beyond. The smaller proportion of 21% reported that they were second generation immigrants (compared to 46% in the freshman admit population).

17 Guiding Question #5: Academic Success Graduation Rates by Immigrant Status, Gender, and School/College

18 Guiding Question #5: Academic Success Graduation Rates by Intended Major Graduation Rates for Top 20 Intended Majors for California Community College Cohorts 89% 1 ENGLISH 95% 2 ECONOMICS 91% 3 PSYCHOLOGY 93% 4 POLITICAL SCIENCE 90% 5 ARCHITECTURE 92% 6 ELEC ENGR COMPUT SCI 96% 7 BUSINESS ADMIN 86% 8 COMPUTER SCIENCE 84% 9 PHILOSOPHY 89% 10 SOCIOLOGY 89% 11 HISTORY 87% 12 ANTHROPOLOGY 92% 13 MASS COMMUNICATIONS 91% 14 MOLECULAR & CELL BIO,EMPHASIS: BIOCHEMISTRY & MOLEC BIO 94% 15 ART 90% 16 INTEGRATIVE BIOLOGY 87% 17 FILM 88% 18 MATHEMATICS 93% 19 MECHANICAL ENGR 93% 20 HISTORY OF ART

19 Guiding Question #5: Academic Success Distribution of Graduation Rates for Top Feeder Schools to UC Berkeley Overall four-year graduation rate for 2004/2005 (combined) California Community College transfers to Berkeley is 89%. However Looking at the 50 top feeder schools for 2004/2005 for the 2004 and 2005 cohorts, the distribution of graduation rates were as follows: 13 community colleges have 95-98% transfer graduation 13 community colleges have 90-94% transfer graduation 12 community colleges have 85-89% transfer graduation 12 community colleges have below 80% transfer graduation

20 Guiding Question #5 (Cont d): Academic Success as Measured by UC GPA Overall, community college transfers do well, entering Berkeley with an average transfer GPA around 3.6 and graduating with an average Berkeley GPA around 3.3. But what are the odds of earning a particular 1 st year GPA at UC Berkeley based on transfer GPA? Below are the odds for the last number of entering California Community College transfer classes: Chances of a first-year GPA at Cal of at least 3.0 TRANSFER GPA: Under % % % % % % % % % 85% Chances of a first-year GPA at Cal 3.2 or higher TRANSFER GPA: Under %40% % 52% % 52% % 54% % 57% % 62% % 67% % 74% % 77% Chances of a first-year GPA at Cal 3.6 or higher TRANSFER GPA Under %17% % 19% % 16% % 21% % 20% % 26% % 35% % 43% % 49%

21 Summary Community college transfer students are very successful at Cal. Like freshman admits, their graduation rate is 90%. The average Berkeley GPA of CCT s is 3.3 at graduation and 80% of CCTs responding to UCUES in 2010 aspired to earn an advanced degree. These students are a diverse group, consisting of larger proportions of first generation college, low-income, underrepresented minority, and first and third generation immigrant students relative to the freshman admitted population. Overall, the large majority of community college transfer students (upwards of 91%) are satisfied with their academic experience, including access to faculty, the availability of courses needed for graduation, and their ability to get into the major that they want. Further, community college transfers are more satisfied with the advising that they received from faculty, staff, and peers on campus than the freshman admitted group of students. With respect to the overall social experience and sense of belonging or fitting in at UC Berkeley, community college transfer students report lower ratings than their freshman counterparts (83% versus 88% on belonging). However, when asked if they would reenroll at UC Berkeley based on what they now know, 87% of community college transfer students reported that they would.

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