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ERIC Number: ED522609
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 129
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1243-6706-4
The Effects of Students' Perceptions of Self, Others, and Institutions on Community College Transfer to a Selective Four-Year University
Cook, Marjorie Anne Elizabeth
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, The University of Wisconsin - Madison
A substantial amount of research has been conducted on the college choice process of students entering postsecondary education, yet little is known about this process for students transferring from two-year colleges to bachelor degree-granting institutions. The current study examines how and why community college students' perceptions shape their decisions about where to transfer. I also examine how social class background affects those perceptions. In 2005, 788 students completed a survey administered at Madison College. Four years later, two sub-samples of students were interviewed from those who indicated that they planned to transfer to the local research-intensive university. One group achieved their stated goal, while others transferred to comprehensive regional universities. Using the concepts and related theories of "prototype matching" and "possible selves," the study examined how students' perceptions of self, others, and institutions--in particular, the faculty, staff, and milieu of both Madison College and UW-Madison--affected their transfer college choice. In-depth interviews documented their understanding of how these perceptions were formed and reinforced by the social class of the students. The primary factor in whether students pursued their stated goal of transferring to UW-Madison was their belief that Madison College was comparable in quality to the university. Academic success at the two-year college provided assurance to these students that they were academically well-matched to the prototypic student at UW-Madison. Another factor was the high level of guidance these students received through engagement at Madison College, which also contributed to their positive perception of the institution. The study found that working class students, in particular, did not have well-elaborated possible selves related to attendance at UW-Madison, and did not feel well-match socially to the student body. Their feelings of match to Madison College, an institution they perceived as being of equal quality to the university, seemed to have a mediating effect on their ability to see attendance at the selective research university as a possibility, thus motivating them to apply. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education; Two Year Colleges
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Wisconsin