Why the first year is most important for transfer

If I can successfully transfer from community college, to my undergraduate and graduate degree, and now after researching in community colleges I can go back and give my little one the gift of everything.

When I started studying in community college, I lost myself. I didn’t know how to decide which class to take. I wasn’t sure why or if I needed an associate’s degree to transfer. And I certainly had no idea what I wanted to do when I got my degree. I need help deciding on my program — and need — to be involved in any additional curriculum and how much I can manage, information on what I can do with my degree, as well as help me find ways to connect with colleagues for travel I did that Unfortunately, all I had on my first day was a list of courses to choose from and disagreeing with the mentors who gave me conflicting advice every time I visited the drop-in hours.

The truth is that many students who start out in a community college feel the same way. In interviews with incoming students, the Community College Research Center found that students seek support to explore study programs, potential majors, and careers, and to connect with other people in their interests. They want the opportunity to take a course of their interest in their first term and create a complete educational plan. All of these activities are important not only for a student’s overall experience in a community college but also for their ability to transfer. Nearly 40 percent of students nationwide fail to attend the second year of their community college, and results are significantly worse for black, Latin, indigenous, and low-income students. At the moment, transfers for students of all populations are declining If students do not continue, they will not be able to transfer, so making the transfer across the board more equitable means investing students in their first year at a community college.

Based on the research we are conducting over-the-college-oriented path reform in more than 100 community colleges nationally, the CCRC has developed the Ask-Connect-Inspire-Plan (ACIP) framework, which aims to ensure students enroll in study programs that match their interests. And aim within the first year. ACIP helps students explore interests and options; Connect with faculty, professionals and other students of similar interest; Take a course that ignites them for the first time learning; And create a full-programmed educational plan that outlines their required courses and completion timelines.

Successful transfers require a strong start, and the goal of the ACIP Framework is to provide community colleges with the tools to ensure a strong start for students. By implementing ACIP practices, community colleges can invest students in their first year, which can have a big impact on retention, completion and transfer. This is because if students are helped to explore college paths that match their interests and strengths, get excited about their courses, create an academic plan and connect with people in their field, they are much more likely to continue their second year. At Community College, instead of dropping out before the opportunity to apply for relocation came.

The ACIP Framework focuses on rebuilding students’ first-year onboarding programs:

  • Ask: Each student engages in an ongoing conversation about their interests, strengths, aspirations, and life situations to help them study and explore career paths that are consistent with their goals.
  • Connect: From the beginning, colleges provide opportunities for each student to meet faculty, students, alumni and employers in their area of ​​interest and access college and community resources that can help them with their needs.
  • Motivate: Each student takes at least one course in a term on topics of interest that ignite their learning.
  • Planning: Each student is helped to create a full-programmed educational plan at the end of their first term that shows them the way to their goal.

Community colleges themselves cannot create an effective Ask-Connect-Inspire-Plan experience for students. Without the involvement of four-year partners, community colleges will not be able to tell students which courses must be successfully transferred to the study program or connect them to a community that will be relevant to them in their four-year program. Colleges It is essential that four-year institutions work with community colleges to ensure that they (1) provide up-to-date information about the programs to which community college courses will be transferred so that students can graduate without additional credit and (2) create opportunities. Can To connect community college students with the university. This will improve the student experience in their first two years and ensure that, once they relocate, they will be better equipped to adjust to their new campus. Four years should be part of every student’s experience long before the institution is transferred.

Often, transfer stalls are discussed that many students want to transfer, but rarely do. The Ask-Connect-Inspire-Plan framework encourages practices that, especially if implemented in partnership between two- and four-year colleges, can help more students reach their transition goals. More successful transfers are possible through the original investment of students in the first year of community college.


Umika Kumar is a research assistant at the Community College Research Center, located at Columbia University’s Teachers College. He focuses on fair program onboarding and how colleges across the country are implementing directed road reforms. Kumar has an M.Sc in Sociology from the London School of Economics and Political Science. He earned a certificate in leadership and social change from De Anja College, in which he studied for two years before moving to the University of California, Los Angeles, where he earned a BA degree in sociology. You can follow him onUmikakumar On Twitter.

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