SAGE 2YC > Workforce, Transfer, and Careers > Supporting Transfer Students

Supporting Geoscience Transfer Students

Compiled by Karen Layou (J Sargeant Reynolds Community College) and John McDaris (Science Education Resource Center).

This site draws on discussion by participants at the 2012 Preparing Students in Two-year Colleges for Geoscience Degrees and Careers Workshop.

Many students enroll at two-year colleges (2YC) as a cost-effective and flexible way to pursue higher education. Some students begin their studies with the intent of completing an associate's degree, and transferring on to a four-year college (4YC) to complete a bachelor's degree. Others may not have this path initially in mind, but discover a passion for geosciences while at their 2YC. 2YC faculty play a key role in identifying students that have an interest in geosciences, supporting programming that serves the advising needs of these students, and exposing students to professional development activities that will promote the skills and interactions necessary for success at a four-year institution.

Early Recruitment of Majors

2YC geoscience faculty are typically the first point of contact for 2YC students considering transfer to a 4YC geoscience program. Personal interactions and encouragement from faculty can be essential to giving 2YC students confidence to explore this path.

Supportive Advising for the Transfer Process

Once students have shown an interest in learning more about transfer options available to them, consistent, quality advice must be available regarding fulfillment of 2YC degree completion and 4YC transfer requirements.

Research Experiences

2YC students should be exposed to the same types of research opportunities as their 4YC peers, but may be limited by personal circumstances. By building course credit and financial support into research activities, and emphasizing the relevance of participation to future success, 2YC students can be encouraged to take an active role in a broader community of geoscience learning.

Making the Most of 2YC - 4YC Collaborations

Working closely with colleagues at 4YC can provide students with research opportunities and a chance to begin building a network of support with both 4YC faculty and students.


Further reading

Boggs, G.R. 2010. Growing roles for science education in community colleges. Science, v. 329, p. 1151-1152.

Gonzales, L. 2013. The Community College to University Pathway: Geoscience Majors in the Texas Public University System. Geoscience Currents, n. 73, 10 June 2013.

Packard, B. W-L., Tuladhar, C., Lee, J.-S. 2013. Advising in the classroom: how community college STEM faculty support transfer-bound students. Journal of College Science Teaching, v. 42, p. 14-20.

Reyes, M.-E. 2011. Unique challenges for women of color in STEM transferring from community colleges to universities. Harvard Educational Review, v. 81, 241-262.


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