Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.


Counseling and Human Development

Degree Program

Counseling and Personnel Services, PhD

Committee Chair

Hirschy, Amy

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Longerbeam, Susan

Committee Member

Longerbeam, Susan

Committee Member

Valentine, Jeffrey

Committee Member

Bailey, Geoffrey

Author's Keywords

transfer students; retention; transfer shock; persistence


As more students evaluate their choice for higher education, the rate of transfer students continues to grow. The transfer population is often addressed broadly in research studies, and few examine differences among the population. This study was designed to analyze the differences in transfer shock and retention rates between students who transferred from a community college to a four-year institution (vertical) versus those who transferred from one four-year institution to another (lateral). Participants of this study consisted of 1,032 students who transferred to the University of Louisville during the fall 2014, 2015, and 2016 semesters. Results indicated, when controlling for high school GPA and ACT score, vertical and lateral transfers both experienced transfer shock, but vertical transfers experienced a larger drop in GPA. Results also indicated type of transfer institution was not a significant predictor in first to second semester or second to third semester retention rates. However, both vertical and lateral transfers were retained at approximately the same rate from first to second semester, but vertical transfers were retained at higher rates overall.