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Assessment Data on the Post-Transfer Student Experience after Taking a Pre-Transfer Seminar Course

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Mānoa Transfer Coordination Center

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Photo features a large, bright, grass green banner hanging in front of a campus building, the view of which is obscured by large palm fronds. On the banner, four traditionally-aged, diverse students are sitting next to each other smiling. Two girls, both with sunglasses perched atop their heads, sit in between two boys, both of whom are using their right hands to gesture the Hawaiian "shaka" sign. Text on the banner next to the students reads: "Discover UH Manoa Open House This Saturday."

My colleague Nicole Mitani, MEd (an academic counselor at Honolulu Community College), and I (Transfer Specialist at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa) presented at NISTS 2022 on a pre-transfer seminar course that we developed and co-taught in Fall 2021 and Spring 2022. The course was specifically designed for students who were interested in transferring to the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM) from one of our UH Community College (UHCC) campuses.

Since “the transfer student experience begins well before the student enrolls at their new college,” and “students are better served when colleges see transfer education as a multi-institutional experience and extend services beyond the boundaries of the individual institutions” (Poisel & Joseph, 2018, ch. 5, p. 79), this transfer seminar course was taught at the community college and aimed to prepare students for their transfer to UHM. Most transfer seminar courses are taught at the receiving institution (e.g., UHM), so teaching a course at the community college campus to prepare students for that transition was a unique initiative.


The course was taught through Honolulu Community College (HCC), but since it was an online synchronous course any UHCC student could register for it. The college course provided opportunities and resources for students to make a successful transition from a UHCC to UHM. Through self-awareness, reflection, and planning, this course aimed to help our UHCC transfer students explore their major, understand the complexity of the transfer process, address transfer shock, identify UHM campus resources, and build a network of peers with the common experience of transferring prior to the transition.


The following student learning outcomes (SLOs) aimed to increase students’ transfer student capital, which is the accumulation of knowledge of skills that are essential and unique to the transfer process (Poisel & Joseph, 2018, ch.3).


  1. Identify and apply the steps of decision-making to educational choices. 

  2. Design and implement an action plan that includes transfer goals.

  3. Integrate the results of self-assessment to identify educational options. Recognize the value of self-assessments (e.g. interests, values, etc.) and understand how these relate to different majors and opportunities in academia.

  4. Understand the cultural and historical importance of University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

  5. Identify campus resources available to them as they transition to University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.

  6. Build a network of peers with the common experience of transferring.

  7. Recognize the psychological and emotional components of the transfer process.

  8. Understand the overall transfer process from Honolulu Community College to University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa.


The course assignments included reflection papers, quizzes, in-class discussions and group assignments, discussion posts, and worksheets. In addition, we coordinated guest speakers from different UHM departments (Honors Program, Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, Study Abroad, and Student Life and Development) and advising sessions with UHM academic advisors based on the students' majors. Finally, we ended the course with a transfer student panel, where panelists shared their transfer experiences (challenges and successes) and provided advice to the students enrolled in the course. Through these intentional activities, we wanted to proactively facilitate relationship-building with staff and faculty at the receiving institution (Foote, Kranzow, & Hinkle, 2015).


We had a total of twenty-one students take the course and, based on the responses from our pretest and posttest, students appeared to have learned about UHM’s cultural and historical background, UHM’s campus resources, and the overall transfer process to UHM. In addition, students reported that the most helpful topics covered in the class were learning about the transfer process, financial aid resources, UHM’s resources, the psychological aspects of transferring, and hearing from other transfer students. Ninety-four percent of the students who responded to the post-survey reported they would recommend the class to their peers.


Further assessment of the course included a post-transfer student experience survey that we sent to students who enrolled in our transfer seminar course and completed one semester at UHM. We sent the survey to nine students and received seven responses (six transferred in fall 2022 and two transferred in spring 2024). The following are our survey results. 

Post Transfer to UH Manoa Survey Results (Fall 2022 & Spring 2024 Transfer Students)



My transition to UH Mānoa this semester has been…

Very Successful = 71%

Successful = 29%

Taking the IS 100 course made the transfer process easier.

Strongly Agree = 100%

The IS 100 course better prepared me to cope with the psychological effects of transfer.

Strongly Agree = 57%

Agree = 14%

Neutral = 29%

The IS 100 course better prepared me to navigate UH Mānoa and its resources.

Strongly Agree = 86%

Agree = 14%

I am involved in campus life.

No = 57%

Yes = 43%

Overall, the survey results were promising and supported the value of a pre-transfer course, with all students reporting that the course made the transfer process easier and that their transition to UHM was “Successful or Very Successful.” Many of them reported positive experiences such as creating support systems through programs like UHM’s TRIO Program, the TIDES-AANAPISI Program, and program-specific orientations (e.g., in-person School of Social Work Orientation for Distance Education Students). They also reported that available resources at UHM (e.g., Warrior Recreation Center, libraries, and food options) provided them with physical spaces where they could go to connect with other students and/or engage in other non-academic opportunities to build community. One student reported that registering for classes and the transfer process was so “easy” that it relieved a lot of their stress during the transition.


On the contrary, students also reported experiencing challenges such as increased academic expectations, adjusting to bigger class sizes and a bigger campus, connecting with other students in the classroom environment, and navigating the logistics of the new campus such as parking. These challenges are aligned with the survey results, as not all students are involved in campus life, and about 50 percent of the students did not feel like the course prepared them for the psychological effects of transfer.


Although we have not taught the course recently, we plan to use the assessment data we collected to revise the course to include an in-person campus tour, more opportunities for students to engage with their peers to build a transfer community before transferring, and more focus on the psychological effects of transfer. There is also an opportunity to create and pilot a post-transfer seminar course at UHM, which could also help meet the needs of this unique student population. Two-year colleges often bear the brunt of transfer responsibility; however, transfer must be a shared responsibility between sending and receiving institutions to create an effective transfer pathway (Herrera & Jain 2013).


Foote, S. M., Kranzow, J., & Hinkle, S. E. (2015). Focusing on the forgotten: An examination of the influences and innovative practices that affect community college transfer student success. In Jones, S. J. & Smith, D. J. (Eds.), Examining the impact of community colleges on the global workforce (pp. 94-124). IGI Global.

Herrera, A., & Jain, D. (2013). Building a transfer‐receptive culture at four‐year institutions. New Directions for Higher Education2013(162), 51-59.

Poisel, M. A., & Joseph, S. (Eds). (2018). Building transfer student pathways for college and career success. University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition and the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students.


Dr. Lauren Prepose-Forsen is a Senior Transfer Specialist with the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa (UHM), Mānoa Transfer Coordination Center (MTCC). She received her BA in Psychology and MA in Counseling from the UHM and went on to complete her EdD in Education from the University of Southern California in 2015. Dr. Prepose-Forsen has been with the University of Hawaiʻi system for about ten years and in her current position for the past 7 years. She is committed to helping students achieve their educational goals through a developmental advising lens and is dedicated to higher education and promoting student success in all areas of life. She believes education is a catalyst for future opportunities in life and encourages life-long learning. As a member of an educational community, Dr. Prepose-Forsen does her best to promote equity, accountability, and integrity. When she is not working, she is a busy mom of two beautiful daughters and she enjoys spending time with her family, hiking, traveling, and making memories through new experiences.


The views and opinions expressed on the NISTS Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NISTS. Any content provided by our bloggers or authors are of their opinion and are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, individual or anyone or anything.


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