Innovative Higher Education

, Volume 42, Issue 2, pp 173–187 | Cite as

A Phenomenology of Transfer: Students’ Experiences at a Receiving Institution

  • Anne-Marie Nuñez
  • Jeffrey Yoshimi


This study advances a conceptual framework to examine how students who had transferred into a four-year institution described their transition experiences. We used phenomenology as a source of theoretical constructs to interpret their experiences and as a research method. Key themes included the importance of online resources in facilitating the transfer process, the importance of supportive institutional agents, the importance of academic and career goals, and the comparative lack of emphasis on having a more social “college experience.” We discuss implications of these findings for future research, policy, and practice. This study contributes to a better understanding of (a) transfer students’ experiences in an understudied institutional setting, (b) the factors distinguishing persisting and non-persisting transfer students, and (c) ways that receiving institutions can be more responsive to the needs of transfer students.


Transfer Phenomenology Qualitative research Identity 



This project was funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. The authors wish to thank Kathryn Yoshida, Benjamin Mook, Krushenka Salazar, and Harry Ramirez for their research assistance and Gloria Crisp, Alicia Dowd, Kenji Hakuta, and Adrianna Kezar for their feedback and support.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Educational StudiesThe Ohio State UniversityColumbusUSA
  2. 2.Department of Cognitive and Information SciencesUniversity of CaliforniaMercedUSA

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