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WELS baseline survey of transfers, WELS, WELS baseline, WELS baseline surveys, Transfers, baseline, baseline survey, baseline surveys, transfer surveys, transfer baseline, new students, previous college, engagement, college application process, Skills, goals, expectations, major choice, major declaration, declaration, expenses, employment, demographics, transfer demographics


The WELS Baseline Survey of Transfers Entering Western in the Fall, 2012 (Transfer Survey) is the companion survey to the Office of Survey Research’s (OSR) survey of incoming freshmen. Together, these surveys elicit information from students prior to the start of their Western academic careers and provide an initial contact in a longitudinal survey design that follows students through graduation and into their initial years as alumni. The Transfer Survey is designed with three purposes in mind: (1) to provide baseline observations of students prior to the Western experience that can be used to forecast and enhance student success; (2) to provide data that can assist university assessment and accreditation endeavors; and (3) to assess student needs based upon their self-reported characteristics, perceptions, and concerns. To accomplish these, the Transfer Survey integrates questions into seven sections: prior engagement and experiences, the college application process, course scheduling, academic skills and goals, major choice, expenses and employment, and demographics. In addition to these, various Western offices submitted questions that dealt with academic advising and the use of technology. The questions on the Transfer Survey are a mixture of open-ended, numerical and multiple choice types. This report lists all questions and reports basic descriptive statistics from equations which lend themselves to numerical analysis. Responses to open ended questions are available upon request. OSR initially conducted the Transfer Survey as part of the Transitions Program. Non-participants in Transitions and non-respondents received an e-mail invitation to participate in the survey shortly after the conclusion of Transitions. Reminder e-mails were sent to non-respondents at both their internal and external e-mail addresses. Non-respondents to these e-mails received phone call requests and final e-mails through the month of August. The survey was closed the weekend prior to the beginning of fall quarter. Of the 1,096 transfer students entering the fall of 2012, OSR received responses from 804, a response rate of 73.4%. As with any survey, readers should be concerned with sample selection bias; that is bias which arises because survey respondents are not a random selection of the population of survey recipients. While sample selection bias on the Transfer Survey is mitigated through proper survey techniques and a high response rate, its presence should be considered when evaluating data. Section A of this document compares respondents to all incoming transfer students. Relative to all transfers, respondents were more likely to be female (49.5% of respondents versus 48.0% of all transfers), had a slightly higher average admissions index (48.7 for respondents versus 48.5 for all transfers), and transferred slightly fewer credits to WWU (average of 74.8 for respondents and 75.3 for all transfers). On the other hand, respondents and non-respondents were nearly identical in terms of ethnicity, SAT, prior collegiate GPAs, median age, first generation status, and state of origin. In order to shorten the survey and increase respondent completion rates, OSR asked certain questions of a random group of students. In our report, these are noted by statements such as “asked of a random 50% of respondents.” In programming this random group, OSR made an error that prevented some of these questions from being answered. As a result, the number of responses to these questions is less than what would have been hoped for. The report notes the questions in which this happened. To familiarize readers with the content of the survey, here we make a few observations regarding the survey results. The median transfer student applied to only one school (Western), while about one-third applied to two or more schools. The most common school to apply to other than Western was the University of Washington. Among those students who had registered for classes prior to completing the survey, 29% expressed some level of dissatisfaction with their schedule, an amount five percentage points higher than the 2011 survey results and eight percentage points higher than 2010. The most common reasons given for the dissatisfaction were that their desired courses were full or were offered at times conflicting with other courses. The median transfer student expects to take 6 quarters to graduate from Western, about the same as in the 2010 and 2011 surveys. However, almost one-third of transfers expect to take 9 or more quarters to graduate, a number significantly higher than respondents in 2010 or 2011. Relative to 2011, the 2012 cohort of transfers are less certain about what their major will be (63% were certain relative to 75% in 2011), though 92% of transfers expect to declare a major sometime during their first year on campus. Among transfer students, Biology (10%), Psychology (9%) and English (7%) are the most frequently listed expected majors to declare. Over the coming year, transfers expect to work for pay 16.1 hours per week, an amount about one hour per week lower than the prior year. OSR is pleased to share its data with interested campus researchers. Clarifying Notes 1. Unless otherwise noted, percentages given are of the number responding to a question divided by the number asked that question. This denominator may contain fewer students than the 804 responding to the survey due to question branching, random selection of respondents for certain questions, and survey attrition. 2. In many cases percentages do not sum to one hundred because of rounding. 3. A blank space indicates no respondent chose that response option. A report of 0% indicates that the percent of responses rounded down to, but is not equal with, zero. 4. This report presents responses from all students completing any question regardless of whether the respondent completed the survey or not.




Digital object produced by Office of Survey Research, Western Washington University, and made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Subjects - Topical (LCSH)

Transfer students--Washington (State)--Bellingham--Longitudinal studies; College students--Washington (State)--Longitudinal studies

Title of Series

Technical and research reports (Western Washington University. Office of Survey Research) ; 2012-05






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