Biology Transfer Students: A Personalized Approach


Approximately 20% of undergraduate majors in the Department of Biological Sciences are transfer students – a population long presumed to struggle during their first year, based on anecdotal evidence from advisors and educators across campus. Our preliminary data support this assumption showing that ~50% of transfer students are not successful in their first semester science courses. The goal of this proposal is to develop an intervention program to smooth the transition of transfer students and improve their first year success.  First, we will characterize the academic preparation of our current and past transfer students and correlate this with their academic performance at Pitt. Next, we will use these data to build predictive models and determine how best to advise future transfer students from different schools and backgrounds about how to succeed at Pitt.  We will work with the regional Pitt campuses, local community colleges, and the Office of First Year Experience to provide early and personalized recommendations for preparatory coursework prior to transferring and for first year courses after relocating.  Finally, we will support transfer students by developing resources for biology courses that contain a high enrollment of first-year transfer students to ensure their successful transition to the main campus.

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Jessica Wandelt
Melissa Warthen
Christine Berliner