This research note explores differences between students with a low commitment to complete a degree anywhere, those with a strong commitment to complete a degree, but not at their present institution, and those with a strong commitment to complete their degree at their present institution.
EBI MAP-Works and Ball State University partnered to create MAP-Works (Making Achievement Possible-Works). MAP-Works capitalizes on Ball State’s 20 years of experience with the original MAP (Making Achievement Possible) and EBI MAP-Works’ 14 years of experience with national benchmarking assessments. MAP-Works empowers faculty and professional staff to effectively and efficiently impact student success.
MAP-Works® is a comprehensive student retention and success program designed for all class levels. MAP-Works identifies students early in the term allowing for immediate support and intervention. It then serves as the infrastructure to manage critical outreach efforts. Data from the 2011 Fall Transition Survey is summarized below, including 59,197 first-year student respondents from 35 institutions with a Carnegie Classification as large, four-year public institutions.
Approximately 89% of first-year respondents at large, four-year public institutions indicated a commitment to completing a degree at their present institutions. Approximately 10% indicated they were strongly committed to completing a degree, but not at their current institution. Only 1% of respondents indicated they had a low commitment to completing a degree anywhere. Low commitment was linked to lower entering academic qualifications, financial concerns, and academic skills. Few differences were found on these items between those with a high commitment to completing a degree at their current institution and those with high commitment, but not at their current institution. When compared to those who are committed to completing a degree at their current institution, respondents who are committed to completing a degree, but not at their current institutions were less likely to report high levels of self-discipline and time management. Strong differences were also observed related to campus social life and peer connections. Homesickness was also more likely to be an issue among students with low commitment or with high commitment, but not at their current institution. Importantly, three-quarters of respondents with a high commitment to completing their degree, but not at their present institution indicate they intend to return to their institution in the spring term, but only 34% indicate they plan to return the next academic year.
Student Characteristics and Financial Concerns
Academic Skills and Ability and Self-Discipline
Overall, a very small percentage of students (about 1%) reported having a low commitment to completing a degree. These students were different from those with high commitment in a variety of ways, including entering academic qualifications, financial concerns, academic skills and behaviors, and peer connections.
For students who have a strong commitment to earning a degree, but do not see themselves earning that degree at their present large, public, four-year institution, similarities with their highly committed peers were found regarding academic qualifications and behaviors.
Where large gaps exist between these two groups of students (those committed to earning a degree, but not at their current institutions and those with a strong commitment to their current institution) was in the area of social integration and peer connections. Those who are not committed to their current institution appear to have greater difficulty making peer connections and, probably as a result, are more likely to cite a desire for a different social environment as a reason they may transfer. Interestingly, 75% of these students indicate they will return for the spring term, but only 34% indicate they will return for the next academic year. This suggests that large, public 4-year institutions which identify these students and help address their issues may have time to influence the students’ decisions to seek degrees elsewhere.
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