Can Stereotype Threat Explain the Transfer Shock Phenomena?


Tatev Papikyan, Tatev Papikyan


Rashmita Mistry, Associate Professor, University of California, Los Angeles

Many faculty members and administrators at four-year institutions view community college students as “academically suspect” (Cejda, 1997). Moreover, community colleges have been criticized for inadequately preparing students who transfer to four-year institutions (Cejda, 1997). As a consequence, psychological distress and underperformance may arise when students become aware of the negative stereotype associated with being a transfer student. This is a predicament known as stereotype threat, which prevents members of a negatively stereotyped group from performing to their full potential (Steele, 1997). This study will examine if stereotype threat helps to explain the phenomena of “transfer shock” that is common among community college transfer students after they transfer to a four-year institution. Transfer shock characterizes the temporary decrease in students’ academic performance (or grade point average-GPA) in the first or second semester after transferring (Hills, 1965). Based on the negative stereotypes about transfer students, I intend to explore how stereotype threat accounts for the underperformance of transfer students’ at four-year institutions. The target population for this study will be students who transferred from California community colleges to University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the Fall 2013. Data will be collected using a survey questionnaire. The questionnaire will include four main components: students’ (a) background and characteristics; (b) community college experiences; (c) UCLA experience; and (d) negative stereotype experience. The suggestions will assist university professionals developing and enhancing academic advisement for transfer students to successfully transition into university life.

Presented by:


Saturday, November 23, 2013


3:10 PM — 3:25 PM


Mendenhall/Greenleaf Gallery

Presentation Type:

Oral Presentation