Date of Award

Spring 2019

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

John Elmore, Ph.D.

Committee Member

David I. Backer, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline S. Hodes, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Dana Morrison, Ph.D.


As institutions are working to open their doors for everyone, they should strive to support them all upon arrival as well. There are many programs and initiatives offered at 4-year institutions to meet the unique needs of students. Unfortunately, many of those services are not tailored to serve transfer students. Transfer students can range from students who are transitioning directly from another institution, to students who are coming back to college after a lengthy break. Transfer students encounter many barriers that negatively impact their transition to 4-year institutions, but the sources of their struggles vary. Intersectionality provides us with a framework to analyze the sources of people’s struggles by examining how each of their identity characteristics combine and impact their daily interactions. There are various forms of oppression attached to everyone’s identity characteristics. In this thesis I am choosing to focus on the identity characteristics of class, race, and gender. When this framework is applied to transfer students, it can help advisors uncover the sources of their struggles in transitioning, acclimating, and learning at a 4-year institution. After a review of literature on these subjects, I propose a workshop series which will help transfer student academic advisors navigate and process how transfer students’ identity characteristics are impacted by the barriers they encounter during their transition to 4-year institutions. At the conclusion of the workshop series, transfer student academic advisors will be able to analyze transfer students struggles through an intersectional lens.