The National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS) recently announced the release of the beta version of their anticipated Transfer Policy & Practice Audit Tool. This free resource provides individuals or groups within academic institutions a means to capture and analyze institutional policies and practices that affect transfer students. Using fillable worksheets, colleges can explore which policies and practices have had a positive impact, which may be hindering student success, and how they can make changes for the betterment of students.
The tool focuses on two primary areas of assessment: policy and practice, and student-facing support. After reviewing a description of an ideal state (or best practice), colleges would report evidence and provide a rating of how well their institution is meeting this standard. Where they do not assess themselves as meeting the ideal state, they are asked to reflect on the impact of their policies and practices and propose ways to make improvements.
Partnering with Sending & Receiving Institutions (Part A, Section 3)
There is a centralized mechanism, such as a software platform or database, for key stakeholders (e.g., admissions, registrar, advisors) to find up-to-date information on transfer partnerships.
TES and Transferology both provide a means for colleges to store and track articulation agreements and transfer guides. These can be shared with internal and external stakeholders.
TES Groups and Group Reports leverage the equivalency data in TES to create and display agreements in a user-friendly format. When equivalencies are updated, Group Reports automatically reflect these changes, helping keep agreements current. Internal stakeholders can access these reports through the Equivalency Finder, where they can be emailed or printed.
Within Transferology, institutions have the flexibility to upload PDF copies of agreements or connect to TES Group Reports. Any user with a Transferology Lab account can view agreements with their institution via Program Pathways.
Communications (Part A, Section 4)
The institution has a communications plan to ensure stakeholders receive clear information about transfer policies, programs, and services, with particular strategies for transfer students, partner colleges/universities, the internal college/university community, and other external stakeholders.
TES and Transferology subscribers will note these tools as key parts of their institution’s communication plan.
Institutions can use the TES Public View to link students, internal faculty and staff, and partner colleges to their transfer website, transfer policy, and information about transfer appeals. Colleges can supply additional information via the Read Me Text. The Public View is easily accessible; institutions just need to provide the URL or embed it on their website. Transfer guides created through TES Group and Group Reports can be viewed here as well.
Within Transferology Lab, institutions can provide links on their school profile to help internal and external stakeholders navigate their transfer, admissions, and financial aid information. Colleges can also create custom links to policies or to student services like advising, counseling, housing, etc. Program links, descriptions, and degree audits for uAchieve schools can be established via Program Setup.
Evaluating, Awarding & Applying Credits (Part B, Section 2)
A student will receive official transcript evaluation results within one week (e.g., of submitting the transcript).
The institution uses a course equivalency program or tool (e.g., software, web platform, etc.) to automate the evaluation of transcripts to ensure evaluations are done quickly (within a week).
Following evaluation of transcripts, the institution provides students with clear decisions on which courses will apply to the degrees in their majors (including general education), will count only as electives, or will not count at all.
Institutions can use the uAchieve Transcript Importer to automate the entry of course (transcript) information. Credit is articulated and posted to the student information system. The official transcript evaluation can be available in minutes instead of days, helping colleges devote resources elsewhere.
The TES Evaluation Tracker workflow provides a centralized means to evaluate coursework quickly and efficiently. Pending evaluations can be searched by the number of days since their assignment, helping ensure that deadlines are met.
Once evaluation decisions are made, schools using uAchieve degree audit can provide students with custom-made reports detailing how their coursework transfers and how it applies to their declared majors and general education requirements. Students can run these reports almost instantaneously. Degree audits can also be customized to provide progress towards degree calculations.
Transfer reports can also be created in TES with the help of Course List Reports. These can be shared with students and key stakeholders to facilitate advisement.
A student can generate an unofficial transcript evaluation to gauge progress toward a degree.
Colleges using uAchieve can provide students the ability to run “what-if” degree audits. These reports show students how credit they have taken or been granted in transfer will apply to any number of programs. These reports can help students who have not yet declared a major or minor determine how their credits would apply.
Use the Audit Tool at Your Institution
Read more about the NISTS Transfer Policy & Practice Audit Tool and make plans for your institution to start your review. Since this is a beta release, NISTS invites institutions to share feedback regarding their use of this tool over the next year.
Don’t forget to register for this year’s CollegeSource 2022 Transfer Week Webinar Series, a free week of presentations and panels led by industry experts and inspired by National Transfer Student Week on October 17-21. Visit the Transfer Week resource page by NISTS, organizer of National Transfer Student Week, for ideas about how to celebrate transfer students at your institution.