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Smooth sailing or rough seas: Examining Virginia's guaranteed admission agreements

Kimberly A Morton, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


Transferring from a community college to a four-year institution is a common pathway on the route to a baccalaureate degree. Navigating the different colleges and curriculum requirements, however, is often confusing and frustrating for students. Higher educational institutions have tried to ease the process through articulation agreements and Guaranteed Admission Agreements. This study examined the statewide Guaranteed Admission Agreements (GAA) constructed in Virginia to determine what role GAA's played in the student's transfer experience, if the GAA's served the needs of the students to their maximum potential, if there were any unintentional barriers encountered when using GAA's, and what, if any, improvements could be made to the transfer process concerning GAA's. This qualitative, responsive evaluation study focused on the experiences of twelve students that transferred from a Virginia community college to one of two Virginia four-year institutions through a GAA. Utilizing one-on-one interviews, the researcher aimed to discover if the GAA provided a smooth transition. In addition, community college academic counselors, four-year college transfer advisors, and college administrators were interviewed for their viewpoint on the success and drawbacks of GAA's. The interviews revealed that the guaranteed admission agreements did aid in providing a smooth transition to the four-year institutions and all of the students interviewed would recommend this pathway to their family and friends. Though a helpful tool, the themes revealed a need to better market the GAA's in the community colleges, better clarification and communication of the "hidden" general core requirements, and stronger cooperation between the two- and four-year institutions. This study and recommendations will provide policy makers and college administrators with valuable information on the significance of GAA's and ways to improve the program going forward.

Subject Area

Higher Education Administration

Recommended Citation

Morton, Kimberly A, "Smooth sailing or rough seas: Examining Virginia's guaranteed admission agreements" (2013). ETD collection for University of Nebraska - Lincoln. AAI3601672.