Alexandria Digital Research Library

The role of social media networking communities in transfer student success

Beck, Leesa M.
Degree Supervisor:
Karen Nylund-Gibson and Michael Gottfried
Place of Publication:
[Santa Barbara, Calif.]
University of California, Santa Barbara
Creation Date:
Issued Date:
Higher education, Information technology, and Communication
Higher education
Student success
Transfer students
Social media
Online resources and Dissertations, Academic
Degree Grantor:
University of California, Santa Barbara. Education
Ph.D.--University of California, Santa Barbara, 2016

For decades researchers have observed the relationship between college students' social integration, and college persistence and other student success outcomes (Cabrera, Castaneda, Nora, & Hengstler, 1992; Tinto, 1993). With social media having become such an important component of college students' social lives, many new possibilities to engage students through these media have emerged in recent years. Studies show both that colleges are increasingly utilizing these tools (NACAC, 2009), and that students who use them demonstrate higher levels of engagement (Valenzuela, Park, & Kee, 2009), which could ultimately lead to improved student success outcomes. Transfer students are a particularly vulnerable population, having consistently been shown to struggle more with social integration than their peers who enter institutions as freshmen (Bauer & Bauer, 1994; Rhine, Milligan, & Nelson, 2000; Laanan, 2007).

They, therefore, might stand to benefit from the engagement opportunities offered by social media, which can be utilized before students ever set foot on campus, thereby easing the initial transition, and positioning students for both short- and long-term success. However, little information exists on the relationship between students' participation in social media and student success. This study examines that relationship for transfer students admitted to a major public research university. Two sets of analyses look at whether students who participate in the university's social media community are more likely to matriculate, and whether they exhibit better student success outcomes. The first set of analyses provide some evidence that social media networking significantly influences the matriculation decisions of students who choose to participate, beta = .323, p < .001.

While the second set of analyses reveal no significant differences for student success outcomes, both graduation rates and GPAs are slightly higher within the treatment group than the control group, a promising result that may indicate further study is warranted.

Physical Description:
1 online resource (149 pages)
UCSB electronic theses and dissertations
Catalog System Number:
Inc.icon only.dark In Copyright
Copyright Holder:
Leesa Beck
File Description
Access: Public access
Beck_ucsb_0035D_13171.pdf pdf (Portable Document Format)