By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The general perception is that college is four years. Today, the federal Department of Education recognizes that it takes most students 4-6 years. An article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 9th, reports on data on college transfers that provides a surprising picture.

Author Jennifer Gonzalez points out that many high school grads go to college because it’s expected of them. When they realize that it’s not a “good fit,” they transfer to less costly two-year colleges looking for careers where there are jobs.

Large numbers of students at four-year universities “dip in” to two-year institutions where they take a course or two while continuing to work on a bachelor’s degree. Others are in a perpetual “swirl,” taking courses at both. Such mobility results in less attachment to their original colleges.

About one third of students at all types of higher ed institutions transfer, with transfers peaking in the second year. These new trends are causing college administrators to develop effective policies.

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