BkRev: Poisel, M. A., & Joseph, S. (Ed.) (2018). Building transfer student pathways for college and career success. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition and the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students. ISBN: 978-1-942072-27-0, 153 pp., (paperback) $30.00, https://styluspub.presswarehouse.com/browse/book/9781942072270/Building-Transfer-Student-Pathways-for-College-and-Career-Success

Review by Jill Putman, Department of Geosciences, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO [email protected]


Building Transfer Student Pathways for College and Career Success, edited by Mark Allen Posel and Sonya Joseph, is composed of eight chapters that highlight best practices, data, and research on transfer students and their experiences in the higher education system. The text starts with an overview of data related to transfer student numbers and pathways and progresses to a focused discussion on reverse transfer programs, transfer orientation, advising for transfer students, learning communities, and assessment practices. Throughout the text, the authors highlight applicable best practices and models at institutions across the country.  

The book provides opportunities for advising professionals to develop in the NACADA core values (2017) of integrity, empowerment, and inclusivity. Throughout the text, the authors emphasize the ethical responsibility of educators to provide clear pathways and curriculum requirements so transfer students can attain degrees in a timely manner and the role that this information plays in empowering students to take control of their educational future. The NACADA core value of inclusivity speaks to the dedication of advisors to achieve student success for all students, including transfer students who come into institutions with diverse timelines and histories (Shapiro, p.5, 2018) and internal transfer students (Foote, p.56, 2018). This resource also provides opportunities for advisors to thoughtfully consider how to develop core competencies in the informational component (NACADA, 2017) around transfer student advising interactions, designing practices based on dimensions of transfer student readiness (Romano & Hesse, p.39, 2018), the importance of building collaborative partnerships to support transfer student success, and using assessment to inform practices (Moser, 2018).    

For advising professionals looking to enhance their understanding of trends in transfer student pathways and experiences, the text offers relevant data, applicable research and theory, and concrete examples of practices in place at different institutions. This book may be of particular interest to professionals who hold foundational knowledge of working with transfer students and are looking for a thorough introduction on the transfer student experience. What the text lacks, however, is the student voice and perspective interwoven throughout the chapters, which would have provided a valuable picture of the impact of these programs beyond the numbers cited. A significant weakness of the text is the omission of an analysis of the data on transfer student demographics, intersecting identities, and disaggregated data that highlights how different identities inform the transfer student experience, special considerations in the advising experience based on identity, and how practices should be adapted to address the needs of minoritized populations.

Given the number of students who progress through the higher education system in a non-linear manner, academic advisors across institutional types and locations are likely to serve transfer students during their career. Building Transfer Student Pathways for College and Career Success is a useful reference for advisors to develop a toolbox to utilize in their advising practice and to encourage thoughtful reflection of how to serve transfer students with integrity and commitment. 



NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. (2017). NACADA academic advising core competencies model. Retrieved from https://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Pillars/CoreCompetencies.aspx


NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. (2017). NACADA core values of academic advising. Retrieved from https://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Pillars/CoreValues.aspx

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