Comparing the Learning Approaches of Transfer Students and Direct Entrants in an Asian Higher Education Context

Kin Cheung, Ceci Sze Wing Ho, Hilda Tsang, Elaine Lau

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Transfer students (TSs) transitioning from community college (CC) to university have been found to experience adjustment challenges different from those experienced by direct entrants (DEs) admitted straight from high school, which in turn influences their approaches to learning. Learning can enhance the transition towards sustainability, and it is influenced by various factors. However, there have been limited studies examining the factors associated with TSs’ and DEs’ learning approaches. To fill this research gap, this current study used a cross-sectional survey with both TSs (n = 841) and DEs (n = 978) to identify the factors. Our results indicated that the TSs had a higher rate of adoption of surface approaches (SA) to learning than DEs, while TSs and DEs shared some similar predictors of their learning approaches. The results suggest that the commitment of education stakeholders is essential for sustainable learning. They should improve the transfer system by providing adequate support and reduce disparities in the allocation of resources to TSs and DEs, as these affect learning approaches.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2523
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2022


  • Community college transfer students
  • Learning approach
  • Transition adjustment
  • University
  • Variation in learning

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

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