12 May 2022


Student Swirl and its Effects on Higher Education

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Academic level: Master’s

Paper type: Research Paper

Words: 1765

Pages: 6

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Abstract There is one common perception among different individuals considering the procedure of pursuing a degree from either a college or a university. The belief is that one must complete a program and earn a degree from the same institution. Well, this is far from reality, since, for numerous scholars, their path to attaining a college or university degree is purely far from being straightforward and direct (Vance, 2013). The trend of switching between higher learning institutions has increased and gained popularity across the nation; this practice is commonly referred to as student swirl. Student swirl has had a number of effects both negative and positive on the higher education. Student swirling impacts the budget of an institution thus bringing difficulties along the way which may hamper higher education. What is more, many students change from beneficial programs of 4 years to 2 years. All the same student swirling can help achieve the best since the transfer can be to greater institution compared to the initial one. Also swirling can help save since one can opt for a community college where tuition is cheap. What is more, student swirling can possibly deaccelerate or accelerate the students’ progress tempo towards the desired goals academic wise depending on the learner’s requirements (Brown, 2015). Also, the institution can deaccelerate or accelerate the students learning progress.   Student Swirl and its Effects on Higher Education There is one common perception among different individuals considering the procedure of pursuing a degree from either a college or a university. Many believe that a degree can only be achieved from the institution where an individual enrolled for the first time in a particular program. The reality is that after enrolling for a degree at a certain higher learning institution there is room for changing and attending another different higher learning institution of choice. For numerous scholars, the path to a college or university degree is far from straightforward and direct (Vance, 2013). There is nonlinear enrolment characterized by a discontinuous attendance of multiple institutions, or simply Student Swirl (Wood & Palmer, 2014).   According to the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, many students approximately one-third usually switch between higher learning institutions once or more than twice before they finally earn a degree (Gonzalez, 2012). The report by the same research center added that the traditional method of joining and graduating from that one higher learning institution has decreased completely. The trend of switching between higher learning institutions has increased and gained popularity over the recent years; this practice is popularly known as student swirl (Vance, 2013). Student swirl has had a number of effects both negative and positive on the higher education.  Students swirling is highly discouraged simply because it makes it difficult for the administration to serve them which may make higher education to seem weak thus not required in the present day world. Significant challenges are usually faced by different higher learning institutions which seek to preserve the students who swirl so as to maintain multiple contact points which provide high touch responsiveness. This would mean that the moment a sign of swirling interest is seen among the students then personalized attention would be given to them (Burns, 2015). Giving a student who has the urge to swirl personalized attention would mean that other students would get less time and attention which would eventually result in failure.  In the end, higher education would attract a negative name as well as attention. What is more is that the moment the students who want to swirl renew their interest in the institution then they would be given a more personalized attention and experience which would be bad to the whole education system. Also, on the positive side, giving students a more personalized attention would provide an opportunity for them to grow more education wise and thus be more successful.  The phenomenon of student swirling has attracted a number of negative comments as well as appreciation simply because of the impact that it may have upon the budget. The fact that student swirling may hamper the school budget would mean that many dimensions of the institution are affected. On the bottom line analyzation, students who opt to transfer to other institutions or drop out usually affect the revenue generation ability of their earlier institution which would be required for the purposes of carrying out the educational missions of the institution (Burns, 2015). The general feasibility of the higher learning institution housing the program would be greatly impacted considering the significant revenue loss (Burns, 2015). The end result would mean that the higher education level and status would drop. Also, scheduling, as well as planning, would be greatly impacted by the revenue loss. In any given semester, there are a number of courses which have to be taught which are usually dictated by these specific courses which attract the least number of learners on every class so as to manage a sustainable course which is financially stable. Class cancellation would result in the professor’s inability to impart knowledge. In case it happens on a regular basis, then the ability to retain as well as maintaining a strong and an experienced faculty would be difficult thus a threat to higher education (Burns, 2015). What is more, cancelling courses may have an effect on students by creating concern among them as to if and when they will successfully fulfil their certificate or degree requirements. In case of persistent in their concern then the main option would be to transfer or drop out. Dropping out would result to critics concerning the higher education status thus degrading it. Student swirling presents a major threat to higher education. According to the findings by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center approximately one-third usually switch between higher learning institutions once or more than twice before they finally earn a degree (Gonzalez, 2012). Most of the transfers that are done are usually across the state lines. What is more is that the students swirling usually opt for a two-year degree switching from a four years degree and rarely the other way round (Selingo, 2012). Changing from a four-year degree course to a two-year course is a threat to the higher education statistics as it would completely drop the standards of a particular higher learning institution. In addition, it would tarnish the name of higher education since the students graduating would be having low experience as well as skills needed to perform a certain duty.  Swirling by students has greatly impacted the interaction between the staff and the students. The interaction is usually due to the fact that the institution wishes to retain its students. In order for this to be achieved, there is need that the students get a reason to stay within the same institution. Significantly, students usually gain a first-hand customized experienced approach during their interactions with the faculty as well as the staffs who are always up to date with the needs of the students (Burns, 2015). Understanding the needs of the students would be as beneficial as it would give students courage thus building them mentally which would give them ample time to think thus boosting higher education status.  Student swirling is also beneficial especially to the students since it helps them to achieve whatever they believe to be the best and that which they are determined to get. For instance, students are usually determined to turn out as the best in the class and to stand chance for better and competitive post within an office place. Also, student swirling helps students to be able to change their programs in case they feel that they made a wrong choice. Student swirl is primarily for the purposes of making right since it aids in doing a lot, for instance, most students who transferred was for the purposes of doing right after choosing a wrong institution or encountered financial or academic difficulties along the way (Selingo, 2015). Student swirling helps students be able to achieve their dreams by transferring to their preferred or admired institution which would give them pride and the ambition to study and become a better person in life thus boosting higher education. Student swirling may ensure that an individual does not stop learning due to financial problems as he/she can transfer to a community college which may offer a range of advantages. The advantages may include an opportunity of exploring majors before finally deciding to commit on one area, and lower rates in terms of tuition fees which may boost higher education in the nation (Selingo, 2015).   Also swirling may help students develop more technically and achieve significant competitiveness in the job market due to the great effect on higher education. For instance, swirling may provide room for students to transfer to a better and well equipped higher learning institutions with the appropriate learning equipment’s which would provide more learning materials compared to their initial institution. In addition, student swirling, for instance, a student may transfer from an institution which has weak and poor faculty. Transferring from such an institution would greatly benefit the students as well as the status of higher education. What is more, student swirling can possibly deaccelerate or accelerate the students’ progress tempo towards the desired goals academic wise depending on the learner’s requirements (Brown, 2015).  In case the transfer is from a weak and poor institution with inappropriate equipment’s to an institution with a well-equipped personnel and learning equipment’s then learning would be significantly accelerated thus boosting higher education. On the other hand, if the move is from an institution with a well-equipped faculty as well as learning equipment to an institution with poor faculty and learning equipment then the students learning progress would be significantly deaccelerated. According to reports, student swirl from higher learning institutions offering 2 years degree course to an institution offering 4 years degree course is most likely to complete their programs (Renn & Reason, 2012).  Student swirling has had a number of effects both negative and positive on higher education across the nation. For instance, student swirling has resulted in the improvement of higher education across the country, students are able to learn and achieve there desired degrees despite their financial status. Student swirl provides the opportunity for students to achieve the best by switching from the weak and unequipped institutions to better institutions so as to achieve greatness thus boosting the status of higher education.  Student swirl as much as it is beneficial to higher education it is also a threat to the same higher education. Students swirl results to revenue loses to their earlier institutions which may result in poor personnel. More so, students who want to swirl in case their interests are known, a more personalized attention is usually given to them which may take the time that would be used in imparting knowledge. Student’s swirling depending on the institution an individual is transferring to; it may accelerate or deaccelerate the process of learning. Either way, it may improve or degrade higher education.


Brown, M. (2015, June 22). Six Trajectories for Digital Technology in Higher Education. Educause Review. Retrieved from https://er.educause.edu/articles/2015/6/six-trajectories-for-digital-technology-in-higher-education Burns, J. (2015, March 30). Personalization Key to Attracting and Retaining Swirling Students. The Evolllution. Retrieved from https://evolllution.com/opinions/personalization-key-attracting-retaining-swirling-students/  Gonzalez, J. (2012, February 28). A Third of Students Transfer Before Graduating, and Many Head Toward Community Colleges. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com/article/A-Third-of-Students-Transfer/130954 Renn, K. A., & Reason, R. D. (2012). College students in the United States: Characteristics, experiences, and outcomes. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Selingo, J. (2012, March 8). The Student Swirl. The Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from https://www.chronicle.com/blogs/next/2012/03/08/the-student-swirl/ Selingo, J. J. (2015, July 13). The Student Swirl Becoming More of a Norm in Higher Ed. Ithaka S+R. Retrieved from http://www.sr.ithaka.org/blog/the-student-swirl-becoming-more-of-a-norm-in-higher-ed/ Vance, M. (2013). 2013 Higher Education Trend: What is Student Swirl? Retrieved from https://rmsresults.com/2013/05/07/2013-higher-education-trend-what-is-student-swirl/ Wood, J. L., & Palmer, R. T. (2014). STEM models of success: Programs, policies, and practices in the community college. Charlotte, NC: INFORMATION AGE Publishing

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