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ERIC Number: ED517227
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 178
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1240-3148-4
The College-Choice Process of High Achieving Freshmen: A Comparative Case Study
Dale, Amanda
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, Arizona State University
The purpose of this study was to examine the college-choice process of high achieving students. Employing current literature and previous research, it combined current models of college choice and the influential factors identified throughout the literature while utilizing the concept of bounded rationality to create a conceptual framework to explain and understand the college-choice process of these students further. Utilizing a comparative case study approach, this study looked at the college-choice process of four groups of high achieving students at Arizona State University based on their residency classification and scholarship designation. This task was accomplished three ways: first, three students from each scholarship designation were interviewed; second, four focus groups were conducted consisting of three to five students per group; last, document analysis was conducted on the pre-enrollment recruitment file of all the participants. After data collection, the interviews, focus groups, and documents were coded and analyzed utilizing the current literature and previous research as a guide. Findings suggest that specific people and factors influenced these students during their college-choice process. The influential people included parents, peers, other family members, college representatives, high school teachers and counselors and themselves. Influential factors included money, location, size and opportunities, programs, The Honors College, social aspect/fit, and the campus visit. As the students navigated their college-choice process, the findings also suggest that they gathered information and ultimately made their decision utilizing a bounded rationality of location/experience, programs/plans, familiarity of ASU, and ASU as a launching pad. Last, the scholarship award had a specific impact on students in their college-choice process, serving in several capacities: as a tipping point in their decision, as an equalizer, or as something that put ASU on their radar. This study added to the literature on college choice, expanding on bounded rationality and providing a voice to students. It gave a tangible framework to enrollment managers and university administrators to understand the perspective of high achieving students. While it didn't give general recommendations on market segmentation, it provided an example of market segments and illustrated why it is important to target recruitment messages. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600; Web site:
Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Arizona