College Choice Motivations


To understand the key motivations when it comes to choosing an undergraduate college from both the student and parent persepctive.

Early Findings

Student Motivation

  • A study by the Department of Education, published in 2018, reported that the number one reason a student chooses a college is due to the school's academic quality or reputation. This was also the top reason found in a study done by the US News and World Report.
  • Another key factor that a student chooses a college is that the school has a reputation for high job placement of graduates. This ranked #2 on the US News study and #3 on the DOE study.
  • The cost of attendance or availability of financial aid is a top factor for students choosing a college. Cost issues ranked #3 and #4 on the US News study and #4 on the DOE study.
  • Personal choice due to extracurricular activities, family legacy, sports teams, and social activities ranks high with students.

Parent Motivation

  • A 2016 study by Sallie Mae, reported that the primary motivation for choosing a college from the parent persepctive was school's academic program.
  • According to the study, the second key factor for parents is that the school is their child's personal choice, due to extracurricular activities, religious affiliation, family legacy, and the like.
  • The third motivating factor for parents is cost and/or availability of financial aid.
  • Location is also a key factor for parents when choosing an undergraduate school for their children.

Research proposal:

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