Comparison of the influence of various information sources on the college choice of students within a variety of postsecondary institutions
This study examined the use of information sources in college choice processing of historically-under-represented students from four different types of colleges who traditionally have not been studied in previous research. Historically under-represented types of students included students who were older than 24 years of age, African-Americans, Latinos, and low SES. The four types of colleges included a traditional public university, public community college, proprietary university, and proprietary college. Students from similar college programs of study were surveyed regarding their demographics to determine their categorization as historically under-represented and their use of information sources. Administrators from the selected colleges were interviewed and surveyed. Five students from each college were then interviewed. While most college choice processing research and the development of models are based on traditional college students, this study demonstrated that historically under-represented students generally utilize information sources and perform their college choice processing differently from traditional college students. These differences question the applicability of college choice processing models, such as Hossler and Gallagher's three stage model, without revisions. These revisions include redefinition of the stages and how they are executed in order to embrace the lack of college choices of historically under-represented students due to their lack of college informational motivators. The use of alternate information sources by historically-under-represented students and their motivational impact that differ from those utilized by traditional college students demonstrated the need to employ these sources within traditional colleges in order to increase college access for historically-under-represented students. This includes the utilization of non-traditional college informational motivators, such as the media, spouses, employers, and children, access to college informational motivators for students and their parents at all levels of schooling, and greater college access for older adults/parents. This study provided evidence that historically-underrepresented students still experience deficiencies in their access to college due to their lack of access to traditional information sources and their resulting compensation by utilizing alternative sources which were motivational as well as informational.
Academic guidance counseling;
0514: School administration
0519: Academic guidance counseling
0745: Higher education