Towards understanding effects of social influence on student choice of university: case study of Victoria University

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Krezel, Joanna (2020) Towards understanding effects of social influence on student choice of university: case study of Victoria University. Other Degree thesis, Victoria University.


Increased competition among education providers has made the process of student choice regarding higher education institutions (institutions) more complicated for potential students. At the same time, institutions are striving to attract new students through new and innovative ways. This research contributes to an increased understanding of the social influence factors that impact on student choice processes and explores their effect on the selection of institutions. This study predominantly focused on factors influencing the final choice of institutions. However, in order to consider a broader range of social pressures on student choice, the study also examined the stages of development of a predisposition to engage in post-secondary education and the information search. This study adopted a qualitative methodology and employed the phenomenological perspective as a theoretical basis to investigate students’ choice processes. A series of research questions guided the in- depth face to face interviews, conducted with 13 first-year undergraduate students, which had the main objective of interpreting and exploring the participants’ lived experiences contributing to their choice of institution. The findings of the study highlight the importance of perceived elements of sincerity and credibility during prospective student encounters with influencing agents. These crucial elements affecting student choices provide further insight in identifying the prerequisite conditions for these perceptions to form. The research makes contributions to the broader body of knowledge concerned with student choice through the adoption of a phenomenological perspective and a strong focus on the role of social influence in this context. The research offers practical implications for higher education marketers as it informs the development of more targeted marketing communication and recruitment campaigns through increased knowledge of the student choice processes and the social influence determinants that underpin these processes.

Additional Information

Doctor of Business Administration

Item type Thesis (Other Degree thesis)
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 1303 Specialist Studies in Education
Current > Division/Research > VU School of Business
Keywords social influence; students; choice; university; social network; case study; Victoria University; higher education; marketing; recruitment campaigns; qualitative methodology; interviews
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