Applying to higher education: information sources and choice factors

Simões, Cláudia and Soares, Ana Maria (2010). Applying to higher education: information sources and choice factors. Studies in Higher Education, 35(4) pp. 371–389.



Higher education institutions are facing increasingly complex challenges, which demand a deeper understanding of the sources prospective students use when applying to a higher education institution. This research centres on students’ decision-making process for higher education institutions, focusing on the prepurchase period, and, in particular, the information sources and choice factors students draw on when selecting a higher education institution. A survey was administered to students who were enrolling for the first time at a Portuguese university, yielding a total sample of 1641. The findings reveal that the university website is rated among the three most used sources of information by the majority of respondents. The results also show that geographical proximity is the most important choice factor for a higher education institution. Conclusions,implications and avenues for future research are presented.

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