Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Roger G. Baldwin


The purpose of this study was to investigate the reasons why recent high school graduates choose to attend a postsecondary proprietary school or a community college. Choice models based on the choices of prospective four-year college and university students provided the basis for the study. Three sets of variables--significant persons, relatively fixed institutional characteristics, and other institutional characteristics--were analyzed in order to determine students' choice of the two types of institutions.;The populations of this study were a group of 22 students in business and related curricula at the Virginia Beach Campus of Commonwealth College and a group of thirty randomly selected students in similar curricula at the Virginia Beach Campus of Tidewater Community College. The participants had to have graduated from high school during the spring of 1986 or 1987 and had to be enrolled in an associate degree program in business or related curricula. They did not have to be enrolled full-time. These participants responded to a survey addressing variables which caused them to choose a postsecondary proprietary institution or a community college. Interviews were conducted with five survey respondents from each of the populations.;Data were analyzed using a one-way analysis of variance to investigate the differences between the two institutions. Statistically significant results were established at the.05 level of confidence. The results support the theory that recent high school graduates planning to matriculate at four-year colleges and universities choose their institutions for some of the same reasons that students planning to enroll in proprietary institutions or community colleges choose their schools. Differences were also identified.;Future research on student choice in higher education is needed in localities across the country. More information is essential regarding students who intend to enroll in local/regional proprietary schools and community colleges so that institutions may respond to the needs of prospective students.



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