#Accepted: The role of social media in the college choice process of out-of-state undergraduate students
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The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the perceptions of out-of-state undergraduate students on college choice and the role of social media. Data were collected through semi-structured interviews with 13 out-of-state college students attending a midsized, four-year institution in the Midwest. Research focused on how students use social media, what information they found the most helpful during their college search, and what other factors had an influence on their college selection process. The study concluded aptitude, SES, high school performance, and educational aspirations were not influential on expectations of college life and college choice. College cost, location, and academic programs were found to be influential on students’ college choice which was consciously made based on experience with family, college personnel, and friends. Findings show, campus visits and social media are valuable sources of information regarding college choice and are used to triangulate and solidify their choice of college. Additionally, family circumstances and expectations of college life did not inhibit students from pursuing higher education out-of-state. The findings reveal college choice of out-of-state students is dynamic and complex and offer implications for theory. This information may also be of use to practitioners in K-12 and higher education through providing a greater understanding of the influences on college choice for students considering attending college out-of-state and may further assist them in guiding students as they make their college decision. Prospective student may also find this information helpful as they learn of the various resources available to assist with their college search and aim to make an informed and best-fit college choice.
Thesis (Ed.D.)-- Wichita State University, College of Education, Dept. of Counseling, Educational Leadership, Educational and School Psychology