This qualitative study explored reasons that students choose to attend military junior colleges and factors influential in their decision-making process. Defined by college choice theory, the study addressed six research questions: why do students choose to attend a military junior college; who are the persons or factors that influence the student's choice of a military junior college; which students choose to attend a military junior college; what is the search process that students go through; what are the significant experiences that influence the student's personal decision-making process; and what sources of information were most influential in the student's decision-making process.
Data was obtained through 18 in-person interviews of students enrolled in military junior colleges. Parents of the students were interviewed by telephone for the purpose of supplying supplemental data to that obtained from the student interviews. Analysis of the data revealed that students who attend military junior colleges do go through a search process. Like their peers who attend civilian colleges, these students consider factors such as the school's size, location, and reputation. Furthermore, the college's means of communication is influential as these students go through their selection process.
Several themes emerged through data analysis. These students have supportive parents, influential peers who also attend college, strong personal aspirations, and concerns about paying for their college education. Their parents shared their concern about how they would finance their child's education. A sub-theme that emerged from discussions with the students regarding their concern about paying for college is that of self-reliance. The students expressed their desire to help pay their way through college, either because their parents could not pay or because they did not want to put additional financial burden on their family.
In addition to conclusions, this study provides recommendations for further research. A study involving students who applied but did not matriculate would provide college administrators with information regarding changes that might need to be made, if that information was relevant to factors under their purview. Likewise, further research could involve military junior college alumni. Contacting the alumni to ask them why they chose to attend a military junior college and how their initial expectations compared with their experience would also be valuable information for the military junior college administrators.
|Advisor:||Kim, Mikyong M.|
|Commitee:||Brown, Walter, Ehrenberg, Rudy, Johnson, Jason, Patrick, Sondra|
|School:||The George Washington University|
|Department:||Higher Education Administration|
|School Location:||United States -- District of Columbia|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/03, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Higher Education Administration, Higher education, Military studies|
|Keywords:||College choice, Military education, Military junior college|
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