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Examining Two-Year College Choice Among Recent High School Graduates in Montana

Clark, Victoria
The purpose of this quantitative study was two-fold. The first purpose was to describe the college choice behavior of traditional-age Montana students who decide to enroll at a Montana two-year college the fall semester following their high school graduation. The second purpose was to ascertain if these students’ college choice behavior was impacted by Montana’s varied system of two-year college governance. Sociological contexts (student/family, school/community, and higher education) provided an organizing framework for the study and the reporting of the findings. The significance of the study centered on the interest of Montana higher education leadership to understand and address the State’s two-year system under-subscription challenge. Examining college choice behavior among Montana’s two-year college students was one avenue of exploration for gaining insight into this issue. Results of the study indicated that Montana two-year college students were most influenced in their two-year college decision by cost, programming, location, and parents. With respect to the impact of varied two-year college governance models on college choice, the primary finding was that students implicitly understand Montana’s two-year colleges do not comprise a uniform system. Consequently, students make their two-year college decision appreciating that the different governance models result in different college experiences. This finding suggests that as Montana’s higher education leadership looks to improve Montana’s two-year college participation rates, examining the issue by governance model subset might prove constructive.
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University of Wyoming. Libraries
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college choice,two-year colleges,postsecondary governance,social context
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