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College Choice among Nontraditional Students

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Mary Hutchens PhD Candidate Vanderbilt University

mary.k.hutchens@gmail.com

Please Note: This information stems from my dissertation research, supported, in part, by an ExpERT Pre-Doctoral training grant from the Institute for Education Science. All results presented here are preliminary, and may not be shared

without permission. Feel free to contact me should you have any questions, concerns, or comments.

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N % Mean 31.4 years

Minimally Nontraditional 179 22.8% Range 17 to 72 years

Moderately Nontraditional 401 51.0% Highly Nontraditional 206 26.2% Total 786 100.0%

N % Mean 1.54

Yes 355 53.9% Range 1 to 9 inst

No 415 46.1%

N % Mean 2.36 schools

Yes 582 75.7% Range 0 to 21 schools

No 187 24.3%

Mean 2 schools Range 0 to 9 schools To how many of the schools to which you applied were you admitted?

College Choice Among Nontraditional Students: Initial Survey Results

Age

Basics

Levels of Nontraditionality

Did you apply elsewhere when you applied to your current institution?

If you applied elsewhere, to how many other schools did you apply?

Before your current institution, were you enrolled in college?

In how many other institutions were previously enrolled?

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N % Significant Personal Event 88 11.5%

Lost Job 28 3.7% Seeking Better Paying Job 60 7.8% Required for Job 7 0.9% Personal Growth 209 27.3% Always Planned To, Right Time 218 28.4% Change Career Fields 77 10.0% Other (See Text) 80 10.4% Total 767 100.0%

N % N % N %

Significant Personal Event 16 9.5% 43 10.9% 29 14.4%

Lost Job 5 3.0% 16 4.0% 7 3.5%

Seeking Better Paying Job 7 4.1% 32 8.1% 21 10.4%

Required for Job 0 0.0% 4 1.0% 3 1.5%

Personal Growth 43 25.4% 106 26.8% 60 29.7% Always Planned To, Right Time 60 35.5% 112 28.3% 46 22.8% Change Career Fields 13 7.7% 42 10.6% 22 10.9% Other (See Text) 25 14.8% 41 10.3% 14 7.0%

Total 169 100.0% 396 100.0% 202 100.2% Column totals not equaling 100% are due to rounding.

College Choice Among Nontraditional Students: Initial Survey Results

Reasons for Enrolling

Why did you decide to enroll in college at this point in your life?

Reasons for enrolling, as they relate to level of nontraditonality:

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N % Less than 1 month 221 29.6%

1-6 months 266 35.6% 6 months - 1 year 121 16.2% More than 1 year 140 18.7% Total 748 100.1%

N % N % N %

Less than 1 month 40 25.5% 105 27.0% 76 37.6%

1-6 months 51 32.5% 140 36.0% 75 37.1%

6 months - 1 year 31 19.8% 69 17.8% 21 10.4% More than 1 year 35 22.3% 75 19.3% 30 14.9% Total 157 100.1% 389 100.1% 202 100.0% N %* Internet 452 57.5% Word of Mouth 321 40.8% Driving By 126 16.0% Other 148 18.8% N % N % N % Internet 100 55.9% 238 59.4% 114 55.3% Word of Mouth 77 43.0% 158 39.4% 86 41.8% Driving By 35 19.6% 65 16.2% 26 12.6% Other 27 15.1% 76 19.0% 45 21.8%

*This is percentage of that type of nontraditional student that gave this answer, i.e. 55.9% of minimally nontraditional students used the internet to search, compared to 59.4% of moderately nontraditional students.

Minimal Moderate High

Column totals not equaling 100% are due to rounding.

Search methods as they relate to level of nontraditionality:

Minimal Moderate High

*This is percentage of total survey respondents.

How long before you enrolled did you start looking at potential colleges?

How did you go about looking for places to enroll?

College Choice Among Nontraditional Students: Initial Survey Results

Search Process

Column totals not equaling 100% are due to rounding.

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N %* Institution websites 553 70.4%

Phone calls 166 21.1% In-person visit to campus 269 34.2% Organized campus visit day 80 10.2% Conversations with current students 232 29.5% Guidebooks/Websites 142 18.1% Other 57 7.3%

N % N % N %

Institution websites 118 65.9% 286 71.3% 149 72.3% Phone calls 26 14.5% 86 21.5% 56 26.2% In-person visit to campus 71 39.7% 138 34.4% 60 29.1% Organized campus visit day 25 14.0% 45 11.2% 10 4.9% Conversations with current students 50 27.9% 116 28.9% 66 32.0%

Guidebooks/Websites 30 16.8% 84 20.1% 28 13.6%

Other 15 8.4% 25 6.2% 17 8.3%

Minimal Moderate High

*This is percentage of that type of nontraditional student that gave this answer.

Information Gathering

*This is percentage of total survey respondents.

How did you go about gathering information about potential colleges?

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N Mean % Important/Very Important

Quality of faculty 674 4.05 79.7%

Availability of a specific major 672 4.50 90.3% Overall academic reputation 673 3.97 76.8% Quality of academi facilities 674 3.78 68.6% Variety of courses offered 674 3.98 77.8%

Access to faculty 670 4.05 77.2%

Concentration on undergrads 671 3.80 71.1% Prominent intercollegiate athletics 673 1.35 8.3%

Cost to you 672 4.49 89.6%

Athletic programs for you 674 1.18 6.1% Available extracurriculars 675 1.74 13.0% Off campus culture and recreation 672 1.87 14.3% Availability of religious activities 673 1.55 12.0%

Quality of social life 671 1.78 14.6%

Attractiveness of campus 671 2.53 27.4%

Surroundings 671 2.91 38.5%

Where the college is located 669 3.93 71.0%

On-campus housing 670 1.16 9.7%

Availability of child care 671 1.34 14.8%

Size of student body 673 1.85 14.4%

Individual attention 673 3.72 63.2%

Career Services availability 672 3.16 48.8%

Adult student services 671 3.11 50.1%

Services/aid for veterans 674 1.55 22.4%

College Choice Among Nontraditional Students: Initial Survey Results

Important Characteristics

Please indicate how important each of the following characteristics was to you in choosing the college in which you are enrolled. You may also indicate "not applicable."

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N Mean N Mean N Mean

Quality of faculty 133 4.12 348 4.04 193 4.03

Availability of a specific major 132 4.43 346 4.57 194 4.44

Overall academic reputation 132 3.85 347 3.97 194 4.07

Quality of academi facilities 132 3.83 348 3.81 194 3.72

Variety of courses offered 132 3.91 347 3.99 195 4.05

Access to faculty 132 4.06 346 4.09 192 4.01

Concentration on undergrads 130 3.85 347 3.72 194 3.88

Prominent intercollegiate athletics 132 1.64 347 1.33 194 1.17

Cost to you 131 4.39 348 4.49 193 4.56

Athletic programs for you 132 1.58 348 1.10 194 1.05

Available extracurriculars 133 2.40 348 1.69 194 1.36

Off campus culture and recreation 131 2.45 347 1.79 194 1.61 Availability of religious activities 132 2.02 347 1.52 194 1.29

Quality of social life 133 2.41 346 1.72 192 1.46

Attractiveness of campus 131 3.10 347 2.48 193 2.24

Surroundings 132 3.23 346 2.94 193 2.61

Where the college is located 131 3.83 345 4.01 193 3.87

On-campus housing 132 1.85 345 1.07 193 0.85

Availability of child care 131 1.16 346 1.36 194 1.39

Size of student body 132 2.08 347 1.88 194 1.66

Individual attention 132 3.73 347 3.77 194 3.61

Career Services availability 131 3.10 348 3.25 193 3.05

Adult student services 132 2.65 348 3.13 191 3.38

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N Mean % Important/Very Important Parents/Guardians 668 2.26 31.1% Spouse/Significant Other 668 2.32 42.4% Children 669 1.74 30.2% Friends/Coworkers 663 1.96 20.1%

Potential Future Employers 668 2.80 51.1%

Other 416 -- 8.7%

N Mean N Mean N Mean

Parents/Guardians 131 2.85 344 2.16 193 1.92

Spouse/Significant Other 129 1.85 345 2.45 194 2.50

Children 128 0.86 345 1.75 196 2.58

Friends/Coworkers 127 1.96 341 1.91 195 2.05

Potential Future Employers 130 2.49 344 2.83 194 3.00

Other 97 -- 222 -- 97

--College Choice Among Nontraditional Students: Initial Survey Results

Opinions of Others

Students often take into account the opinions of other people when making college choices. Please indicate how important the opinions of the following peole were when making your college choice.

Importance of others' opinions as it relates to level of nontraditionality:

References

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