Tag Archives: college choice

Katrin's Study of Mental Models accepted at the Academy of Marketing

Katrin Obermeit’s Paper Digging Deeper: Exploring Mental Models of University Choice has been accepted to be presented at the 2014 Annual Conference of the Academy of Marketing in Bournemouth (UK).

Read the abstract:

Market segmentation is an important topic for higher education marketing managers and researchers. Segmenting the student population for recruitment purposes requires a comprehensive understanding of how students choose their preferred institution. Previous research merely focused on cognitive rational or, rarely, emotional choice factors used by students segmented according to socio-demographic criteria.

However, these criteria do not comprise information about the sense making process of prospective students. The aim of this paper is to suggest an alternative segmentation approach based on mental models. By employing the Zaltman Metaphor Elicitation Technique in interviews with 27 first-year bachelor students in Germany, we identified four ideal types of decision-makers with their respective mental models: the relational, the idler, the adventurer, and the utilitarian.

By means of these models we gain a profound understanding on how relevant rational and emotional issues are engaged in sense making of marketing signals when choosing a university. Moreover, contradictory results of previous research can be explained. On this basis, university marketers are provided with relevant insights to develop sophisticated strategies in order to identify and address the most promising target groups for their universities.

Students’ choice of universities in Germany: structure, factors and information sources used

The review “Students’ choice of universities in Germany: structure, factors and information sources used” has been presented by Katrin Obermeit at the 7th International Conference on Higher Education Marketing in Nicosia, Cyprus. A result of the conference was that not only in Germany the research on Higher Education Marketing is still in its infancy and that cross-national research cooperations should be strengthened. You find the abstract of the paper here:

Student recruitment is an increasingly important topic for universities worldwide. But in order to develop sophisticated recruitment strategies, recruitment officers need to have a clear understanding of how and why students choose colleges. This review compares the German and US research concerning university choice models, choice criteria and information sources prospective students use when exploring their options after school. The paper emphasizes the complexity of the decision-making processes of freshmen and reveals three gaps in the German student recruitment research literature. The development of a German university choice model, an increased application of explorative research methodologies, and the consideration of additional aspects possibly impacting the college choice could help to refine German research approaches.