Determinants of College and University Choice for High-School Students in Qatar
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Drawing on existing research, this paper investigates various predictors of high school students’ college and university choice decisions in Qatar. Based on a 2015 survey of 1,427 participants, this study utilized exploratory factor analysis to identify variables that affect student choice of higher educational institutions (HEI). Three factors were extracted from the analysis, revealing the following aspects of the academic experience as important when choosing a HEI: quality of education, cultural values, and the cost of education. To further the understanding of the relevance of these factors for different student demographics, we employed ordinal logistic regression to test whether several independent variables (student’s gender, nationality, parental education, and parental occupation) act as significant predictors of the three extracted dimensions (dependent variables). The analysis revealed that, indeed, demographic characteristics significantly predict, to varying degrees, all three factors affecting student’s HEI choice. Discussion on postulated reasons behind the recorded relationships will follow, along with implications and recommendations for further study and research. Findings of this study will help HEIs in Qatar and the broader region to position themselves more effectively, and develop targeted strategies that attract a diverse student population.
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