An analysis of academic reputation and educational quality as perceived by consumers of higher education

Date of Completion

January 1997


Business Administration, Marketing|Education, Higher




High school seniors go through a decision making process when selecting a college they will attend, just as consumers go through a decision making process when deciding whether or not to purchase a product. A college or university's academic reputation (AR) has been found to play a significant role in influencing this choice.^ This study addressed the following research questions: (1) What are the precise attributes comprising the perception of AR? (2) to what extent and in what manner can the perception of quality predict the perception of AR? (3) To what extent and in what manner can the perception of admission standards predict the perception of AR? (4) Is there is a significant relationship between AR and desirability to attend a particular college?^ Questionnaire returns from 198 randomly selected college-bound high school seniors were used in the data analysis.^ A principle components factor analysis used to address research question 1 results in three factors being extracted that describe the perception of AR (i.e., Academic Concerns, Campus Ethos, Practical Value). In a similar analysis three factors were extracted and found likely to be associated with very good AR (i.e., Curricular Concerns, Exclusivity, Career Preparation). The results suggest that a majority of respondents view successful post graduate careers as very important to the perception of AR and very likely to be attributed to a college with very good AR.^ Stepwise multiple regression procedures used to address research questions 2 and 3 respectively, indicated that quality variables (i.e., curriculum, social/cultural activities) as well as admission standard variables (i.e., high school G.P.A., SAT score, high school class rank (%)) predict the perception of AR.^ The Pearson product-moment correlation used to address research question 4 indicated small to moderate significant correlation between perceived AR and the desire to attend a particular college. ^