Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


Leadership PhD

First Advisor

Loretta B. Johns

Second Advisor

Jimmy Kijai

Third Advisor

Douglas A. Jones


Purpose. Approximately 75% of Seventh-day Adventist college-bound youth do not attend the church's 15 colleges in North America. This study explored the views of Adventist college-bound participants regarding the factors (motivators and barriers) that influence college choice.

Method. Utilizing a mixed methods approach, qualitative and quantitative data were collected in a sequential two-phase design. Insights from focus groups conducted in Los Angeles and Nashville guided the development of a nationwide telephone survey of college-bound Adventists. Three groups sorted by type of high school were identified from a sample size of 226 and compared in terms of awareness and college-choice motivators and barriers using chi-square, standard residuals, and perceptual maps.

Results. Students not attending Adventist academies lack awareness of Adventist colleges, report little to no recruiting contact, and report academic program and closeness to home as important motivators for college choice. A spiritual environment is an important motivator for students headed toward Adventist colleges, irrespective of type of high school. Barriers include lack of knowledge and cost. Churches and pastors are identified as best sources of information for the Adventist public high-school student. Three key marketing messages influenced all groups.

Conclusions. For the future stability of the Adventist higher education system and to increase the likelihood of enrollment, it is important to raise awareness levels among Adventist youth not attending Adventist academies. The Seventh-day Adventist Church should partner with the colleges to increase contacts and awareness to this group using the motivators and key messages identified. A strategic marketing plan should be developed that includes, at minimum, (a) a branded, coordinated systems approach to promoting the 15 colleges, (b) the colleges actively recruiting at the local church level, (c) an e-mail, mail, web, and call campaign directed toward non-academy students, and (d) the development of resources and information for churches and pastors.

Subject Area

Seventh-day Adventist universities and colleges--Marketing, Universities and colleges--Marketing, College students--Recruiting, College choice.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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