Student recruitment and retention in higher education

Literature Review, 2016

9 Pages, Grade: 78%


Annotated Bibliography: Recruitment in Higher Education

This bibliography uses six peer-reviewed journals to examine various strategies adopted by higher education institutions to promote the recruitment and retention of students. It also analyzes both positive and negative factors that may influence such strategies.

Little, Michael W., Dennis O'Toole, and James Wetzel. 1997. "The Price Differential's Impact on Retention, Recruitment, and Quality in a Public University."Journal of Marketing for Higher Education 8 (2): 37-51. DOI: 10.1300/J050v08n02_04. .

This paper explores price differential marketing strategy as a way of attracting students to promote recruitment and retention in higher education institutions. It also makes note of the reasons why such a strategy is not used by institutions, and also how the strategy may prove to be efficient if properly communicated to the public (especially students). The article makes reference to the impact of tuition costs on student admissions and retention as well its relations to quality education. It therefore seeks to explain student recruitment and retention from a business point of view.

The article is useful because it takes into consideration how the perceived future benefits of higher education by students affect their enrolment and retention in these institutions. Meaning, students rely on the advantages and disadvantages of higher education –including salaries, importance and availability of jobs and future status –to determine their interest or willingness to enroll and remain in such institutions irrespective of the cost. The use of the price differential strategy also serves as a way to increase the resource flexibility of the institutions, give a perception of increased quality –business-wise, it refers to a price and quality relationship that promote brand positioning –and improve accountability.[1] On the other hand, in the case where students are not impressed with the future benefits, the high tuition cost becomes another reason affecting recruitment and retention. There is also the problem of implementing such strategies as well as the reluctance of other institutions (competition) to adopt such strategies.

The article makes use of research findings to talk about other factors affecting recruitment and retention of students in higher education aside from this business related strategy. It states that demographic factors, family background and income, student perceptions and expectations, location, and reputation affect student enrolment and attrition levels. Thus, it covers a broad range of factors that affect recruitment and retention although it does not give any further explanations of such factors. The authors also concurred with the need for more research since the study was limited to currently enrolled students and did not include prospective ones.[2]

The authors were able to effectively examine the issue of price differential marketing strategy in respect to student recruitment and retention in higher education, while also acknowledging the fact that it served a beneficial purpose for higher education institutions not just students.

Dumas-Hines, Frances A., Lessie L. Cochran, and Ellen U. Williams. “Promoting diversity: recommendations for recruitment and retention of minorities in higher education”. College Student Journal 35, no.3 (2001): 433+. Academic OneFile (accessed October 12, 2016).|A80744656&v=2.1&u=wind05901&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w

This article provides recommendations on how to recruit and retain students in higher learning institutions to promote diversity through the use of literature reviews and research. It describes a number of both recruitment and retention methods including, the provision of financial incentives (such as scholarships and grants), outreach programs, and university marketing to encourage more student enrolment in postsecondary institutions. The journal also makes mention of academic mentoring, cultural diversity training, and self-esteem image activities. These act as strategies that aid in retention and help prevent self-isolation –one of the causes of low student retention.

The journal is relevant; it states various reasons responsible for low recruitment and retention of students in higher education institutions. It also helps institutions think about ways to promote entry and retention through the use of some of the mentioned activities and methods.

Although the article does state very important points in relation to how to promote diversity in the university through recruitment and retention methods, it however fails to point out that reduced admissions into these institutions are not limited to these problems. This is because other issues such as problems in the student selection process may cause restrictions to student recruitment and retention. It also just mainly talks about academic mentoring as a way to retain students, neglecting other means of encouraging retention. The article makes mention of university marketing as a way of recruitment but does not explain what it entails.

All things considered, the article is important and does state valid points in regard to higher education recruitments and retention strategies and their effects.

Wang, A., Espinosa C., Long C., and Patel A. (2005). Team leaders and the honors freshman-year experience (1) . Honors in Practice 1, 129+.|A165362539&v=2.1&u=wind05901&it=r&p=AONE&sw=w&authCount=1#

This article explains the need for both academic and social integration in preventing student attrition. It relies on statistical data that suggests that student attrition is more profound in the first year (freshman year) in order to establish a strategy to improve on student retention in higher education. The authors also make mention of how student isolation and social alienation account for less student engagement in both academic and campus activities. In regards to a workable solution, they introduce a program known as the Team Leader program –this includes the selection of students to serve as mentors, guides, role models, and resources to incoming students.

The journal is significant because it states the fact that in order to successful transition from high school to a higher education institution there is the need for both social and academic integration of the student. This promotes student persistence, hence lowering attrition levels. In doing this, it talks about a team leader program that uses current students of good academic standing to help new students. The article also shows the importance of experience in mentoring, as students chosen for the role have also been in a similar situation –had mentors. This makes it easier for them to connect and interact efficiently with new students. In addition, the authors also mention how the team leaders (mentors) are trained to make them ready for their roles. This is a very important point because it points to the fact that the mentors are also learners and that in order for them to do a good job, they need to be trained and know what their roles and responsibilities are.

A notable strength in the article is that team leaders are not just involved with helping new students academically, but they also aid in the social aspects of the students lives. For instance, team leaders plan and organize social activities, symposiums, and go on field trips with their team members. These activities not only help in building students’ skills but also encourage the development of social relationships between the leader and the students, as well as the members of the team. This social relationship helps to bond students together, making both social and academic integration easier. Not only is it important to develop a good relationship among students, there is a need for a good and healthy relationship between students and professors –which is one of the purposes of the team leader program (the facilitating of a good relationship between students and professors). As such, the team leaders play a vital role in every aspect of a new student’s university life, while also honing their leadership skills.

Even with these advantages, the article only places emphasis on how fellow students can contribute to the development and retention of new students. It fails to elaborate on the role of faculty staff, especially professors to the growth and retention of students. I make reference to this because, in order to make students feel welcome and hence encourage retention, the role of higher education institution staff is also very important. For instance, even the team leaders who apply for the positions would not do so or may even have dropped out if they did not feel supported or have confidence in their professors.

This article does serve its purpose in its analysis of how to enhance the first year experiences of new students through the use of fellow students as mentors and guides, in order to reduce dropout rates and retain students. It also considers the benefits such an opportunity gives the team leaders –fulfillment, leadership skills, and experience –and not just freshman students.


[1] Little, Michael W., Dennis O'Toole, and James Wetzel. 1997. "The Price Differential's Impact on Retention, Recruitment, and Quality in a Public University."Journal of Marketing for Higher Education 8 (2): p40-41.

[2] Little, O'Toole, and Wetzel, Journal of Marketing for Higher Education 8 (2): p50.

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Student recruitment and retention in higher education
University of Windsor
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Mary Fiagbe (Author), 2016, Student recruitment and retention in higher education, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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