This Is AuburnElectronic Theses and Dissertations

An Examination of the College Choice of Students of Color in the Deep South




Holladay, Jordan

Type of Degree

PhD Dissertation


Education Foundation, Leadership, and Technology


There is existing literature on college choice factors, as well as college choice factors specifically for students of color. However, limited literature exists on the college choice of students of color in the Deep South, an area historically plagued by racial tension and presently seeing an increase in racial diversity (Bankston, 2007; Adelman & Tsao, 2016). Framed through standpoint theory (Harding, 1992) and existing models of college choice (Cabrera & La Nasa, 2001; Chapman, 1981; Hossler & Gallagher, 1987), this study sought to understand why students of color choose to attend colleges and universities in the Deep South through the standpoint of the student. This study examined what factors affect the college choice of students of color attending institutions in the Deep South based on gender, race, and institution type (HBCU vs. PWI) by analyzing data from the 2014 version of The Freshman Survey. Descriptive statistics and multivariate analyses of data were conducted, and the results indicated that, in general, the academic reputation of an institution, the jobs graduates receive, and the college’s reputation for social activities were the top factors affecting the college choice of students of color choosing to attend institutions in the Deep South. Recognizing it is problematic to aid admissions professionals in recruiting students of color to institutions that may not be built to support them, this study provides admissions professionals with recommendations on how to recruit and retain students of color at their institutions.