Demographic Factors Influencing Selection of an Ideal Graduate Institution: A Literature Review with Recommendations for Implementation

Publication Title

College Student Journal

Publication Date


Document Type



Graduate Students, Course Selection (Students), College Choice, Decision Making, Majors (Students), Literature Reviews, Marital Status, Enrollment, Student Recruitment, Context Effect


Education | Higher Education


Choosing a graduate (masters and doctoral) program of study at an ideal institution is probably one of the most important decisions students and their family will make. The graduate college selection involves identifying the most critical academic and non-academic factors, and weighing their importance against the large quantity of choices available. Academics are subdivided into institutional, departmental/program, and faculty factors, while non-academics are subdivided into personal reasons and influence of other people. This study reviews critical academic and non-academic factors influencing the college choice decisions of graduate students. Results of previous research indicate that graduate school selection factors vary according certain demographic variables including age, gender, ethnicity, citizenship, socioeconomic status, marital status, and enrollment status. Recommendations for implementation include involving faculty in the graduate student recruitment process, offering flexible program requirements (multiple academic tracks) to meet students' demands, arranging more campus visits for potential students than the present time, and accommodating international students who often had additional needs.