Date of Award

Fall 12-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Studies and Research

Committee Chair

Thelma J. Roberson

Committee Chair Department

Educational Leadership and School Counseling

Committee Member 2

Lilian H. Hill

Committee Member 2 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 3

Thomas V. O'Brien

Committee Member 3 Department

Educational Studies and Research

Committee Member 4

J.T. Johnson

Committee Member 4 Department

Educational Studies and Research


Studies have been conducted about high academic ability students in postsecondary institutions, but rarely has research explored the college choice factors involving high academic ability students who chose to attend a community college. The purpose of this study was to determine the factors related to why high academic ability students chose to attend Mississippi public community colleges. The study also examined the differences in perception of college choice factors among students according to the variables of age, gender, race, full-time or part-time enrollment status, attendance for first-generation students to college, if one or both parents or legal guardians attended the respective community college, if a sibling attended the respective community college, and if the student was a commuter or on-campus resident.

The participants were freshmen students who had scored 26 and above on the ACT composite score and who were enrolled in Mississippi public community colleges during the spring semesters of 2003 or 2011. There were 240 participants in 2003 and 247 participants in 2011.

The study found that females considered academic preparation, entrance requirements, availability of specific programs of study, and contact with college representatives more highly than males; first-generation students considered community in which the college was located as more important; and on-campus students rated the following variables higher than commuters: varsity sports opportunities, racial/ethnic makeup, type of housing, extracurricular activities, social climate and activities, and male/female ratio.