Date of Award

Spring 5-2014

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Communication Studies

First Advisor

Lawrence Hosman

Advisor Department

Communication Studies


Recruiting high ability students to institutions of higher education varies from university to university and is one of the most important variables for the continuing of successful colleges. This study focused on the variables that were most important to the current cohort of high ability freshmen at the University of Southern Mississippi. The aim of this study was to identify attitudinal and normative communicative components that are most effective for recruiting high ability students to the University of Southern Mississippi. By surveying this cohort of students, and using the Theory of Reasoned Action as a tool in creating questions for the surveys, the researcher was able to identify best practices to adapt persuasive messages to ensure that the goal of recruiting high ability students is reached. The sample population of these high quality students was gathered quantitatively according to the Theory of Reasoned Action and prior research that had already been conducted. As a result, the study contributes to the field of communication by identifying major forms of persuasive communication. Further, it provides insight for the Admissions office so that they can adapt their persuasive communication forms for recruiting students of high ability to USM.