Understanding decision making criteria on students' choice of University : the case of the North-West University
Van Zyl, Stephanus Ignatius
MetadataShow full item record
History has proved that institutions of higher education occupy a key role in providing education to the employees in the business sector. Due to various factors causing rapid and vibrant changes, including globalisation and an expansion of various alternatives to tertiary studies in South Africa, the need to identify factors and decision-making influences on prospective students is becoming essential in the acquisition of suitable students for universities. One factor that contributed to the changes in higher education is mergers, such as the merger of the then Bophuthatswana University and the Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, now known as the North-West University consisting of three campuses in two provinces. The tertiary education market is rapidly expanding amidst a more demanding economy. In order to understand the latest attractions and influences on which prospective students base their decisions, it is imperative that universities recognise and address these issues. This study focuses on the North-West University's Mafikeng Campus and the decision-making criteria that influence students to study here. Key factors and influences that were identified as prominent contributors to a prospective student's decision to enrol at the NWU Mafikeng campus were the influence of family and friends, the availability of programmes and accommodation, as well as the academic standard of the university. The research also indicates that the prior knowledge students had about the NWU and the Mafikeng Campus was one of the three main reasons they chose the campus, thus marketing endeavours such as open-days are vital in attracting prospective students. By knowing which factors influence prospective students' university choice and who the main influences on these students are, the NWU Mafikeng Campus could utilise well informed, updated brochures as well as easy to navigate websites to provide on the spot information to prospective students. This study is a first attempt to explore the arena of the NWU Mafikeng Campus scene, particularly from the viewpoint of its primary clients, the students.