Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Susan Epps

Committee Members

Michael Hoff, William Kirkwood, Hal Knight


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore what influences Gen Z student college choice. Research on college choice has provided insight into whether or not a student will attend college; however, limited research exists on what impacts Gen Z students’ college choice and how marketing and communication influence what college a student will choose. College recruitment has always been challenging, given the high competition between colleges and universities. With the decrease in enrollment over the last decade and the unexpected impact of COVID-19, that challenge continues to grow. Enrollment and marketing administrators have difficulty expanding and diversifying their marketing, communication, and digital engagement practices to influence this generation of college-going students. This research involved interviews with 27 first-semester first-year students at a regional university in the southeast. Participants described their experiences with the college search process, including contact from higher education institutions. Overall, this study provides a more comprehensive understanding of Generation Z’s college choice influences.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.