RECRUITING OLDER STUDENTS TO BACCALAUREATE
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
THOMAS W. FAUQUET
A DISSERTATION PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE
REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY
UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
Thomas W. Fauquet
I dedicate this study to my soulmate and wife, Amy, who self-
lessly rearranged her life for me so that this could be completed.
I also wish to thank Dr. Paul Fitzgerald who allowed me to accomplish
what I needed to accomplish and remained confident that I could,
Dr. Harold Riker who came up with good ideas when I needed them,
Dr. James Wattenbarger who provided me with an overview of higher
education, and Dr. James Pitts who encouraged me and treated me as a
I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to Ms. Barbara
Smerage, who made a long distance doctorate possible.
I would also like to thank my parents from whom I received my
commitment to education.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS . . . . . . . . . . . . .
ABSTRACT . . . . . . . . ... . . . . . vi
ONE INTRODUCTION . . . . . . . . ... . 1
Statement of the Problem. . . . . . . 2
Purpose . . . . . . . . ... . 3
Research Questions. .............. 4
Rationale and Theoretical Framework . . . 5
The Importance of This Study. . . . . . 9
Boundaries of This Study. . . . . . ... 10
Definitions . . . . . . . . ... 11
Organization of the Following Chapters. .... . 12
TWO A REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE. . . . ... 13
Enrollment Trends . . . . . ...... 13
The Role and Function of the Admissions Officer 18
Recruiting Older Students . . . . .... .21
Marketing in Higher Education . . . ... 26
The Delphi Technique. . . . . . . .. 40
Summary and Rationale for Study . . . ... 47
THREE RESEARCH PROCEDURES . . . . . . .... .49
Research Methodology--The Delphi Technique. . 49
Research Design . . . . . . .. 50
Research Questions. . . . . . . ... 50
Population. ................. . 51
Selection of Subjects and Sampling Procedures 51
Questionnaire Distribution Procedures . . .. 52
Data Collection and Recording . . . ... 53
Data Analysis and Statistics. . . . . ... 54
Methodological Assumptions and Limitations. 55
FOUR FINDINGS. . . . . . . . ... ..... 56
Discussion. ................. . 56
Question One Responses. . . . . . ... 58
Question Two Responses. . . . . . ... 83
Differences Between Large and Small
Institutions . . . . . .
Summary . . . . . . . .
SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS, AND RECOMMENDATIONS .
Summary . . . . . . . .
Conclusions . . . . . . .
Recommendations . . . . . .
A ROUND ONE MAILOUT .
B ROUND TWO MAILOUT .
C ROUND THREE MAILOUT
BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . .
BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
. . . . . .
Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy
RECRUITING OLDER STUDENTS TO BACCALAUREATE
COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES
Thomas W. Fauquet
Chairman: Paul W. Fitzgerald
Major Department: Counselor Education
The purpose of this study was to identify techniques and strate-
gies which are considered by admissions directors to be most effective
in recruiting older students to baccalaureate colleges and universities
over the next decade and to identify the skills and competencies which
will aid admissions officers in implementing these techniques. A sec-
ondary purpose was to determine if there is any difference in how
admissions directors from large and small colleges view recruitment
of older students.
The participants in this study, Directors of Admissions at 43
large and 33 small colleges, were sent a three iteration Delphi survey.
They were asked to list, rate, and measure techniques and strategies
needed to recruit older students in the next decade and to list skills
and competencies needed by admissions personnel to recruit older
students in the next decade.
The results of the Delphi survey produced a list of 139 undupli-
cated suggestions for recruiting older students and 75 unduplicated
suggestions for admissions skills and competencies and found statis-
tical significance between large and small school responses in 13
From these results the following conclusions and recommendations
1. Directors of Admissions have an extensive knowledge of ways
to serve older students' needs and have a willingness to do so.
2. Directors of Admissions would like to have marketing
expertise in their admissions staff.
3. Large and small institution Directors of Admissions have
similar views of the recruitment of older students and the skills,
knowledge, experience, and personal characteristics needed in
individuals to recruit older students.
4. Directors of Admissions have knowledge and understanding of
marketing practices as a group but few have systematically applied
marketing theory to the recruitment of older students.
5. Directors of Admissions should be involved in campus
planning for older students.
6. Pre-service and in-service training of admissions personnel
should include marketing theory and practice.
A crisis is threatening institutions of higher education in the
United States, a crisis of reduced enrollments and changing populations
(Tucker, 1977, p. 4). A number of colleges have closed their doors
because they were unable to attract enough students to pay the bills
(Magarrell, 1980a, p.1). Other colleges are going through massive
curriculum and public relations facelifts in order to survive
(Anderson & Andreas, 1977, p. 8). Institutional change, which was
spurred by student protest in the sixties and seventies and by philo-
sophical shifts in the fifties and before, is now a matter of institu-
tional survival (Ihlanfeldt, 1980, p. 3).
Student personnel workers have often categorized themselves as
change agents, but they have often seen their role as helping students
grow rather than helping institutions grow. However, with institutions
straining to respond to their changing markets, student personnel
workers who are responsible for attracting and retaining new students
can be one focal point for institutional change (Ihlanfeldt, 1980,
During the 1960's and 1970's, the traditional college age
population of 18 to 24 year olds increased to a peak of over 29 mil-
lion in 1980. However, by 1990 it is estimated that this age group
will diminish to about 25 million. If current percentages of
enrollment by this age group continue, nearly 800,000 fewer students
will be in higher education (Magarrell, 1980a, p. 1). The result could
be the closing of as many as 200 small colleges which rely heavily on
this traditional age group (Magarrell, 1980b, p. 1). This could also
mean the closing of departments within otherwise unaffected colleges
On the positive side of the ledger is the potential market of
"nontraditional students" which has increased in total number enrolled
and percentage enrolled in the last decade. By "nontraditional students"
we mean students at least 25 years old, minority students, or lower
income students. This term refers to the groups of people previously
underserved by higher education. As Carol Frances (1980) notes throughout
College Enrollment Trends: Testing the Conventional Wisdom Against
the Facts, the percentage of participation of these groups is likely
to continue to increase in the next decade, with the most dramatic
increases seen in the 25 and over group. The institutions which will
survive these shifts in enrollment and population will be those insti-
tutions which are able to shift their programs and recruitment strate-
gies to meet the expectations and needs of these "nontraditional
Statement of the Problem
Recruitment strategies that entice 18 to 24 year olds often do
not interest older students. For example, the practice of contacting
high school counselors and sending direct mailing to graduating seniors
will not reach older students. However, the problem goes deeper than
merely mistargeting publicity. Potential students are looking at col-
leges and universities in terms of what short- and long-range benefits
can be gained by spending a number of years and a lot of money pursuing
a particular degree. To attract older students, colleges must be able
to prove that these desired benefits will be forthcoming.
If college recruiters misrepresent the potential benefits of
a particular course of study, the institution will see higher dropout
and transfer rates and disinterested alumni (Pape, 1974; Barton, 1978).
If recruiters do not spend sufficient time and effort making their
potential markets aware of their programs and potential benefits,
then enrollments may decline in an increasingly competitive market.
If a school offers programs which are not in line with its potential
students' goals, then its curriculum should be examined. Examining
student needs and wants in terms of institutional goals and objectives
is a process common to business and industry--marketing.
The purpose of this study is to identify techniques and strate-
gies by using a Delphi technique which are considered by admissions
officers to be most effective in recruiting older students to bac-
calaureate undergraduate colleges and universities over the next
decade and to identify the skills and competencies which will aid the
admissions officer in implementing these techniques.
Specifically, the following research questions addressed
1. What specific methods and activities should be developed
and implemented during the next decade to attract older
students to baccalaureate programs in colleges and
2. What skills and competencies will admissions officers
need to recruit older students during the next decade?
3. Are there significant differences in the ratings of
the above two lists by larger and smaller institutions?
A number of assumptions are inherent in these research questions.
Rationale for these assumptions will be presented in the review of the
literature in Chapter Two.
1. Marketing concepts as delineated by Kotler (1975) provide a
useful theoretical framework for analyzing college recruitment.
2. Recruitment is most commonly a function of the admissions
office but is not limited to admissions personnel.
3. Current directors of admissions have the experience
necessary to identify future practices and skills needed for recruit-
ment of older students.
4. A "future" study will produce a more timely estimate of
what is needed in the recruitment of older students than in a histori-
5. The Delphi technique is the best method to use to forecast
the methods, skills, and competencies mentioned above.
Rationale and Theoretical Framework
The term "marketing" is one which has been avoided until re-
cently by university administrators (Litten, 1980; Lucas, 1979). They
view the term with suspicion, equating it with "hucksterism" and "high
pressure sales" (Ihlanfeldt, 1980; Shipp, 1981). However, marketing
is exactly what admissions officers have traditionally done in concert
with all other administrators before students ever arrive on campus
Marketing is the analysis, planning, implementation,
and control of carefully formulated programs designed
to bring about voluntary exchange of values (items of
value) with target markets for the purpose of achiev-
ing organizational objectives. It relies heavily on
designing the organization's offering in terms of the
target markets' needs and desires, and on using effec-
tive pricing, communication and distribution to in-
form, motivate, and service the markets. (Kotler,
1975, p. 5)
The university admissions officers attempt to attract highly
qualified students to spend money and time at their institutions in
exchange for a quality education (Ihlanfeldt, 1980, p. 13). Obviously,
the precise target group will vary from institution to institution.
In this study we will examine how to attract students at least 25
years old. But it must be emphasized that the marketing of a uni-
versity is a larger, more comprehensive effort than simply attracting
students. The efforts of the public information officer, the develop-
ment officer, and the college deans are all part of the marketing
effort (Ihlanfeldt, 1980, pp. 62-65).
"The societal marketing concept is a consumer needs orientation
backed by integrated marketing aimed at generating consumer satisfaction
and long-run consumer welfare as the key to satisfying organizational
goals" (Kotler, 1975, p. 47).
Societal marketing for universities is an attempt to satisfy
institutional goals by providing services necessary to generate student
satisfaction and long-run alumni welfare. Marketing is designed to
aid institutions in two ways:
1. By improving the level of satisfaction of students
and alumni with the services and quality of education
2. By improving the efficiency of marketing activities.
"A marketing orientation is . an attitude on the part of
the administrators and employees that their job is to understand their
clients' needs and to satisfy them" (Kotler, 1975, p. 10).
This new marketing orientation in universities has forced some
to examine whether they were satisfying students' needs and providing
for long-term satisfaction (Ihlanfeldt, 1980, pp. 14-15). Liberal
arts education has been brought under close scrutiny because a BA in
liberal arts was not considered a very useful credential by graduates
in seeking jobs (Harris, 1973). Professional schools have been at-
tacked because the skills their graduates took to the marketplace were
Why should university administrators adopt a marketing attitude?
Marketing is a systematic assessment of the needs and wants of specific
segments of the public which the institution wishes to serve. These
assessments can lead to systematic revisions in curriculum, auxiliary
services, locations, times and costs of offerings, and methods of
publicizing available services.
In fact, marketing principles may be of greater
value than financial principles in solving educa-
tional problems. In the business sector, the job
of the marketing function is to help the organi-
zation focus on the needs and wants of current
and potential customers. (Fram, 1973, p. 57).
But marketing is more than mere institutional presen-
tation and the generation of information. It is
also the development and delivery of educational and
auxiliary services for which there is a desire or
need or, preferably, both, at a price and under
financing arrangements that permit the intended
beneficiaries to take advantage of the services.
(Litton, 1980, p. 43)
Marketing not only supplies the public with information but,
also, performs the following functions:
1. Analyzing the group you wish to attract.
2. Designing services in response to the marketing research
3. Delivering services in ways and prices that are at-
tractive to the target group.
4. Presenting this information in a manner which is most
The 60's and 70's have forced change on the universities, but
what will the forces of the 80's bring to bear upon then? Higher
education is entering an era of educational and institutional "future
shock." Some institutions will cease to exist in ten years (Magarrell,
1980a, p.1). Others will be greatly altered. Still others will
remain essentially the same. However, Toffler notes that
. the faster the rate of change, the more atten-
tion must be devoted to discerning the pattern of
future events. . To create a super-industrialized
education, therefore, we shall first need to generate
successive, alternative images of the future .
It is only by generating such assumptions, defining,
debating, systematizing and continually updating
them, that we can deduce the nature of the cognitive
and affective skills that the people of tomorrow
will need to survive the accelerative thrust.
(Toffler, 1970, p. 403)
With a rapid rate of change, universities must anticipate future
trends to maintain their vitality. Administrators cannot assume
traditional practices will work. Thus techniques of extrapolating
future situations, such as the Delphi technique, are valuable in
guiding institutional policy (Judd, 1972).
The Delphi technique was developed by Helmer and associates at
the RAND Corporation in the early 1950's. Its primary purpose is to
forecast future events by repeatedly polling a panel of experts as to
what they consider to be likely future occurrences. "The Delphi tech-
nique is useful to identify goals and objectives, array possible al-
ternatives, make future projections/forecasts, establish priorities,
reveal group values, gather information, (and) educate a respondent
group" (Moore, 1977, p. 4). However, one must keep in mind a number
of assumptions inherent in this technique.
1. Group judgments are superior to individual ones.
2. Anonymity brings greater rationality to the
3. Group pressure tends to consolidate group opinion.
(Skutsch & Hall, 1973, pp. 5-6).
It also tends to diffuse the responsibility for the ultimate
outcome, so that no one person has to accept total blame for a
seemingly radical conclusion.
The Delphi technique summarizes and accumulates the opinions of
a large number of experts, then proceeds to force them to rank these
opinions into what they feel collectively will be most likely to occur.
Obviously, the predictive power of this technique is only as good as
the judgement and experience of the experts. Nonetheless, the collec-
tive judgement of a group of experts can bring to light more facets of
the problem, more years of experience, and more possible solutions
than a single individual. Thus, this group of experts can, with a
higher probability, predict future situations, particularly in complex
situations requiring a wide array of answers. Since it is not practical
to gather a large group of experts physically together, combining them
by using the Delphi technique provides a viable answer.
One of the most appropriate uses of the Delphi technique is as
a planning tool to establish priorities of group members. In this
study, admissions officers will be asked to list and prioritize those
techniques which will be used to attract older students and the skills
and competencies needed by new members of their profession.
The Importance of This Study
This study of university marketing will have two primary foci:
1. Future recruiting practices aimed at attracting older
2. The skills and competencies needed by admissions officers
in accomplishing number 1.
Each focus has different possible impacts. The results of the Delphi
technique requesting information on recruiting practices will bring to
light the direction admissions officers should take to save their
universities from declining traditional age enrollment. Older students
could very well be the one client group which will increase in both
percentage and actual numbers of college enrollment in the next ten
years. The universities that anticipate this demographic shift may be
able to see actual increases in their enrollments while others that
remain indifferent or hostile to older students may see declines. The
marketing process involves not only "selling" an institution but also
designing programs and services which meet the needs of groups to which
the admissions officers must appeal. Thus, the very practice of mar-
keting a university to older students will lead to institutional renewal.
The second Delphi process will provide information concerning the
competencies and skills admissions personnel need to fulfill the
mission of increasing enrollments by older students. The results will
be of great interest to professors of counselor education or pro-
fessors of student personnel who are involved in training future ad-
missions officers. This study could very likely lead to curriculum
revision and changes in required courses in some programs.
Boundaries of This Study
The sample will be limited to chief admissions officers at
randomly selected four-year universities and colleges. All questions
and rounds of questions will refer to the recruitment of older students.
For the purpose of this study, "older student" is defined as an under-
graduate at least 25 years old. Questions will not refer to race,
gender, or any other demographic characteristic of students.
Admissions officer--"The Director of Admissions is the chief adminis-
trative officer in charge of admitting students to an institu-
tion" (Quann, 1979, p. 14).
Baccalaureate colleges and universities--Institutions of higher
education which offer the baccalaureate degree.
Delphi technique--"The Delphi Technique is a method for the systematic
solicitation and collation of judgements on a particular topic
through a set of carefully designed sequential questionnaires
interspersed with summarized information and feedback of
opinions derived from earlier responses" (Delbecq, Van de Ven, &
Gustafson, 1975, p. 10).
Marketing concept--"The marketing concept is a consumers' need orienta-
tion backed by integrated marketing aimed at generating consumer
satisfaction as the key to satisfying organizational goals"
(Kotler, 1975, p. 46).
Marketing--"Marketing is the performance of business activities which
direct the flow of goods and services from the producers to
consumer or user in order to satisfy consumers and accomplish
the company's objectives" (McCarthy, 1975, p. 19).
Older students--Students in undergraduate higher education who are at
least 25 years old.
Organization of the Following Chapters
Chapter Two is a review of the literature which focuses on the
1. Enrollment trends
2. The role and function of the admissions officer
3. Recruiting older students
4. rlarketing in higher education
5. Delphi technique.
Chapter Three describes the methods and procedures used in
Chapter Four is a presentation of the survey findings.
Chapter Five contains the summary, conclusions and recommenda-
Following Chapter Five is a bibliography and a number of
appendices which contain the formats used in the three rounds of the
A REVIEW OF THE RELATED LITERATURE
The importance of examining the shifts in population and the
shifts in enrollment in colleges and universities cannot be over-
emphasized. Perhaps as many as 200 colleges and universities could be
forced to close in the next ten years (Magarrell, 1980a,June 9, p. 1).
Shifts in population and shifts in enrollment statistics had best be
recognized by admissions officers in order to counteract these changes
by effective recruitment and admissions of heretofore underserved
groups in higher education (Hodgkinson, 1976, p. 7). As a basis for
the need of this investigation of recruitment practices for admissions
officers, this chapter reviews the pertinent literature that reveals
the nature and severity of these trends. In addition, other sections
deal with the general topics of recruitment and admissions in higher
education, marketing for nonprofit organizations, and the Delphi
technique which is used to examine this problem.
Over the last decade, enrollment trends have been closely
watched by the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, the Carnegie
Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education, and the American
Council on Education. The enrollment predictions and recommendations
of all these study groups have been fairly consistent in their predic-
tions: (1) the decline of the 18 to 24 year old cohort; (2) steady
rates of participation in higher education; and (3) a net decrease in
the real number of students of this age enrolled in U.S. colleges
and universities in the next two decades.
The Carnegie Commission on Higher Education in New Students and
New Places (1971, p. 1) reported that over the last century
student enrollments have doubled every 14 to 15 years. However, over
the remaining decades after the study there would be the following
1970-1980 59, increase
1980-1990 1% decrease
1990-2000 30% increase
This would produce 13,500,000 students in 1980, 13,300,000 students
in 1990, and 17,400,000 students by the year 2000. However, if the
recommendations of the Carnegie Commission outlined in this report
were put into practice, then the 1970 to 1980 percent increase would
only be 472:;, producing 12,500,000 students in 1980, 12,300,000 students
in 1990, and 16,000,000 students in 2000 (p. 4). For whatever rea-
sons, the latter predictions have held true to date (Ilagarrell,
1981a, p. 1).
One of the major reasons for this slowdown in enrollment in-
creases is the decline in the rate of increase of 18 to 24 year olds
(CCHE, 1971, p. 11). However, part of this slowdown is offset by
the projected increase in the participation rates of this age group:
2000 41% (p. 14)
What in effect this does is to level off the actual number of
enrollees 18 to 24 years old by the end of the century. This will
encourage institutions to increase their programs for adults, those
over age 24, to continue even a relatively steady growth cycle (CCHE,
1971, p. 50). Quite probably some institutions will be able to shift
their emphasis to the adult student and others will not. Those that
do not could fail. Thus the idea of recruiting older students will be
a matter of necessity forced on institutions because of the rapid
shifts in the traditional college age cohort.
Peterson (1972), reporting on enrollment trends in 1971, found
that though the total undergraduate enrollment was up by 2.5% from
1970 to 1971, the first time freshman enrollment had dropped by 1.7%
and part time undergraduates had risen by 4.2%. We can easily assume
from this that students older than the average age constituted
the cause of enrollment increases as early as a decade ago.
The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (1975,
p. 45) projected that enrollments will level off in 1982, 18-21 year
old headcounts will decline during the eighties, and the number of
students over the age of 21 will increase steadily throughout the
remainder of the century. Their reservations include uncertainties
in social and economic policy which could affect enrollments. These
include rates of unemployment, the volunteer army, price and wage
stability, lifestyle changes, and veterans benefits to name a few.
As Carol Frances (1980) points out in College Enrollment Trends,
much of the conventional wisdom about the enrollment trends is wrong.
She contends that much of the horror of decreasing enrollments is
aimed at the decrease in the relative percentage of normal age white
males attending college, though the decrease is more than offset by
increases in actual numbers of women, blacks, and older students.
The total head count enrollment in colleges is only 62.1' students 18
to 24 years old. The remainder are older students. As Frances points
out with statistics from the U.S. Bureau of Census, the 18 to 24 year
old population is projected to peak in 1981 and decline for at least
13 years and perhaps longer. In addition the percent of the 18 to
24 year old population that is enrolled in college is decreasing. Thus
the net result is the reduction in the absolute numbers of 18 to 24
year olds enrolled in college. Frances further predicts that though
there will likely be a decrease in college enrollment of 18 to 24
year olds of approximately 1.1 million, this will be more than offset
by increases in both number of people over 25 and increases in per-
centage of those over 25 attending college. These two factors alone
will increase enrollments nearly 1.5 million.
The Carnegie Council on Policy Studies in Higher Education
(1980) predicts a 19' decline in undergraduate enrollments by 1997
due to declines in the 18 to 24 year old cohort (p. 37). However,
about half of this decline will be offset by enrollments of those 25
years old and older. They are, therefore, predicting a total decline
of undergraduate enrollments between 1978 and 1997 of between 5. a'nd
15% or back to the enrollment levels of the early 1970's (p. 46).
These would be much larger if it were not for the moderate rates of
increase projected by them for adult students (p. 168).
One of the effects of the decreasing rate of 18 to 24 year
olds in college is the increase in the number of colleges that must
close their doors. Magarrell (1980a) reports that in the 1960's, 77
institutions closed, whereas in the 1970's, 177 institutions closed.
Most of these were small, private, four-year, liberal arts schools.
The National Center for Educational Statistics predicts that if de-
creases in enrollment continue, more than 200 institutions will close
during the 1980's.
One of the social policies advocated by the Reagan administra-
tion is the reduction in student financial aid (Higher Education Daily,
Dec. 16, 1981). Though final budget figures have not cleared the
Congress, the National Association of Financial Aid Administrators
(Hook, 1981) warns that as many as 750,000 students could be forced out
of colleges and universities. The hardest hit will be independent
four-year colleges and universities.
The U.S. Census Bureau (Magarrell, May 4, 1981), in analyzing
enrollment trends of older students, found that if current trends con-
tinue, by 1990 the total number of older students in higher education
will increase by 939,000 while the total number of students under the
age of 25 will decrease by 803,000, resulting in a net increase of
136,000 or, if the rate of increase in older student attendance holds,
it will totally counterbalance any decreases in the under 25 year old
Thus, generally there will be a steady level of enrollment
over the next 10 to 20 years. However, there will be a decline in
18-24 year old undergraduates and an increase in older undergraduates.
If colleges and universities are not responsive to these trends, many
of them will be forced to close.
The Role and Function of the Admissions Officer
"The Director of Admissions is the chief administrative officer
in charge of admitting students to an institution" (Quann, 1979,
p. 14). As such, he/she is in charge of the recruiting function of
the institution, to provide sufficient numbers of individuals to fill
whatever quotas and goals the institution may have.
As Quann further describes, this recruitment function involves
many techniques such as visits to high schools and two-year colleges,
visits to campus by prospective students, parents and counselors, con-
tacts with business and industry to attract older students, direct
mailings, college nights/days, and a wide variety of publications
(Quann, 1979). The classical admissions process of the 1960's and
1970's is best described by Thresher (1966) as a selection process by
both student and college for the good of the individual and the
society at large. What Thresher is describing is the result of a
large increase in the number of applications during the 1960's and
subsequently through the 1970's. However, as was noted earlier, en-
rollment declines will force admissions officers to become more active
in their recruiting methods. "Currently, the admissions office which
encompasses the technical skills that the 1980's will require is
rare" (Ihlanfeldt, 1930, p. 12). Ihlanfeldt (1980) further argues
that the admissions officer will need to have the skills of a marketing
expert. For him the admissions marketing strategy includes
1. Designing and conducting marketing research by under-
standing the factors affecting college choice and
gathering data on current, entering and potential
2. Planning the marketing effort by organizing for
planning, identifying and segmenting markets, and
pricing educational programs;
3. Implementing market strategies by improving communi-
cations and promotion and developing program and insti-
Anderson and Andreas (1977) reinforce this point of view of
the admissions officer as the prime agent in recruitment and market-
The admissions office is usually charged with student
recruitment. As such, it represents the school's image
and front door to prospective students and is often
their only contact with the institution before arriving
on campus. Since the best way to alleviate financial
problems is to increase enrollment without diminishing
student quality, recruitment/admissions is awesomely
important . with today's shortage of candidates,
which is getting more acute, old methods of recruiting
are not as productive as they once were. (p. 14)
This puts the admissions officer under a great deal of pressure
to produce the proper number of students with the proper grades and
scores. However, this responsibility can be shared as Pape (1974)
points out. She argues that because admissions officers are often
the only representatives of the university seen prior to enrollment,
they must meet regularly with faculty to determine if their recruiting
efforts are successful, especially in terms of the kinds of students
that the faculty thinks should be admitted. It is obvious that this
approach will also give the admissions officers more information about
the academic programs.
Since the basic problem is to attract students to the college,
in times of steady or declining enrollments the admissions officer
must alter his/her marketing strategy to ensure at least steady en-
rollments at his/her college. This can be done by either obtaining a
greater share of the existing market or attracting students not cur-
rently part of the market, such as older students (Tucker, 1977).
Anderson and Andreas (1977) indicate that though institutional dif-
ferences must be taken into account, the general marketing process
We found that most generalized solutions to recruitment
problems are almost worthless because of each institu-
tion's unique character, program strengths, location
and policies. It is clear, however, that some things
nearly always need doing if the recruitment staff is
to be effective. First, a clear understanding of the
image of the institution must be developed. .
Second, a firm grasp of the institution's current role,
goals, and plans must be in hand. (p. 14)
Other authors also indicate that institutional differences must
be utilized but that general marketing processes must be followed.
Wolf (1973) lists general marketing principles that a college admis-
sions officer should translate into his/her particular job specifica-
1. Identify changes in institutional environment or market;
2. Adjust marketing strategies to the changes in the market;
3. Determine customer wants and needs and pitch planning,
policy and operations accordingly;
4. Help define institutional capability and missions)
and identify those particular market segments that
offer the best means of achieving mission success;
5. Identify market segmentation with regard to competitors;
6. Generate marketing research on why students choose to
enroll or not.
Two examples of this latter principle are contained in
Huddleston and Wiebe (1978) and Pomazal (1980). The first describes
marketing analysis at Bradley University in which a questionnaire was
sent to all applicants. The results were analyzed by demographics,
actual college choice, and factors important in making that choice.
Bradley's planning and marketing functions were then altered to take
into account the findings. Pomazal (1980) describes marketing research
on intenders versus nonintenders (to enroll). What he found was sig-
nificant differences in these two samples. Because of the nonrandom-
ness of the sample, his conclusions could not be generalized to other
institutions. What he was able to conclude is that this sort of
marketing research should be done by every institution.
Thus the literature clearly reflects that marketing is a vital
part of the admission officer's job and that as enrollments stabilize
and decline, that function will be of vital importance to the institu-
Recruiting Older Students
The admissions marketing function discussed above is not just
one of selling the existing programs for the traditional age student to
older students but requires many changes in delivery of services and
the very nature of the services themselves (Kegel, 1977). In order for
an institution to attract older students and retain them, certain
types of programs should be instituted, which are geared to the adult.
Some of these changes can be made by admissions offices and others
cannot. Some institutions will not have to change much and others
will need to revamp much of what they are doing.
Probably the most comprehensive catalog of services for adult stu-
dents is contained in the College Entrance Examination Board's 350 Ways
Colleges Are Serving Adult Learners (1979). Contained therein are
1. Assessing needs;
2. Developing better programs and courses for repackaging
them, creating novel courses or programs, and providing
new learning formats;
3. Recruiting and retraining faculty and providing incen-
tives to teachers of adults;
4. Revising admissions and registration;
5. Providing support services and financial aid for
6. Marketing programs.
The final section listed above lists many suggestions that
would be of help to the admissions officer trying to attract older
1. Create a speakers bureau of faculty.
2. Provide a day of sample classes for adults (television
courses work too [Mittelstet, 1978]).
3. Use noncredit, free lectures to develop mailing lists.
4. Recruit transfers from junior colleges.
5. Talk to alumni.
6. Participate in community fairs.
7. Use trained volunteers to provide adults with informa-
tion (make sure the volunteers are adults [Rinnander,
8. Use targeted direct mailings.
9. Use media widely (also Community and Junior College
Journal, Sept., 1979).
10. Design printed materials for adults (Kegel, 1977) and
make them readable (Johnson and Chapman, 1979).
11. Set up visual displays around the community.
These suggestions are aimed at the delivery of information to
adults in the target population. In addition to CEEB's publication
cited above, many articles outline details of services that colleges
and universities should provide adults. However, central to the
development of services is the commitment . to the belief that
adult students are an integral and valued segment of the total student
body" (Kegel, 1977, p. 11). As Barton (1978) argues, . the
adults returning to school often had a specific career goal that
sparked their return. They were consumer conscious and knew what
they wanted and why they wanted it. . But programs can be developed
with consumer interests in mind and must be marketed persuasively to
constituents" (pp. 5-6).
Services and academic offerings at an institution are important
aspects of one's total marketing plan. This is particularly true for
adult students who can only assume that college is like the schools
that they have been to before. These services and academic offerings
are also important as retention tools. If the adult students are
treated in ways which ease the barriers inherent in going to school,
then they will stay and accomplish whatever goals they have set
(Sherer, Herrig, and Noel, 1978).
Some of the services that have been suggested are
1. Convenient registration times (Kegel, 1977; Hodgkinson,
1976; Sherer, Herrig, and Noel, 1978; Fauquet, 1978;
2. Orientation program for adults (Kegel, 1977; Fauquet,
1978; Hunt and Stone, 1979; Lance, Lourie, and Mayo,
3. Personal counseling programs for adults (Kegel, 1977;
Hodgkinson, 1976; Fauquet and Edgemon, 1978; Sherer,
Herrig, and rloel, 1978; Fauquet, 1978; Hunt and Stone,
1979; Lance, Lourie, and Mayo, 1979);
4. Financial aid assistance (Kegel, 1977; Fauquet, 1973;
Fauquet and Edgemon, 1973).
5. Child care services (Kegel, 1977; Fauquet and Edgemon,
6. Newsletters and bulletin boards (Kegel, 1977; Fauquet
and Edgemon, 1973);
7. More flexible scheduling (Boyer, 1974; Hodgkinson, 1976;
Sherer, Herrig, and Noel, 1973; Fauquet, 1978);
3. Credits for prior learning (Sweet, 1930; Hodgkinson, 1976;
Sherer, Herrig, and Noel, 1978; Fauquet, 1973);
9. A designated admissions officer (Waters, 1971; Fauquet,
1978; Lance, Lourie, and Mayo, 1979);
10. Liberal studies degree program (Hodgkinson, 1976);
11. Individualized study (Hodgkinson, 1976; Sweet, 1980);
12. Degree by examination (Hodgkinson, 1976);
13. Special social events (Hunt and Stone, 1979; Fauquet and
Edgemon, 1978; Fauquet, 1978; Baum, 1977);
14. Academic counseling (Hunt and Stone, 1979; Fauquet and
Edgemon, 1978; Hodgkinson, 1976; Sherer,Herrig, and Noel,
1978; Lance, Lourie, and Mayo, 1979);
15. Vocational counseling (Hunt and Stone, 1979; Kegel, 1977;
Fauquet and Edgemon, 1978; Sherer, Herrig, and Noel,
1978; Lance, Lourie, and Mayo, 1979);
16. Tutoring (Fauquet and Edgemon, 1978);
17. Legal services (Hunt and Stone, 1979; Fauquet and Edgemon,
18. Ombudsman (Baum, 1977);
19. Lounge (Baum, 1977; Lance, Lourie, and Mayo, 1979).
Though these services are not exhaustive (for more see the College
Entrance Examination Board, 1979), they are certainly the most fre-
quently mentioned. However, a factor that is often ignored in these
lists is the quality of instruction. This is due primarily to the
student services orientation of the authors rather than the relative
importance of the suggestions. "Retention of the adult learner may
well begin with the selection of faculty members in our colleges .
(Faculty should) foster self-understanding, build self-confidence,
provide relevant education, and fit the adult's learning style" (Sherer,
Herrig, and Noel, 1978, p. 593). Kegel (1977) concludes that "
faculty members should be familiarized with data concerning the extent
of adult student enrollment at the college and be made aware of the
special needs, attributes, problems, and concerns of such students"
(p. 11). Specific suggestions for faculty development activities that
would sensitize faculty to the adult learner's needs are contained in
such sources as Knowles (1970) and Knox (1977).
Marketing in Higher Education
The use of marketing techniques in higher education has been
viewed with some suspicion by the academic community (Ihlanfeldt,
1975; Lucas, 1979; Johnson, 1979; Litten, 1980; and Blackburn, 1980).
Though systematic surveys of higher education have indicated that
some of the techniques of marketing theory have been implemented, they
have been isolated from a total marketing concept (Murphy and McGarity,
1978; Buchanan and Barksdale, 1974; Krachenburg, 1972; Litten, 1980;
and Blackburn, 1980). In a survey of the American Association of
Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers, Blackburn (1980) found
incidences of the 16 marketing techniques on which he requested infor-
mation, but that "Examples of broad institutional usage of marketing
were, in 1979, still rather isolated and incomplete" (p. 21). It is
apparent even from the Blackburn study and others (Ihlanfeldt, 1975;
Johnson, 1979; and Litten, 1980) that the attitudes of faculty and
administrators are changing. Most likely the economic circumstances
are helping educators understand the need for marketing.
Until recently the application of marketing principles
to higher education has been of little interest to
most college administrators and alien to many faculty
who elect to refuse to recognize that the industry of
higher education is in the initial stages of a prolonged
recession. (Ihlanfeldt, 1975, p. 133).
It is likely, though, that this attitude is in part determined
by a lack of understanding of the marketing process. Murphy and
McGarrity (1978) found that 90% of admissions officers at private
schools equated marketing with promotion, when in fact promotion is
only one part of the marketing process (Kotler, 1975), as we will
show later in this chapter.
To many faculty, marketing is a distasteful work that
links the university or college with the business
world. Marketing to them is the same as sales--one-
way communication and the hawking of one's wares.
(Lucas, 1979, p. vii)
Johnson feels that to many in higher education the term is an
"anathema" (Johnson, 1979, p. 1). However, both Johnson and Lucas go
on to show that these attitudes are a result of misunderstanding.
Other authors such as Litten (1980), Vaccaro (1979), and Ihlanfeldt
(1975) add caution to the adaptation of marketing principles in higher
Higher education can learn from marketing as prac-
ticed in the private sector, but we need to research
and practice those aspects that are good for education
and discard those incompatible with our value struc-
ture, as well as those that just don't work.
(Vaccaro, 1979, p. 23)
Ihlanfeldt (1975) suggests that altering a college's marketing
plan in the face of a high attrition rate is contraindicated. What
should be done instead is to upgrade the program quality. Even this
cautionary note is evidence of a confusion concerning marketing
principles. What he suggests is indeed altering a part of the total
marketing plan. However, it is Litten (1980) who captures the real
hazard of marketing, doing a half-way job of it. As he contends,
institutions have always done marketing, though only haphazardly.
This is dangerous because it often ignores either the institutional
goals and purposes or the consumer interests. To do either is not
consistent with the "marketing concept" (Kotler, 1975).
The Need for Marketing
Many authors have indicated strong arguments for the use of a
marketing concept and a comprehensive marketing plan (Kotler, 1975;
Ihlanfeldt, 1975; Johnson, 1979; Fram, 1973; and Gaither, 1979). Most
pointedly, O'Brian (1973) argues that . institutional well-being
and even survival may depend on properly marketing the college
(p. 22). Johnson (1979) supports the contention that marketing is
the very process by which an institution will survive the upcoming
enrollment crisis of the 1980's and will be the process by which an
institution will be able to make the adjustments necessary to survive.
. nonprofit marketing may be the method which will
lead to the internal changes and external service needed
by postsecondary institutions in the 1980's and be-
yond. . The role of nonprofit marketing at a col-
lege or university is that of making a case for its
present and future existence. The 1980's can be a
decade of opportunity rather than a period of retrench-
ment and decline if nonprofit marketing tools become
a part of total institutional planning and management.
. The marketing process is important in that it
encourages people both to examine traditional methods
such as publicity and recruitment and to experiment
with new techniques based on research and market needs.
(Johnson, 1979, pp. 1-3)
The declining 18 to 24 year old cohort over the next decade in-
spired Ihlanfeldt (1975) to note that . for many institutions,
the only hope is to improve the effectiveness of their recruitment
effort and to revamp programs which will appeal to the older student"
(p. 135). Gaither (1979) believes that the survival of institutions
may very well depend upon marketing.
A recent study of the causes for the demise of sev-
eral small, private liberal arts colleges in the
United States found the failure to discharge effective
marketing techniques with full effectiveness was a
major reason for the closure of the institutions.
. Institutions must confront the reality of market-
ing in education and realize the choice is not one of
doing or not doing marketing, but rather doing it
well or poorly. (Gaither, 1979, p. 32)
This we can easily see in our later discussion of Kotler (1975)
to be the case: marketing is a basic function of higher education and
doing well may mean the difference between institutional survival and
failure. Kotler (1975) in asking why a nonprofit organization such
as a college or university should be interested in marketing is
really asking why a college or university should take a look at its
Marketing is designed to render two specific benefits to its
1. Improved satisfaction of the target market;
2. Improved efficiency in marketing activities (Kotler,
1975, p. 9).
Thus, the question is not whether higher education should be
involved in marketing, but how well. The value of marketing to
higher education is to do those things that are already being done,
more efficiently and with a greater impact on the market, for students.
Fram (1973) argues further that to think of marketing as the selling
of the college's programs is a mistake. If this were the case. mar-
keting would be of only limited value.
In fact, marketing principles may be of greater value
than financial principles in solving educational prob-
lems. In the business sector, the job of the marketing
function is to help the organization focus on the
needs and wants of current and potential customers.
(Fram, 1973, p. 57)
Definitions of Marketing Concept
Marketing, as defined by marketing experts such as Kotler
(1975),is not selling. It is likely that this misunderstanding of
marketing is the source of much of higher education's disdain for
the concept. In fact, . the aim of marketing is to make selling
unnecessary. . A college should strive to carry out its marketing
positioning and operations in such a way as to create a naturally
high level of student demand for its services without resorting to
desperate selling efforts" (Kotler, 1976, p. 55). The logic behind
this statement is inherent in his definition of marketing.
The marketing concept is a consumers' need orienta-
tion backed by integrated marketing aimed at generat-
ing consumer satisfaction as the key to satisfying
organizational goals. (Kotler, 1975, p. 46)
In fact, he goes one step further in his definition by adding that the
societal marketing concept is the same as the above definition with
the addition of long-run consumer welfare as a goal (Kotler, 1975,
p. 47). A consumer needs orientation involves looking at the potential
customers, in this case the potential students, to identify the needs
we wish to satisfy with educational services (Kotler, 1975, p. 46).
Integrated marketing implies that the entire campus be aware that
their actions influence the choice behavior of the potential students
(Kotler, 1975, pp. 46-47). Perhaps the most significant part of this
definition is the emphasis placed on the satisfaction of consumer
needs balanced with satisfying institutional goals. Thus, applying
the marketing concept to a college or university involves identifying
potential student needs and supplying programs which fit with the
institutional mission that will produce long-run student/alumni
McCarthy (1975) in discussing profit organizations arrives at
basically the same formulation of the marketing concept.
Marketing is the performance of business activities
which direct the flow of goods and services from
producer to consumer or user in order to satisfy
customers and accomplish the company's objectives.
(McCarthy, 1975, p. 19)
Once again the emphasis is on the company's (institution's)
goals and mission which are carried out through satisfying customer
need. Some formulations, such as Shipp's (1981), forget this aspect and
focus on the processes of needs assessment, program development, and
promotion of selling of programs. Howard (1979) tends to forget this
element of the definition of marketing in his advocacy of community-
based marketing, which postulates high community involvement to be aware
of community needs and resources. Krachenberg (1972) implies this
aspect with the word "appropriate" in the following definition.
In its true meaning, however, marketing deals with
the concept of uncovering specific needs, satisfying
these needs by the development of appropriate goods
and services, letting people know of their availabil-
ity, and offering them at appropriate prices, at the
right time and place. (Krachenberg, 1972, p. 380)
Litten (1980), too, errs by omission of this needed emphasis in
Kotler's definition above. Litten emphasizes the institutional devel-
opmental process based on potential students' needs without stipulating
the necessity for this institutional development to be in accordance
with the mission of the institution. "Quality marketing in higher
education keeps educational considerations well in focus, while giving
due attention to the characteristics, attitudes, and behavior of the
intended clients for these educational services" (Litten, 1980, p. 43).
When Thompson (1979) admonishes higher education administrators
to abandon a product orientation and adopt a marketing orientation, he
has a specific concept in mind. The production orientation is a
stance taken during scarcity economies, one which is focused on how
best to produce that which is being offered to the public. The belief
is that the public will buy anything that is produced (Kotler, 1975,
p. 44). McCarthy (1975) emphasizes that the production orientation is
centered on making what one can without concern for the market.
Marketing research and advertising focus on product aspects rather
than customer needs. Kotler (1975) postulates a sales orientation
which comes to the forefront during growth economies. The philosophy
is that high sales can be induced by sales techniques and relentless
promotion. The customer can be convinced to buy with sufficient bom-
bardment (Kotler, 1975, pp. 45-46). The marketing orientation as was
shown above serves a need rather than produces and sells a product
without regard to the customer. The role of the institution is one
of focusing on students' needs and long-range satisfaction within the
context of the institutional mission (McCarthy, 1975, p. 30).
The benefits of systematic marketing are improved satisfaction
of the target market and the improved efficiency of the marketing
activities (Kotler, 1975). But, two things are essential to achieving
a marketing orientation in an institution:
1. . an attitude on the part of the adminis-
trators and employees that their job is to
understand their clients' needs and to satisfy
them. (Kotler, 1975, p. 10)
2. . technical knowledge about how various
marketing variables perform separately and
together influence the market. (Kotler,
1975, p. 10)
Marketing Research and Planning
Often to get an organization to reorient itself from a sales
or production orientation to a marketing orientation requires radical
changes (Kotler, 1975). It requires the involvement and commitment
of the president (Fram, 1979; Barton, 1978). Kotler (1975, pp. 48-
53) lists preplanning, top management sponsorship, and education
and training of the staff in marketing as prerequisites of the im-
plementation of a systematic marketing plan. Barton and Treadwell
(1978) add that the admissions director should have extensive market-
Market research and planning are the first elements in the
implementation of the marketing concept (Kotler, 1975). This is best
exemplified by the marketing audit of Kotler (1975), which examines
the following various aspects of the institution's marketing effort:
1. Potential students;
2. Student demographics;
3. Competing institutions and market share;
4. Macroenvironment, or societal influences;
5. Mission or goal;
6. Program planning;
7. Quality of current marketing effort;
8. Organizational structure;
9. Products and services;
11. Distribution or locations of services;
12. Personal contact or admissions outreach;
15. Sales promotion or major recruiting campaigns.
A number of other authors advocate various aspects of the above
formulation. Wrausmann (1975) favors the use of market segmentation
research to plan innovative programs which are targeted at specific
populations. Litten (1973) describes the market research process for
the small college, focusing on segmentation. Cooper and Leventhal
(1979) advocate outcome research as part of the total marketing plan.
Johnson and Gilmour (1973) outline the steps in marketing research to
1. Image study
2. Institutional positioning
3. Consumer behavior
4. Market segmentation
5. Evaluation of marketing techniques.
Other authors are less detailed in their recommendations. DiSilvestro
(1978) advocates using needs assessments before designing services for
adult students. Fram and Clarcq (1978) feel that the use of the
focused group interview to design curriculum will make the courses
more responsive to the market. Glover, Floyd, Gwinn, and Hunter (1979)
postulate that marketing research will help combat declining enrollments.
Others like Fram (1973) and Krachenberg (1972) are strong sup-
porters of the use of marketing research in higher education. "Market-
ing research is useful in every market that the university has"
(Krachenberg, 1972, p. 372). For Krachenberg, the essential question
in marketing research is how to develop the product to meet the needs
of nontraditional students.
This job of determining the product-market mix is
the most basic and important part of the total
marketing program . good marketing planning
and good institutional planning go hand in hand,
indeed, are inseparable. (Krachenberg, 1972,
Though the higher education formulations of marketing research are
less elaborate than Kotler's (1975), they contain nothing outside of
Market Segmentation, Positioning, and Differentiation
Market segmentation is a concept that is gaining acceptance in
higher education as a way to survive in the face of stiff competition
and a declining traditional market (Litten, 1978). Kotler (1975)
identifies market segmentation as dividing the total market into
homogeneous parts. Brown (1978) explains that a college must present
those aspects that are unique and explain this to the prospective
student in terms of the philosophy and mission of the college.
Krachenberg (1972) believes that distinctiveness is the key to in-
stitutional survival. For Geltzer and Ries (1976) the key is posi-
tioning--not going head-to-head with a successful school. The
requirements for successful positioning are institutional consistency,
market segmentation research, and the development of a strategy to
serve the unserved or underserved segment.
For Larkin (1979) the basis of a good marketing plan is the
identification of market segments which are or should be attracted
by the institution and target programs to them. Wrausman (1975) and
Johnson (1977) advocate using segmentation research to guide the
planning and development functions of the college. Murphy and
McGarrity (1978) feel that the development of different programs and
services to appeal to different segments of the market is needed. In
summary, these aughors advocate the analysis of the market segments,
the choosing of a market position, and the development of different
programs for different facets of the market (differentiation).
Marketing Strategies and Procedures
Though the marketing process for colleges and universities is
identical to that of other nonprofit organizations, the strategies and
procedures used are sometimes unique to the setting. The following
strategy is a compilation of the suggestions contained in the
1. Institutional Positioning (Dessimoz, Rose, Krimpoch, and
Hubney, 1979; Kotler, 1976)
a. Assess current position based on mission, objectives,
and unique posture relative to other colleges (Mudie,
1978; Beder, 1978; Kotler, 1976)
b. Identify position alternatives (Kotler, 1976)
c. Decide on best position alternative (Kotler, 1976)
d. Decide on strategy to achieve desired position
2. Portfolio Planning (Beder, 1980; Kotler, 1976)
a. Develop curriculum, programs, and courses based on
desired position (Fram, 1973; Hugstad, 1975)
b. Develop student services based on student need
c. Create ambience appropriate to desired image
3. Admissions Planning (mentioned by all the authors listed
a. Prospect development (Kotler, 1976; Turner, 1978)
1) Analyze and segment market (Kotler, 1976; Beder,
1980; Lucas, 1979; Hugstad, 1975; Gorman, 1974)
2) Target desired market segments by analyzing
current and desired students (Kotler, 1976; Mudie,
3) Develop prospect contact strategy with budget
4) Carry out marketing strategy (Kotler, 1976)
b. Applicant development (Turner, 1978)--turn prospects
into applicants by direct mail and direct contact
c. Admissions decision (Turner, 1978)--choose among
d. Matriculation development
1) Turn admission into students by direct contact
2) Study no-shows (Mudie, 1978)
4. Evaluation of Admissions Process (Kotler, 1976)
a. Survey those you lose in the process
b. Look at cost per matriculated student for each
5. College Improvement Planning (Kotler, 1976)
a. Student surveys (Fauquet, 1978)
b. Exit interviews
6. Alumni Loyalty Development (Kotler, 1976; Mudie, 1973).
Within this process is implied a number of specific marketing techniques.
These techniques are scattered throughout the literature. However,
taken as a whole they describe a full range of marketing activities
which can and should be used by admissions officers and those in posi-
tions in higher education to effect the marketing plan.
Murphy and McGarrity (1978) surveyed private schools and found
that the average frequency of use of these techniques was as follows:
high school recruiting (54.), direct mail (20%'), campus days (10%), and
advertising (10'). As can be seen from the following list these tech-
niques represent only a small number of those possible (Table 1).
Most of these concepts have been discussed previously in the
context of nonprofit marketing theory. However, the proper use of
these techniques must be kept in mind and put in the context of a total
Table 1. Marketing Techniques for Higher Education Admissions Officers
1. High school recruiting (Mudie, 1978)
2. Direct mail (Mudie, 1978)
3. Campus days (Mudie, 1978)
4. Advertising (Blackburn, 1980)
5. Contact employers for older students (Mudie, 1980)
6. Publicity, image building (Gorman, 1974; Blackburn, 1980; Lucas,
7. Advertising research protesting (Blackburn, 1980)
8. Advertising posttesting (Blackburn, 1980)
9. Current demand analysis (Blackburn, 1980)
10. Demand forecasting (Blackburn, 1980)
11. Program development (Gorman, 1974; Blackburn, 1980)
12. Pricing (O'Brian, 1973; Vaccaro, 1979; Blackburn, 1980)
13. Segmentation (Gorman, 1974; Blackburn, 1980)
14. Positioning (Dessimoz, Rose, Krimpoch, &Hubney, 1979; Blackburn, 1980)
15. Offering differentiation and differential packaging (Vaccaro,
1979; Gorman, 1974; Blackburn, 1980; Murphy and McGarrity, 1978)
16. Place or distribution channel (O'Brian, 1973)
17. Transfer recruiting (Fram, 1973)
18. Community involvement (Lucas, 1979; Beder, 1980)
marketing plan. These techniques may be used to satisfy short range
institutional problems, such as declining enrollments, but the longer
range view must be taken to insure institutional survival (Hugstad,
The Delphi Technique
The Delphi technique is one of many forecasting tools available
to researchers (Tull and Hawkins, 1976). The definition of the tech-
nique is variously stated by authors (Weaver, 1971; Dodge and Clark,
1977) but is most explicit in Delbecq, Van de Ven, and Gustafson
The Delphi Technique is a method for the systematic
solicitation and collation of judgements on a particu-
lar topic through a set of carefully designed sequen-
tial questionnaires interspersed with summarized
information and feedback of opinions derived from
earlier responses. (p. 10)
Weaver (1972) thinks that the Delphi technique is more suited
for educational planning by probing the priorities of constituencies
and staff members than its original use of technical forecasting.
Linstone and Turoff (1975) support this issue: "Planning university
campus and curriculum development" (p. 4). They go on to state that
the Delphi should be used whenever the
. problem does not lend itself to precise ana-
lytical techniques but can benefit from subjective
judgements on a collective basis. . Iore indi-
viduals are needed than can effectively interact in
a face-to-face exchange .. and . timee and
cost make frequent group meetings infeasible. (p. 4)
Rasp (1973) feels that the Delphi is designed to .. collect
judgements and establish consensus about future probabilities
(p. 30). Delbecq et al. (1975) describe one of the primary objectives to
be to . determine or develop a range of possible program alter-
natives" (p. 10).
Macmillan (1971) lists what he thinks are the three features
which characterize Delphi techniques: anonymous response, iteration
and controlled feedback, and statistical group response. "These
features are designed to minimize the biasing effects of dominant
individuals, of irrelevant communications, and of group pressure
toward conformity" (p. 1). Strauss and Zeigler (1975) add to this
list the use of an expert panel, the use of written questionnaires,
and the systematic attempt to produce a consensus of opinion or to
detail a divergence of opinion. Tull and Hawkins (1976) analyze the
Delphi into (1) having the experts make separate forecasts, (2) com-
bining these forecasts, (3) returning the combined forecasts to the
experts, (4) having the experts make new forecasts with this infor-
mation, and (5) continuing this process until further rounds appear to
produce no further consensus. Linstone and Turoff (1975) describe
the Delphi in the following manner:
In this situation a small monitor team designs a
questionnaire which is sent to a large respondent
group. After the questionnaire is returned the
monitor team summarizes the results and, based upon
the results, develops a new questionnaire for the
respondent group. The respondent group is usually
given at least one opportunity to reevaluate its
original answers based upon examination of the
group response. (p. 5)
In various Delphi applications the number of iterations or rounds of
questionnaires may vary (Delbecq et al. 1975). Cyphertand Gant (1970,
1971) used four rounds. The first consisted of an open ended ques-
tion. The second round combined 750 responses to 61 generic state-
ments and asked the respondents to give each a priority rating. Round
three gave the group consensus priority and the individual's rating.
The respondents were asked to rerate in light of the additional infor-
mation and if he wished to remain outside the consensus to state a
reason for doing so. The fourth round consisted of the 61 generic
statements, the consensus priority rating, and the dissenting opinions
for each. The respondents were asked to rerate each item given this
additional information. Rasp (1973) concurs with the basic process.
Dodge and Clark (1977) suggest that between three to five rounds
is sufficient to stabilize ratings. Delbecq et al. (1975) describe
essentially the same process as Cyphertand Gant above with the excep-
tion of the fourth round. The final round for Delbecq is a final
report to the respondents, giving them all the information that
Cypert and Gant did without asking for a reconsideration of response.
Delbecq also suggests that it is possible to stop after the second
questionnaire and send out the final report. "If a final vote is not
needed and clarification is not important, it may be sufficient to
feed back to respondents the analysis of the second Delphi question-
naire" (p. 106).
Delphi Technique Assumptions
The Delphi technique makes a number of social psychological
assumptions from which the technique has been designed. Skutsch and
Hall (1973) outline the following three assumptions:
1. "Group judgements are superior to individual ones"
2. "Anonymity brings greater rationality to the decision
making process" (p. 6).
3. "Group pressure tends to consolidate group opinion"
Tull and Hawkins (1976) add to this list a fourth:
4. . the median group response will tend to move
toward the true answer" (p. 616).
They feel that this is indeed the basic question of the validity
of the Delphi. They go on to conclude that this assumption is sup-
ported by research evidence.
A comparison of final round joint forecasts with
initial round individual forecasts indicates that
forecasting accuracy is improved by using this
method. This is consistent with other research
that has shown that a consensus reached by a group
of five or more judges is superior to individual
decision making, majority votes, decision making
by the leader, and an average of individual deci-
sion. (p. 616)
Rasp (1973) presents modified versions of numbers one, two, and
three above but indicates that these assumptions are far from proven
fact. He nonetheless feels that the Delphi technique can be used to
gain insights into many forecasting situations. However, Macmillan
(1971) presents experimental support for these assumptions.
The general outcome of the experiments can be summarized
roughly as follows: (1) On the initial round, a wide spread of
individual answers typically ensues. (2) With iteration and feed-
back, the distribution of individual responses progressively narrows
(convergence). (3) More often than not, the group response (defined
as the median of the final individual responses) becomes more ac-
curate. This last result, of course, is the most significant. Con-
vergence would be less than desirable if it involved movement away
from the correct answer (p. 24).
Criticisms of the Delphi Technique
Strauss and Zeigler (1975) have leveled a number of criticisms
of the Delphi technique. They feel that the questions tend to be
vague, the answers tend to be ambiguous, and the results are confounded
by the first two. These criticisms as well as others tend to be
general in nature and lend themselves to rebuttal by the researcher
using the technique. Other criticisms tend to be dated such as
Weaver (1971), who claimed that the Delphi lacks a theoretical founda-
tion. Linstone and Turoff (1975) present such a framework. Weaver
(1971) also criticizes the Delphi technique on the grounds that it is
nondata based but that it relies on expert judgement and that it
seldom distinguishes between what is desirable and what is plausible.
These last two criticisms are like Strauss and Zeigler in that they
are methodological considerations rather than criticisms of the tech-
nique itself. That is, they criticize the use of the technique.
Huckfeldt and Judd (1974) iterate similar kinds of concerns. They
indicate problems with panel fatigue.
Harold A. Linstone in Linstone and Turoff (1975) presents what
he considered to be the major pitfalls in using the Delphi technique.
This discussion centers on the ways to avoid the above criticisms rather
than attempting to discard the technique because of its sloppy use.
1. There is a tendency on the part of experts to under-
estimate the future.
2. There is a tendency to prefer certainty to uncertainty.
3. Simplicity is preferred over complexity.
4. The best forecasters are not necessarily the experts.
5. There is a tendency to use the Delphi imprecisely.
6. There is a tendency for experts to take the task of
responding to the questionnaires lightly.
7. Experts are often chosen poorly.
8. Responses are often only superficially analyzed.
9. There is a bias toward pessimism in long range forecasts
and optimism in short range forecasts.
10. Delphi has already been overused on some respondent
groups. This tends to produce the same answers to all
11. The Delphi technique can be manipulated by introducing
bogus responses on the second and succeeding rounds, thus
misleading the participants with false feedback.
All of these pitfalls exist to greater or lesser degree
no matter what communication process we choose to
utilize in approaching the problem. However, since
an honestly executed Delphi makes the communication
process and its structure explicit, most pitfalls
assume greater clarity to the observer than if the
process proceeds in a less structured manner. While
the Delphi designer in the context of his application
may not be able to deal with, or eliminate, all these
problems, it is his responsibility to recognize the
degree of impact which each has on his application
and to minimize any that might invalidate his exer-
cise. The strength of the Delphi is, therefore, the
ability to make explicit the limitations on the par-
ticular design and its application. The Delphi
designer who understands the philosophy of his approach
and the resulting boundaries of validity is engaged
in the practice of a potent communication process.
(Linstone and Turoff, 1975, p. 586)
Applications of Delphi to Higher Education
The Delphi technique is most commonly applied to physical
science and engineering problems; however, the use of the technique in
education is increasing at a rapid rate (Brockhaus and Mickelson,
1977). Judd (1972) characterizes the educational applications of the
Delphi in the following manner:
educational goals and objectives
area and state-wide
university and college-wide
curriculum and campus planning
development of evaluation criteria
effectiveness and cost/benefit measures. (p. 174)
A small sample of Delphi studies reveals the following range of
applications in higher education settings:
1. Planning business school curriculum (Reeves and Jauch,
2. Forecasting trends in community college student
personal services (Jonassen, 1975),
3. Planning a branch campus (Judd, 1970),
4. Forecasting trends in needed knowledge and skills of
adult educators (Rossman and Bunning, 1978).
Summary and Rationale for Study
In this chapter a number of areas of literature were reviewed.
Various articles and books have been written which describe the poten-
tial and probable downward enrollment trends in four year colleges and
universities. The biggest decline will be in the traditional aged
students. If this decline is to be offset, an increased number of
older students must be attracted to our colleges and universities.
The basic role and function of the admissions officer were examined in
relation to this enrollment question. It is obvious from the litera-
ture that the admissions officer will be the focus of this struggle
to increase older student enrollment.
Ways of recruiting and retaining older students were examined.
It is widely advocated that the admissions officers more generally
apply the marketing concept to their recruitment function. The
marketing concept was examined from marketing and admissions litera-
ture. The attitude among higher education professionals toward
marketing has traditionally been rather negative. Marketing has
erroneously been equated with selling. Definitions of marketing were
presented and the need for marketing was established. Marketing,
rather than being something new and alien to higher education, has
always been part of the admissions process; however, systematic ap-
plication of marketing principles to the admission process is rare.
Marketing procedures were examined along with market segmentation,
positioning, and market differentiation.
Finally, the Delphi technique was presented in its classical
form, and discussions of the assumptions, criticisms, and applications
followed. In general, the Delphi technique has been used on techno-
logical forecasting problems with great success. The use in education
has increased rapidly to aid in goal setting, planning, and criteria
setting. The present study is an application of the Delphi technique
to the setting of goals in the admission process and training of
admissions officers with regard to the recruitment of older students.
This chapter presents the procedures followed in selection of
subjects, design and administration of the Delphi questionnaire, and
collection and the analysis of the resultant data. In addition,
methodological assumptions, weaknesses, and limitations of the study
Research Methodology--The Delphi Technique
As was described in the previous chapters, the Delphi technique
is a survey designed to .. obtain the most reliable consensus of
opinion of a group of experts .. .by a series of intensive ques-
tionnaires interspersed with controlled opinion feedback" (Dalkey and
Helmer, 1963, p. 458). The application of the Delphi to the investi-
gation of college and university recruitment entailed three rounds of
questionnaires to Directors of Admissions. The first round consisted
of two open-ended questions. The first question solicited a list-of
recruitment methods which they think will be effective in attracting
older students to their college or university. The second question
asked for a list of skills and competencies needed by admissions
officers to successfully implement the above methods. The second
round of questionnaires consisted of a list of answers submitted on
the first round. The respondents then were asked to respond to each
item using a five point scale. The median was calculated and the
items rank ordered. The third round consisted of the rank ordered
responses with the consensus or median rating. The respondents were
required to compare the consensus with their own rating and comment
upon any differences.
The primary purpose of this descriptive research was to develop
a list of (1) specific methods and activities which should be imple-
mented and developed during the next decade to attract older students
to baccalaureate colleges and universities and (2) skills and competen-
cies needed by admissions officers to effectively recruit older stu-
dents. The subjects were divided equally between large and small
colleges. The ratings of each item were compared.
1. What specific methods and activities should be developed
and implemented during the next decade to attract older
students to baccalaureate programs in colleges and
2. What skills and competencies will admissions officers
need to recruit older students during the next decade?
3. Are there significant differences in the ratings of the
above two lists by larger and smaller institutions?
The population for this study was the Directors of Admissions
of the accredited baccalaureate granting colleges and universities in
the United States. "Director of Admissions" was generally taken to
mean the individual at an institution who is primarily responsible for
recruitment and admissions of students to the institution. It is
possible for this individual to have other titles; however, this term
can be assumed to have a universally accepted definition.
The colleges and universities which are to be considered part
of this population definition are those institutions accredited by one
of the regional accrediting boards and offering two to four years of
undergraduate instruction leading to a baccalaureate degree.
Selection of Subjects and Sampling Procedures
The sample was drawn from a list of accredited four-year colleges
and universities. This list was obtained from the National Center for
Educational Statistics, HEGIS List. Four hundred institutions were
drawn from this list by randomly selecting them. The enrollment fig-
ures for these institutions were obtained from the National Center for
Educational Statistics Directory: Colleges and Universities, 1980-81.
They were then rank ordered by enrollment and divided in half. Thus,
the large institutions will be operationally defined as those in-
stitutions which were selected in this process having above the median
enrollment (about 2000) in the Directory. A small institution was
defined as having a median or below enrollment. The subjects
for this study were the "Directors of Admissions" at these 400 institu-
tions. It was expected that approximately three quarters of potential
respondents would drop out. This should have produced more than 50 in
each group. However, since 76 individuals responded to round one, an
attempt was made through personal phone calls and second mailings to
ensure that the respondents would complete all three rounds.
Table 2. Number of Respondents
Round I Round II Round III
Large 43 39 32
Small 33 23 24
Total 76 67 56
Questionnaire Distribution Procedures
The initial contact with the 400 subjects was a Round I mailout
consisting of a number 10 envelope addressed to "Director of Admis-
sions" with the address of the college or university. Enclosed was
a letter from the researcher explaining the goal and purpose of the
study (see Appendix A). Space was given on each page to allow the
subjects to make as many responses as they wished. A self-addressed
stamped envelope was included for ease of questionnaire return.
The second round of questionnaires consisted of a cover letter
from the researcher thanking the respondents for their cooperation and
explaining the second round of questioning (see Appendix B). This
round presented to the subjects two questionnaires with the total list
of all responses to the first round of questionnaires. They were asked
to evaluate each response in terms of how strongly they feel that
the technique or skill indicated will be needed. They were given five
options ranging from "Always Needed" to "Never Needed" to check. They
were then instructed to return these responses in the enclosed stamped
The third round consisted of a cover letter from the researcher
thanking them for their help and explaining the procedures for the
final round. Attached was the appropriate questionnaire built from
round two responses (see Appendix C). The items were rank ordered
based on the median response. The individual's response and the median
were written on the questionnaire next to the appropriate item. They
were instructed to examine each item in which their response varied
from the median by more than one (1). They were then asked to change
their opinion by marking a new response, or they could maintain their
position or take a minority position. They were asked to comment on
why they felt the consensus was wrong and their opinion was correct.
A summary of the results was sent to each individual who
completed all three rounds.
Data Collection and Recording
The responses to the first round of questionnaires were recorded
as they were received. Two weeks after the deadline, these responses
were edited to avoid duplication and to shorten what may be lengthy
responses. The responses were rearranged topically for ease of
reading in round two. There were two questions in round one which
generated two separate lists of responses. From these two lists of
responses, the second round of questionnaires was developed.
The second round questionnaires asked the subjects to rate each
item in the two lists of responses in terms of the strength to which
they felt the subject of the response will be needed. Thus, each
item was rated from "1" to "5" by each respondent. These responses
were recorded, distinguishing between large and small institution
subjects for later analysis.
The third round questionnaire was developed from the second
round by adding the median for each item and inserting the individual's
rating if it differed by more than one (1). The respondents were
asked to either change their rating to the median or explain their
difference on an enclosed discussion sheet (see Appendix C). The
resultant medians and minority opinions are discussed in Chapter Four.
Data Analysis and Statistics
The analysis of the round one questionnaires consisted of
listing and editing the responses. No statistical manipulation was
necessary. However, the analysis of the round two questionnaires
involved finding the median of the responses for each item on the
two questionnaires. T-tests were run on all items comparing the means
and standard deviations of large and small schools to examine the
third research question. These results are reported in Chapter Four.
Methodological Assumptions and Limitations
1. Because the subjects were drawn from a random selection of
institutions, many chose not to participate. Thus, it can be assumed
that those that chose to participate were more interested in the sub-
ject or more frequently responded to surveys. The counterbalancing
effect of the Delphi tends to offset this weakness by promoting
2. As Linstone points out in Linstone and Turoff (1975) pre-
dictors are often shortsighted. This may indeed affect the Delphi
process to such an extent that the conclusions of any Delphi study
will be no more than extrapolation from the known present. Innovation
and rapid change are seldom predictable. However, predictions such as
this study is attempting to make are based on the current innovations
which may only be in existence at a small percent of institutions. The
Delphi technique could indicate that wider application of these innova-
tions is advisable.
Chapter Four contains the research findings developed through the
process described in Chapter Three. Because of the large number of
items generated by each of the two research questioned used on the
Delphi questionnaire, this chapter will begin with a discussion of the
results, followed by a more detailed description of the Delphi con-
sensus and minority opinions. The chapter will conclude with a de-
scription of the results of the third research question concerning
large and small institutional comparisons and a summary.
As will be seen in the remainder of the chapter, rather exten-
sive lists have been generated as a result of the Delphi technique. The
purpose of generating these lists is not solely for their own sakes,
though they will prove valuable to admissions directors interested in
recruiting older students, but to see if the resultant lists approxi-
mate marketing theory. The most comprehensive exposition of the total
marketing concept is Kotler (1975), who outlines his "Systematic
Marketing Audit." Contained therein are three major areas of review:
the marketing environment (market research), the marketing system
(institutional marketing planning), and detailed marketing activity
Question one generated 139 items that can be assumed to be the
best information available from Directors of Admissions on recruitment
of older students. In comparing this list to the Kotler marketing
audit, one finds little discussion of market research or institutional
marketing planning. The preponderance of the items can be subsumed
under detailed marketing activity. There are two possible reasons for
1. Directors of Admissions do very little marketing
research and planning, or
2. Research question one brought out only one aspect of
the total marketing activity of the respondents.
The results of question two indicate that marketing research is more
important than was indicated in these results. However, the only
other study of the marketing expertise of Directors of Admissions
(Blackburn, 1980) indicates that not one of the respondents exhibited
the total marketing concept though all aspects of it were present in
the group as a whole.
Though question two was designed to look at the role and func-
tion of the admissions officer with respect to recruiting older
students, it seemed to bring out more of the marketing research as-
pects of the total marketing concept than did the first question.
The following items (included in the final list of question two)
indicate the need for admissions officers to have marketing research
14. Marketing research
32. Research skills
35. (Knowledge of the) needs of older students
38. (Knowledge of the) demographics of older students at
41. (Knowledge of) nontraditional learning experiences in
42. (Knowledge of) industry and its needs
45. (Knowledge of) other educational programs in your area
46. (Knowledge of) self-improvement opportunities for older
55. (Knowledge of) older students' programs at other
However, the marketing planning aspects of Kotler's (1975) total mar-
keting concept are not mentioned in the results of either question.
Question One Responses
In Round One, question one asked the admissions directors to
list the specific methods and activities which should be developed and
implemented during the next decade to attract older students to bac-
calaureate programs in colleges and universities. Round Two asked
them to rate each of the responses of the entire group in terms of
whether the method or activity was "always needed," "highly needed,"
"moderately needed," "seldom needed," or "never needed." Round Three
asked them to explain their scores if they chose to maintain more than
a one point deviation from the median. The second round, then, gen-
erated the medians and the third round generated the minority opinions.
The responses from Round One were grouped into the following
categories to aid the respondents in subsequent rounds:
1. Admissions and registration procedures
2. Career development activities
3. Counseling and advising
4. Curriculum modifications
5. Financial aid
6. Faculty sensitivity and teaching practices
7. Off-campus program options
8. Recruitment techniques
10. Support services.
As is apparent from this list, many of the methods and activities
implied are not under the specific purview of the admissions officer.
However, it must be remembered that the Delphi technique asks the
selected experts, in this case the Directors of Admissions, to make
judgements about the future based on their expertise and experience.
The rating scale that was used to calculate the medians is as
1. Always Needed
2. Highly Needed
3. Moderately Needed
4. Seldom Needed
5. Never needed
Thus, in looking at the lists of responses and medians, a smaller
number is a group judgement that the response is more likely needed
to attract older students. A larger number is a group judgement that
the response is less likely to attract older students.
Admissions and Registration Procedures
The responses listed in the first section are those closest to
the admissions directors' ability to make changes at their own insti-
tutions. As can be seen from Table 3, the activities and methods that
were considered most desirable were numbers 3 and 14 dealing with
correspondence geared to older students and allowing part-time enroll-
ment. These produced no minority opinions. The least highly regarded
idea was number 5, setting up a special admissions office for older
students. This practice is either considered to be ineffective or
regular admissions offices should be able to handle these new activities
and methods. However, upon examining the minority opinions indicated
on the Round Three discussion sheets, there is a wide difference of
opinion. Three responses from larger institutions indicated vehement
opposition to separate admissions offices for any special group. On
the contrary, two large and two small institutions indicated that they
either had special admissions offices already set up or wished they
had in order to be more responsive to older students.
Of those items indicated to be highly needed, seven items have
to do with the admissions process itself (1, 2, 8, 10, 16, 17, and
20), two have to do with marketing research (12 and 13), number 4 has
to do with publications, and number 6 has to do with having a special
admissions counselor. Of those items identified as only moderately
Table 3. Admissions and Registration Procedures
2 1. Have special admissions criteria for older students
2 2. Waive ACT and SAT as entrance requirements
1 3. Gear correspondence to older students' concerns
2 4. Gear publications to older students
3.5 5. Have a special office for older students' admissions
2 6. Have a special counselor for older student admissions
3 7. Evaluate life experiences as an admissions procedure
2 8. Simplify admissions procedures for older students
3 9. Eliminate strict application deadline for older students
2 10. Admit older students provisionally to allow them to
3 11. Administer skill inventories to determine if needed
competencies are possessed
2 12. Do market research to determine potential older
students' interests and needs
2 13. Do research on older students' concerns and anxieties
about going to college
1 14. Allow part-time enrollment
3 15. Provide credit for life and work experience
2 16. Provide academic testing for credit (test-out option)
2 17. Provide placement exams
3 18. Allow registration by telephone
3 19. Allow registration by mail
2 20. Set up one stop/one step registration
3 21. Provide off-campus registration options
needed, three deal with registration options (13, 19, and 21), three
deal with evaluating the prospective student's experience and skills
(7, 11, and 15), and number 9 proposes to do away with application
The minority opinions on the items dealing with the admissions
process state that the admissions process should be the same for all
students and that older students do not really want or need special
treatment. The marketing research suggestions produced minority
opinions stating that research is a waste of time and money and that
older student needs are obvious from the literature. One respondent
felt that having special publications for older students was too dif-
ficult a task. A single respondent stated that all admissions coun-
selors should be able to handle older students. The minority opinions
of the moderately needed items, because of the definition of minority
opinion, produced both higher and lower estimates of the need for the
suggestions. The three items suggesting registration options received
the following mixed minority opinions:
1. Registration by phone--one said that it should be made as
easy as possible while four said that it was not needed,
created additional work, and violated the need for one-on-
2. Registration by mail--four thought it was absolutely
necessary and saves time while one felt it simply was not
needed in any but very large institutions;
3. Off campus registration--one expressed the opinion that
it should be made as easy as possible, while another
felt that either everyone should have that option or no
The three items dealing with experience and skill evaluation received
only one or two minority opinions in each direction. They argued on
one side that these techniques are very helpful and on the other side
that these techniques are impractical and ill-advised. Item number 9,
dealing with the elimination of the application deadline, received the
largest number of divergent opinions (four rated it higher and two
rated it lower). The following two quotes from larger institutions
are indicative of the tenor of those arguments.
We have found that at least 80% of adult students
at our institution have been admitted in the 2
weeks before the beginning of an academic semester.
This is 2-4 weeks after the published deadline for
applications. Reasons vary from financial to
job-related, but the fact remains that many
adults don't have the "luxury" of planning to
attend more than 2-3 weeks in advance.
. and then eliminate strict deadlines for
financial aid and for the turning in of term
papers, and then for the answers to discussion
questions in history, and then to the answers
to mathematical problems. . Older people
are extremely capable and don't like to be
patronized. I am extremely disappointed in
respondents to your questionnaire who advocate
watering down the college-going experience for
older people so much that we rob them of their
dignity and sense of accomplishment.
In summary, the minority opinions were few, and the vast
majority of the respondents chose to agree with the medians listed
in Table 3, i.e., these activities are needed to attract older
Career Development Activities
The items on career development activities produced no signif-
cant minority opinions. As can be seen From Table 4, all of the
items received median ratings of "2" indicating that they are all
highly needed in the recruitment of older students. Most of these
activities and services are available at baccalaureate colleges and
universities for the traditional age group, but the message that comes
through is that these services should be made available to older
Table 4. Career Development Activities
2 22. Provide career counseling for older students
2 23. Provide mini workshops on careers for older students
2 24. Provide career placement and development geared to
2 25. Maintain career placement files of academic work
2 26. Provide career development counseling to assist with
midlife career changes, loss of employment, and
2 27. Provide internships for older students to aid in job
2 28. Indicate relationship between a particular course of
study and a career job
2 29. Offer cooperative education programs for older students
Counseling and Advising
The items indicated on Table 5 show a general consensus that
counseling and advising services should be made available to adults.
Table 5. Counseling and Advising
2 30. Provide personal and academic counseling geared to
2 31. Provide peer counseling for older students
2 32. Suggest nontraditional degree programs when
2 33. Provide older students information concerning BA
level educational opportunities
3 34. Provide personnel testing normed for adults
2 35. Make counseling and advising available at all times
institution is open
The one item not rated "Highly Needed" was testing normed for adults.
This suggestion received three strongly worded minority opinions
that to use tests normed for young adults was not appropriate. Items
30 and 33 were rated at or near the median by all the respondents
and received no minority opinions. Peer counseling was called into
question as a technique by one respondent while two respondents
expressed disfavor with this special treatment for yet another
special group. Two individuals did not approve of nontraditional
degree programs while another thought that good advising and coun-
selors would suggest appropriate options to anyone. A fourth indi-
vidual warned that nontraditional degrees should not be recommended
on the basis of age alone. Item 35 received three minority opinions
stating that counseling and advising need only be available during
the day and perhaps on weekends if the college is in session. How-
ever, the broad consensus is that special counseling and advising
should be made available to adults.
The 14 suggestions made by the respondents all received a median
rating between "Highly Needed" and "Moderately Needed" (see Table 6).
Most of the ideas are specific courses with a few suggestions that
indicate teaching methods and curriculum planning methods. Of the
specific courses mentioned, "Job Retraining" was rated highly, but the
minority opinion of three individuals indicated that they thought it
an inappropriate course for a four year college.
Table 6. Curriculum Modifications
2.5 36. Provide classes to expand older students' horizons
(e.g., philosophy and psychology) with discussions
on how they view life
2 37. Provide courses directed at job retraining for people
with outmoded skills
2 38. Provide business management courses
2 39. Provide a "Back to School" course to help returning
2 40. Provide self-enrichment courses
3 41. Provide a word processing course
2 42. Provide remedial courses for older students who
3 43. Offer courses that are recreational in nature
3 44. Offer general studies degree program
2 45. Offer courses that challenge older students and
capitalize on their experience
3 46. Utilize citizen curriculum advisory groups
3 47. Offer Elderhostel programs
2 48. Package degree programs to provide specific focus
and definite time span
2 49. Work with business and industry to design courses
and programs that meet their needs
"Business Management" courses, though rated "Highly," received
one minority opinion that adults would not be interested in such
courses. The "Back to School" course was also rated "Highly" but was
marked down by two individuals as not wanted or needed by older
students and also as a need that could be best handled through other
services. "Self-Enrichment" courses,rated "Highly Needed," received
two lower ratings, indicating adults would not be interested. The
"Word Processing" course, rated "Moderately Needed," received one
minority opinion that everyone should have such a course. Remedial
courses were rated "Highly Needed" but received very different, lower,
minority opinions. A respondent from a large school thought these
courses were needed for everyone and hence were "Seldom Needed" to
recruit older students. A second large school respondent said that
remedial courses were not the purview of four year institutions. One
small school respondent said it was not feasible for a small school to
offer them while the other said that older students do not need
remedial work. Recreational courses received a "Moderately Needed"
rating, even though one respondent thought adults would take time for
them. Others said recreational courses were needed for everyone and
were especially attractive to older students because they provided
Seven individuals rated the general studies degree suggestions
with "Always Needed" minority opinions. Their consensus was that the
general studies degree is essential for tailoring the baccalaureate
programs to the diverse needs and wants of adults. It also allows for
some of the items mentioned above, such as credit for experience. One
individual expressed a philosophical distaste for the special degree.
The nationally recognized Elderhostel program received a "Moderately
Needed" median rating as a recruitment tool. Three individuals thought
that it was a highly successful recruiting tool, and one thought that
it did not work at all. The suggestion concerning packaging specific
degree programs with a specific focus and specific time span received
a "Highly Needed" median, but one respondent said that good advisors
would identify the appropriate programs for older students without
The two items that refer to teaching methods (36 and 45) re-
ceived much the same minority response. In other words, good teaching
would expand horizons, challenge, and capitalize on the students'
experience without any special classes. A few respondents said that
these aspects of curriculum were so far away from the needs of adults
that they would not take such courses. Though the use of citizens
curriculum advisory groups received mixed ratings, working with
business and industry received a median rating of "Highly Needed"
with no dissenting opinion.
In spite of the diverse minority opinions in this section of
the questionnaire, the general consensus is that these 14 curriculum
modifications are needed to a moderate to high degree to attract older
Based on the number of minority opinions and the strongly worded
nature of them, some of the items in this section elicited intense
feelings, even though all but three of the financial aid items
received median ratings of "Highly Needed" or "Always Needed." Three
Table 7. Financial Aid
3 50. Offer discount procedures or fee waivers to part-time
2 51. Make payment plans flexible
3 52. Charge only for student services used
2 53. Encourage employers to support worker participation
through benefits, time off, tuition assistance
2 54. Offer special financial plans
2 55. Offer financial counseling
2 56. Offer financial aid (tuition and fees only) for
1 57. Make students over 25 eligible for financial aid
2 58. Offer senior citizen discounts
2 59. Commit the institutional financial resources to
scholarships and loans
2 60. Encourage older students to keep jobs while in school
3 61. Offer free courses of short duration to entice
of the items received only nominal minority opinion stating that the
suggestion was important for everyone (51, 54, and 55). The highest
rated item (number 57) received two minority opinions which said
there was not enough money for the 18 to 24 year old students, let
alone older students. Discounts and fee waivers for senior citizens
and part-time students (50 and 58) elicited four negative responses
each. The feeling of the minority was that discounts and fee waivers
for special groups were a violation of fairness.
On the other hand, two positive minority opinions of Item 50
indicated that part-time students have a high attrition rate due to
financial problems and need help, since financial aid is often limited
to full-time students. The suggestion of charging only for services
used (52) elicited a variety of responses also. The four who said
this practice is "Never Needed" indicated that the services would not
survive with such a plan; state regulations prohibit differential fee
structures; it is difficult to break out the hidden costs of the
services; and once again that it violates the fairness doctrine. The
three individuals who rated this "Always Needed" felt that since
finances were a barrier for many older students, why should they have
to pay for services that were often unavailable when and where they
took classes. Though Item 59 received a median of "Highly Needed,"
one individual thought that committing institutional resources to
scholarships and loans was fiscally irresponsible. Item 60 suggests
that older students be encouraged to keep jobs while they are attend-
ing college. Though it received a median of "Highly Needed," three
individuals said that the older students should decide on their own;
one said that they generally do not need the encouragement; while
another said that many older students want to quit jobs and attend
Though these suggestions on financial aid received a variety of
minority opinions on some of the items, the general consensus of the
respondents was that older students need to be included in the student
financial aid planning of the institution.
Faculty Sensitivity and Teachinq Practices
This section looks at altering classroom practices as a way of
attracting older students. As can be seen from Table 8, four of the
items receiving medians of "Moderately Needed" were alternative
Table 8. Faculty Sensitivity and Teaching Practices
1 62. Improve faculty staff awareness of the older students'
2 63. Encourage class participation of older students
2 64. Train instructors in teaching adults
3 65. Provide tutorial options to class attendance
3 66. Use computer aided instruction so that students can
continue education at home
2 67. Make staff/faculty available when the older students
are on campus
3 68. Expand the use of videotaped courses
2 69. Use more seminar type courses to encourage class
3 70. Cut class size to 10-12
3 71. Ensure that influx of older students doesn't
adversely affect departmental staffing
instructional methods (65, 66, 68, 70). On the other hand, the highest
rated item was 62 dealing with improving the faculty's awareness of
older student needs. Two individuals rated this item lower saying
that this was not necessary on campuses with substantial older student
populations. Two items (63 and 69) entailing encouragement of class
participation received only one dissenting opinion stating that older
students participate without encouragement. Item 64 suggests that
faculty be trained in methods of teaching adults. This received no
dissenting opinion from its "Highly Needed" rating, as was the case
with item 67 concerning faculty and staff availability. The four
suggestions concerning alternative teaching practices (65, 66, 68,
and 70) received "Moderately Needed" consensus ratings, as well as
both higher and lower minority opinions. Tutorial options (65)
generated minority opinions saying that tutoring should always be
available for adult students because it would be beneficial to their
success. However, one individual thought that it was a poor alter-
native to a classroom experience. Computer assisted instruction (66)
was viewed as, on the one hand, more conducive to personal schedules,
and, on the other hand, as not needed at small schools. Video
courses (68) were also viewed as a cost effective way to expand the
market but not needed at the smaller schools. Cutting class size to
10 to 12 students (70) was rated higher than the median by an individual
who stated that it increased the chance of success. Two other re-
spondents disagreed, saying it was not cost effective.
Numer 71 received a "Moderately Needed" median for its warning
that colleges and universities should ensure that the influx of older
students does not adversely affect departmental staffing. Seven
respondents said this was "Always Needed" because the attitude of
the faculty toward the older students may be negative as a result of
his or her having to teach more night classes or simply more classes.
One respondent rated this "Never Needed" because there will be no
adverse affect due to enrollment declines.
In summary, the suggestions with the highest scores indicate
that faculty must become more sensitive to older students' needs and
increase contact with them through classroom interaction and being
available after class. Alternative teaching practices received only
a lukewarm reception.
Off-Campus Program Options
This section grouped together a number of suggestions for
receiving credit in nontraditional ways. The two off-campus class
suggestions (72 and 75) received "Highly Needed" median ratings (see
Table 9). The minority opinions on 72 indicated that the campus
Table 9. Off-Campus Program Options
2 72. Offer courses where older students live and work
4 73. Accept more correspondence course work
3 74. Provide independent directed study options
2 75. Use junior/community colleges classrooms to provide
selected major in population centers
3 76. Offer teleconferencing/telebridge courses
4 77. Offer Bachelor of Independent Studies Program
3 78. Offer open university courses on radio and television
was the best place for college classes in rural areas because of the
lack of appropriate classroom space elsewhere, and in metropolitan
areas the issue did not arise because of the proximity of campus to
large numbers of people. Disagreeing with number 75 one individual
said that they were in direct competition with the junior college in
their area and would never think of putting classes in the junior
college's buildings. The other five suggestions, though they were
rated either "Moderately Needed" or "Seldom Needed," received two to
seven minority responses which indicated strong support for these
suggestions because of their flexibility in solving the scheduling
and access problems of older students. Numbers 76 and 78 received
negative comments that said these alternate media options were not
appropriate and not good substitutes for classroom experiences. In
summary, there seems to be a strong bias toward classroom experiences
over nonclassroom experiences in spite of the fact that many of the
less highly rated items are more compatible with the needs of adults.
This group of ideas concerning recruitment techniques is inter-
esting with controversy in the minority opinions. The extremes are
indicated on Table 10 as numbers 80 and 101 receiving median ratings
of "Always Needed" and numbers 85, 89, and 99 receiving median
ratings of "Seldom Needed." The highest rated items suggested devel-
oping promotional material that indicate older students exist on
campus and are welcome and working with community education directors
and community college counselors to encourage referrals. One indi-
vidual thought that rather than developing separate promotional
materials, those attitudes should be included in the regular materials.
One dissenter rated all the items in this section with "Seldom Needed"
because he felt that recruitment techniques were less important than
the development of programs and services to meet the needs of older
students. The use of gift certificates received no dissent from the
"Seldom Needed" median it received. The use of newspaper discount
coupons as an encouragement received one individual's opinion that it
worked well, while the median rating was "Seldom Needed." Though
the use of home visits received only a "Seldom Needed" median, five
small schools indicated that this is an important and valuable tech-
nique for them. One small school said it was too costly. Eight of
Table 10. Recruitment Techniques
2 79. Search for second career persons
1 80. Develop promotional materials that communicate that
older students are welcome and do attend
2 81. Send promotional materials to beauty parlors, libraries,
2 82. Offer "bring a friend night" for older students
2 83. Distribute promotional materials at professional con-
2 84. Use testimonials in advertising
4 85. Sell gift certificates
3 86. Recruit parents of current local 18-24 year old students
3 87. Give Welcome Wagon promotional materials
3 88. Recruit in retirement groups
4 89. Offer a discount coupon in newspaper ad
2 90. Advertise with newspaper, local magazine, radio, TV
aimed at older students
2 91. Advertise that you meet older student needs, e.g.,
time, location, and financial aid to accommodate
the older student
2 92. Use media to establish an awareness of special programs
for older students
2 93. Speak to local groups of adults
2 94. Set up college fairs and educational information days
at malls and other shopping locations
2 95. Offer "visitation days"--(attend a class, have lunch
and meet older students)
2 96. Recruit people taking noncredit continuing education
2 97. Provide information concerning older student programs
3 98. Visit churches
4 99. Make home visits
2 100. Establish better ties with employers and community
1 101. Work with community education directors, community
college counselors for referrals
Table 10. Continued
3 102. Develop a regional list of potential older students
2.5 103. Use the telephone as a marketing device
2 104. Use direct mail marketing to adults
2 105. Organize an exposition of local educational opportuni-
ties for lifelong learners
2 106. Show benefits of going back to school in promotional
the items receiving medians of "Highly Needed" received no dissenting
opinions (79, 82, 92, 93, 97, 100, 105, and 106). Four of the items
receiving "Highly Needed" medians received minority opinions that
stated the techniques were both ineffective and not cost effective
(81, 83, 90, and 94). Though the suggestion of advertising the fact
that a college meets the needs of older students (91) received a
"Highly Needed" median, it also received a "Never Needed" rating with
the comment that this was best done through alumni and direct mail.
The use of visitation days (95) was also rated "Highly Needed," but
one rater pointed out that many older students go to school at night.
One rater thought that the recruitment of students in existing non-
credit programs (96) would be ineffective, even though the median for
that item was "highly Needed." Number 104 suggested the use of direct
mail marketing to adults as a "Highly Needed" technique. Telephone
marketing received a median half way between "Highly Needed" and
"Moderately Needed." This item also received widely split minority
opinions. Those that rated telephone marketing as "Always Needed"
said that it was highly cost effective but should probably be used
only as a follow-up to previous contact. One respondent said that it
worked well with personnel directors. Four individuals rated telephone
marketing as "Seldom Needed" because it was not cost effective, was
an invasion of privacy, was too hard sell, and was not as good as
Five suggestions (86, 87, 88, 98, and 102) received median
ratings of "Moderately Needed." The recruitment of traditional stu-
dents' parents received three minority opinions of "Always Needed"
which said that these people were likely candidates because they were
often the most vocal supporters of the college. The use of the
Welcome Wagon to distribute promotional literature received six
"Always Needed" ratings saying that it was both cheap and effective.
Though recruitment in retirement groups received "Moderately Needed"
ratings, one respondent rated it "Always Needed" because he thought
it not only good for the retirees but also a good source of older
students. Church visitations received mixed minority opinions which
were distinguishable by institutional size. Three small institutions,
two church-related schools and one private school, rated this sugges-
tion "Always Needed" with the comments that it was essential and
effective. Five large institutions rated church visits as "Never
Needed" with the comments that there should be separation of church
and state and that it was not appropriate. Suggestion number 102,
developing a regional list of potential older students, received one
"Never Needed" which said it would be impractical with a mobile
population. On the other hand, six respondents rated the idea as
"Always Needed" saying that the list would facilitate travel, would
increase effectiveness of all recruiting efforts, was needed for direct
mail marketing, and was an excellent way to know the market.
These techniques, taken as a whole, are a good starting place
for any admissions director. Even though some are rated negatively,
it is apparent that they are useful in the proper setting. The nega-
tive comments were for the most part the result of individual raters
thinking only of their institutional settings.
The ratings of scheduling options listed in Table 11 reflect
their acceptability to admissions directors. The three highest rated
ideas (107, 108, and 109) received only one or two minority opinions,
each claiming impracticality. These options are widely adopted by
Table 11. Scheduling
1 107. Provide more late afternoon, evening, Saturday, and
1 108. Encourage part-time enrollment in daytime courses
1 109. Provide evening degree programs
3 110. Provide holiday classes
2 111. Provide lunch hour classes
2 112. Provide intensive summer courses which can be completed
on a two-week vacation
3 113. Provide courses which can be completed in one weekend
2 114. Open all campus offices one night per week
colleges and quite likely exist at most of the institutions surveyed.
Providing nontraditional times for classes and encouraging part-time
enrollment in daytime classes is the traditional method of scheduling
for adult students. The options rated "Highly Needed" (111, 112, and
114) are the ones less likely to occur on campuses--lunch hour classes,
two-week summer courses, and having campus offices open one night a
week. Lunch hour classes received comments saying there was little
demand for them or that at larger schools scheduling was continuous
throughout the day. Two-week summer courses received four comments
which said that this form of programming was not educationally sound.
One small school indicated they did not have the needed housing for
this kind of programming. Opening offices one night a week received
seven remarks saying it was not economically feasible and that it might
be more cost effective to have a single all-purpose office open at
night. One respondent indicated that adults would not be interested
in scheduling adjustments.
The two suggestions receiving only "Moderate" ratings were
the most unusual of the group--(llO) holiday classes and (113) one
weekend classes. Two schools felt that the holiday classes were
"Always Needed" because this was a time when adult students were free
from work responsibilities. However, four others said that such
classes would not be accepted, would be inappropriate for church-
related institutions, would not be cost effective or educationally
sound, or would needlessly cut into the much needed holiday vacations
of university personnel. Courses that can be completed in one weekend
received both six "Always Needed" ratings and six "Never Needed"
responses. The "Always Needed" respondents indicated that this
scheduling option would meet the scheduling needs of older students
very effectively and would allow for greater flexibility in course
work, credit load, and personnel considerations. One individual indi-
cated that adults were more willing to commit to shorter duration
courses. The six who thought weekend courses were "fever Needed"
objected primarily on the grounds that educational quality would be
In spite of the smatterings of minority opinions, the vast
majority of respondents thought that alternatives to eight to five
scheduling were needed for older students but that the issues of
educational quality must be addressed in the design and implementation
of these options.
As can be seen from Table 12, a long list of support services
was recommended with none receiving less than a "Moderately Needed"
median. Surprisingly, onlyone item (134) received a median of
Table 12. Support Services
2 115. Establish adult student center for adult student
2 116. Provide orientation program for older students
2 117. Offer noncredit "brush up" courses
3 118. Provide longer hours for food service
3 119. Offer "Prep for CLEP" classes .
2 120. Offer study skills workshops
2 121. Provide support groups of older students funded by
the institution as a student activity
2 122. Provide self-development labs to teach needed
Table 12. Continued
3 123. Establish interaction groups of older students with
2.5 124. Link older student alumni with new older students to
help them get started
2 125. Provide for child care (free or subsidized)
3 126. Broker car pool linkages
3 127. Encourage public transportation to accommodate
evening and weekend older students
2 128. Set up tutoring program
3 129. Provide recreational opportunities for older students
2 130. Make parking available, near classes
3 131. Maintain after hours hotline for older students
3 132. Establish a lounge for older students
2 133. Involve older students in planning services
1 134. Recognize older students for academic honors
2 135. Include older students in campus organizations and
2 136. Establish older students column in campus and/or local
2 137. Provide housing alternatives, e.g., married student
housing, on-campus housing, and off-campus subsidized
2 138. Establish an information bank of off-campus housing
3 139. Provide physical space for older students to study,
eat/prepare meals, or even spend a night
"Always Needed" which suggested that older students be recognized for
academic honors. Obviously many believed that the recognition of
older students for excellence in academics would serve as a means of
encouraging other adults to continue their educations.
The items receiving median ratings of "Highly Needed" received
little discussion from the respondents. The few comments made
indicated that either the suggestion was too costly or that it would
not be used by older students. There was a general feeling among a
small minority that older students should use the student services
provided for younger students. These "Highly Needed" services can
be divided into on-campus social support services (115, 121, 133,
135, and 136), academic support services (116, 117, 120, 122, and
128), and life/situational support services (125, 130, 137, and 138).
One item (124) suggested that older students be linked with
older student alumni for initial support and received five minority
opinions which agreed wholeheartedly. These respondents thought
that this kind of linkage would be a good way to provide support for
the beginning older student. However, three individuals disagreed
saying that it was not important and should be provided by the staff.
The items receiving median ratings of "Moderately Needed"
received the most opposition in this section. These items can be
divided into personal services (118, 126, 127, 129, 132, and 139),
advanced placement services (119), and administrative support (123
and 131). Extension of food service hours to accommodate older
students (118) was thought to be too costly by two respondents.
Brokering car pools (126) and helping to alter public transportation
(127) both received minority support claiming that these services
were essential for adults who might not have a personal car to drive
to campus. Recreation for older students was thought to be "Never
Needed" by two but was thought to be "Always Needed" by one person
who thought that adults would be attracted by the additional activities.
The two "home away from home" items (132 and 139) received five and
three individual minority opinions, respectively, saying that these
services provide older students an opportunity to interact with their
peers. The negative comments by two individuals indicated that it
was a bad practice to isolate adults on campus. The one item (119)
which referred to "Prep for CLEP" classes received no minority opin-
ion, though it is interesting to note that the respondents in general
thought this was of less value than the other academic support
services mentioned above. The two administrative support items
(123 and 131) received minority opinions indicating that rap groups
with faculty would reduce fears and provide good support to older
students though one said that older students tended to do this with
faculty on their own initiative. The after hours hotline was seen as
not cost effective even though one individual pointed out that it was
a necessary service on campuses that close down at five in the
In general, the items that were rated higher in this group were
those that dealt with academic recognition of older students, on
campus social support, academic support, and life situational support.
Those that received only moderate ratings dealt with personal sup-
port services, advanced placement services, and administrative sup-
port services. However, this list can be seen more as a priority
ranking of support services needed by adults if a college and univer-
sity is interested in recruiting and retaining adults.
Question Two Responses
In round one, question two asked the directors of admissions
to list the skills and competencies needed by admissions officers to
recruit older students during the next decade. Round two asked them
to rate each of the round one responses in terms of whether it was
"Always Needed," "Highly Needed," "Moderately Needed," "Seldom
Needed," or "Never Needed." Round three asked them to explain their
scores if they chose to maintain more than one point deviation from
the median. Consequently, the second round generated the medians or
consensus opinions, and the third round generated the minority
The responses from round one were grouped into the following
categories to aid the respondents in subsequent rounds:
1. Skills needed by admissions personnel,
2. Knowledge needed by admissions personnel,
3. Experience needed by admissions personnel,
4. Personal characteristics needed by admissions personnel.
Some of the respondents said that the responses generated were too
ideal. In fact, one stated, "It would be nice to have admissions
counselors with all of the skills listed, but they don't exist." The
other general comment was that these characteristics were not unique
to admissions personnel dealing with older student recruitment. All
admissions personnel should have all of these characteristics to some
degree. No item in the list received a median response of "Seldom
Needed" or "Never Needed." Very few items received any minority
Skills Needed by Admissions Personnel
Of the 35 skills listed (see Table 13), 11 were rated "Always
Needed," 22 were rated "Highly Needed," and 2 were rated "Moderately
Table 13. Skills Needed by Admissions Personnel
1 1. Counseling
2 2. Analytical
1 3. Communications
2 4. Management
2 5. Advertising
2 6. Networking
1 7. Individual problem solving
2 8. Benefit analysis
2 9. Attention to detail
3 10. Curriculum development
2 11. Selling
1 12. Public speaking
2 13. Evaluating nontraditional learning
2 14. Marketing research
2 15. Program marketing to older students
2 16. Ability to work with business and industry
1 17. Ability to work with faculty
2 18. Ability to reach older students in work settings
2 19. Planning skills
2 20. Organizing skills
2 21. Assessing older'students potential for academic work
1 22. Advising
2 23. Persuading
2 24. Decision making skills
2 25. Ability to design and write brochures
2 26. Ability to work with campus publications people
1 27. Human relations skills
2 28. Career planning skills
1 29. Ability to track down answers to unusual questions
1 30. Writing skills
31. Public relations ability
Table 13. Continued
2 32. Research skills
1 33. Ability to make community contacts
3 34. Data processing skills
Needed." The 11 "Highly Rated" items were (1) Counseling, (3) Com-
munications, (7) Individual problem solving, (12) Public speaking,
(17) Ability to work with faculty, (22) Advising, (27) Human relations
skills, (29) Ability to track down answers to unusual questions,
(30) Writing skills, (31) Public relations ability, and (33) Ability
to make community contacts. Only three received minority opinions.
Three respondents said that "Individual problem solving" was not
needed, should be handled by the counseling center, or should be
referred to someone else, respectively. Advising was seen as either
the responsibility of the faculty or simply not needed by three
respondents. Public relations ability was seen by one rater as a
specialty needed by only one person in each office.
The items that received "Highly Needed" median ratings and
no minority opinions were (2) Analytical, (4) Management, (5) Adver-
tising, (6) Networking, (8) Benefit analysis, (9) Attention to detail,
(16) Ability to work with business and industry, (18) Ability to
reach older students in work settings, (19) Planning skills, (2) Or-
ganizing skills, (21) Assessing older students potential for academic
work, (24) Decision making skills, (25) Ability to design and write
brochures, and (26) Ability to work with campus publications people.
Selling (11) was seen by one as too high pressure, while another
thought that education should not be "sold." Evaluating nontraditional
learning (13) was seen by two as an academic function while one indi-
vidual pointed out that this was seldom needed in technical programs.
One individual thought that both market research (14) and program
marketing to older students (15) were not needed. "Persuading" (23)
received comments from six individuals who thought that admissions
personnel should never persuade but instead inform. Career planning
skills (28) were seen by one respondent as too specialized to be part
of admissions. Research skills (32) were seen by two respondents as
needed only if not available in the institutional research office.
Two items received "Moderately Needed" median ratings (10 and
34). Both items received a number of strongly worded minority opin-
ions in favor of these being "Always Needed." Curriculum development
skills (10) were thought to be needed to help understand nontradi-
tional students, to communicate the needs of older students to the
curriculum development people on campus, and to be effectively involved
in the delivery of courses to part-time and off-campus older students.
One individual said that curriculum development skills were never
needed because the admissions personnel do not have the academic
background necessary. Data processing skills (34) were seen by four
individuals as absolutely necessary for all admissions personnel.
In general, the items listed as "Skills Needed by Admissions
Personnel" should all be taken into account when assessing an indi-
vidual's ability to function as a recruiter of older students.
Knowledge Needed by Admissions Personnel
Of the 25 items generated in this category, 6 received "Always
Needed" median ratings, 16 received "Highly Needed" median ratings,
and 3 received "Moderately Needed" median ratings (see Table 14).
Table 14. Knowledge Needed by Admissions Personnel
1 35. Needs of older students
2 36. Career information
1 37. Graduation requirements
2 38. Demographics of older students at your college
1 39. College's programs
2 40. Occupational opportunities in relation to academic
2 41. Nontraditional learning experiences in the community
2 42. Industry and its needs
2. 43. Transcript evaluation
2 44. Transfer articulation agreements
2 45. Other educational programs in your area
2 46. Self-improvement opportunities for older students
2 47. Knowledge of tests evaluating nontraditional learning
2 48. ACE guide for evaluation of military and employer
3 49. Credit for experience formulas
3 50. Veterans administration programs
1 51. Financial aid
1 52. Institutional policies
2 53. Child care needs and services available
2 54. Job market in your area
2 55. Older students' programs at other institutions
1 56. Academic fields
2 57. Adult development and learning theory
Table 14. Continued
3 58. The dynamics of grief as it relates to adults in
2 59. Knowledge of how to use public media effectively
Those items rated highest and lowest received the most minority opin-
ion. Three items received "Always Needed" ratings: Needs of older
students (35), College's programs (39), and Academic fields (56).
They received no minority opinions. Three other items receiving medians
of "Always Needed" generated minority comments that Graduation require-
ments (37), Financial aid (51), and Institutional policies (52) were
not that important. In all three cases the minority expressed the
opinion that others on campus were more qualified to handle student
concerns in these areas. Eight items received "Highly Needed" median
ratings without minority opinion: (36) Career information, (38) Older
student demographics, (41) Nontraditional learning experiences in the
community, (43) Transcript evaluation, (44) Transfer articulation
agreements, (45) Other educational programs in your area, (46) Self-
improvement opportunities for older students, and (47) Knowledge of
tests evaluating nontraditional learning. Other items receiving
"Highly Needed" median ratings did receive minority opinions. Knowledge
of occupational opportunities in relation to academic majors (40)
received a minority comment that this was more needed by career coun-
selors. One individual said that knowledge of industry and its needs
(42) was not appropriate for a liberal arts college. Knowledge of the
ACE guide (48) was seen by two individuals as not appropriate. One
individual said that because older students are from the community
they do not need child care (53). Job market knowledge (54) was seen
by one respondent as more appropraitely needed by career counselors.
Because older students are place bound, admissions personnel have
little need for knowledge of older student programs elsewhere (55)
according to one rater. Adult development and learning theory (57)
was seen by two respondents as more appropriate to faculty and ad-
visors. Finally, one individual said that only one person on the
admissions staff needed to have knowledge of how to use media (59),
not all of them.
The three items receiving "Moderately Needed" median ratings
all received minority opinion rating them as "Always Feeded." Knowl-
edge of credit for experience formulas (49), Veterans administration
programs (50), and Dynamics of grief as it relates to adults in
transition (58) were all advocated by three to five individuals who
said that these areas of knowledge would make the admissions officer
more credible with older students and would, in the case of the last
one, aid in sensitizing younger admissions officers.
As with the skills needed by admissions personnel, knowledge
areas all received "Moderately Needed" median ratings and should be
viewed as relatively important in assessing admissions officers.
Experience Needed by Admissions Personnel
The four items grouped under the general category of experience
received either "Highly Needed" or "Moderately Needed" median ratings
(see Table 15). Working with adults (61) and Having a generalist
academic background (63) were seen as more desirable than having work
Table 15. Experience Needed by Admissions Personnel
3 60. Work outside higher education
2 61. Work with adults
3 62. Academic work as an older student
2 63. Generalist academic background
experience outside higher education (60) and having experience as an
older student (62). Two individuals said that experience working with
adults was not needed because a good admissions officer can work with
anyone and it is more important that a person can relate to others.
One individual said that personal characteristics should be of more
concern than academic background. Though one individual said that
work outside higher education was of no benefit in working with older
students, three other respondents said this experience was "Always
Needed" to sensitize admissions officers to the needs and concerns
of older students. In the same vein, while two respondents indi-
cated that academic work as an older student was not necessary, four
individuals said it would help to sensitize the admissions officer.
Again the ratings indicate that experience in these four areas
would tend to increase the effectiveness of the admissions officer in
recruiting older students.
Personal Characteristics Needed by Admissions Personnel
Of the 12 items grouped in this section, 11 received "Always
Needed" median ratings with no minority opinion: items 64, 64, 67,
68, 69, 70, 71, 72, 73, 74, and 75 (see Table 16). The one remaining
Table 16. Personal Characteristics Needed by Admissions Personnel
1 64. Enthusiasm for higher education
1 65. Enthusiasm
3 66. Over 25 years old
1 67. Belief in service orientation of admissions
1 68. Willingness to work odd hours
1 69. Unconditional positive regard
1 70. Flexibility
1 71. Empathy
1 72. Patience
1 73. Support
1 74. Maturity
1 75. Sensitivity
item generated some small controversy, receiving a "Moderately Needed"
median rating and minority opinions both for and against. The six
individuals who rated being over 25 (item 66) as "Always Needed" said
that having older people on the staff makes a positive statement to
older students, that being of the same age helps sensitize the ad-
missions officer, and that older students need someone with whom they
can identify. The one negative remark indicated, as was mentioned in
the experience section, that it might be helpful but was not really
"Unconditional positive regard" was not rated by a number of
respondents who apparently did not recognize the counseling term.
The items listed here are less likely to be measurable and
identifiable in individuals who are being considered for positions to
recruit older students, but these may be the most important as indi-
cated by the near unanimous consensus.
Differences Between Large and Small Institutions
In order to evaluate Research Question III, "Are there signifi-
cant differences in the ratings of larger institutions and smaller
institutions on the first two research questions?," t-tests were
calculated for each of the 139 items on Question I and the 75 items
on Question II. On Question I, nine items (9, 16, 29, 36, 37, 70,
71, 98, and 99) were rated significantly different, and on Question II,
four items (16, 37, 42, and 64) were rated significantly different.
The .05 level of significance was used.
Question I--Specific Methods and Activities
Item 9 ratings indicated that smaller institutions have a
greater need for the elimination of strict application deadlines for
older students. Item 16 ratings indicated that larger institutions
have a greater need to provide academic testing for credit. Item 29
ratings indicated that larger institutions have a greater need for
cooperative education programs for older students. Item 36 ratings
indicated that smaller institutions have a greater need for providing
classes to expand the older students' horizons, such as philosophy
and psychology, with discussions on how they view life. Item 37
ratings indicated that larger institutions have a greater need to
provide courses directed at job retraining for people with outmoded
skills. Item 70 ratings indicated that smaller institutions have a