An exploratory study of factors influencing the college choice decision of undergraduate students in Malaysia

by Prof. Datin Paduka Dr. Samsinar Md. Sidin, Siti Rahayu Hussin and Dr. Tan Ho Soon

Asia Pacific Management Review , Vol.8(3), (2003), Pages 259-280


The higher education services industry in Malaysia has been given a boost in the 1990s by the Government’s policy liberalization and quite ironically, the Asian financial crisis. More students are now opting to study locally instead of going abroad. However, with the myriad of institutions and courses around, it is very difficult to understand how students select colleges of their choice.

This study seeks to explore the criteria with which students select their tertiary institutions. In essence, we would try to establish the ranking of variables thought to be important for college selection. Also, the degree of influence by external sources on students’ decisions would also be gauged. A total of 210 respondents from the Klang Valley were surveyed in this study. They comprised first-year ndergraduate students from four public universities and four private establishments.

The data collected from the survey was analyzed using the SPSS programme. A series of analyses, including descriptive and factor analysis were conducted on the data.

The results validated three of the four hypotheses of the research. It confirms that student selection of colleges actually depends on several criteria, including academic quality, facilities, campus urroundings, and personal characteristics. It also validates the contention that income affects the choice of students along the public-private education divide.

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