The Impact of Digital Marketing Tactics on the Recruitment of Domestic First-Generation College Students in the Southwest United States

Noelle Seybert


In 2015, 36% of first-time freshmen applied to more than seven colleges or universities. In 2005, this figure was 17% (Soodik, 2017). This study assesses email and text messaging digital marketing touchpoints in the recruitment and matriculation of first-generation college students at a private, four-year institution in the southwest region of the United States of America and is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities (CCCU). In chapter two of this dissertation, the research explores the history of student college choice theories and examines the ways in which the original theory has changed throughout the years. Ultimately the study found that there was a positive relationship between text messaging and enrollment decisions which was nine times stronger than the relationship between email (B = 0.018 vs. B = 0.002). However, when text messages sent and replied to and email were compared in a regression, emails ceased to have a significant relationship (p = 0.078) with matriculation, as shown in Table 17. The dissertation concludes with areas for future research and areas for application to the enrollment marketing profession.