This study focuses on a group of students participating in a summer music camp on a large public university’s main campus. The study investigates their characteristics and illuminates some of the influences and important factors within their college choice process. Ultimately, the study is intended to increase the knowledge about potential students within the fine arts so that more of the best, brightest and most prepared can be matched with institutions of higher education.
The study began with an observation of the demographic and biographic characteristics within a sample of music campers enrolled in a summer program for high school students at the hosting university. The analysis of this data was used to uncover the type of students interested in pursuing further education in the fine arts. In addition, the study examined student perceptions of the College of Music and the hosting university during and after participation in the program as related to four selected college choice factors identified in the literature on academic marketing. Furthermore, an aim of the research was to observe the importance of college choice factors for these individuals.
The study involved quantitative and qualitative analysis including pre and post-camp surveys and focus groups, a t test along with means and standard deviation were conducted. Four focus groups were conducted with campers to augment the pre and post-survey data. Questions asked in the groups mirrored the survey’s focus on perceptions of the four college choice factors: faculty, facilities, social atmosphere and academics. The focus group results were intended to offer insight into perceptions of College of Music and the hosting university’s qualities, but delve much deeper into the camper’s experience, their feelings, thoughts, and priorities regarding the four college choice factors. A descriptive narrative was created from the transcriptions and two camper profiles were also created to further understanding of the college choice dynamic among fine arts students in the music camp at the hosting university.