The recruitment and retention of international undergraduate students at selected colleges and universities in the state of Wisconsin

Steven Jeffrey Buuck, Marquette University


This study investigated the recruitment and retention of international undergraduate students at small, private colleges and universities in Wisconsin. This study sought to find successful recruitment and retention strategies and illuminate barriers to the recruitment and retention processes. The population consisted of 18 private colleges and universities in Wisconsin which enrolled fewer than 4,000 full-time undergraduate students. The research was conducted in four phases. In Phase I, a questionnaire was sent to all institutions in the population securing data on recruitment and retention statistics. In Phase II, a questionnaire was sent to all international undergraduate students currently enrolled in the population institutions. Phase III consisted of 11 interviews with administrators at three purposively selected focal case institutions. Phase IV consisted of 18 interviews with purposively selected international undergraduate students at the three sample focal case institutions. The findings indicated that most international undergraduate students first heard about their chosen college/university via friends or relatives. They chose to attend their chosen college/university because it offered the academic major they wished to pursue and because it was recommended to them by someone they know. They chose to remain at their chosen institution because they were treated well by the faculty, administration, and staff of the institution and because of the academic quality of the institution. Conclusions drawn from successful strategies for recruitment include financial aid, college/university-wide commitment to internationalism, institutional academic quality, active overseas recruitment, rolling admissions, and word of mouth recruitment. Successful strategies for retention included a qualified International Student Advisor, a significant international student population on campus, thorough orientation programs, available housing during vacations, interaction with the local community and American students, and small institutional and class size. Barriers to recruitment included the word "college" in an institution's name, lack of financial aid, and geographical location of the institution. Barriers to retention include small towns in which the institutions are located, lack of institutional name recognition, poor facilities, lack of interaction with American students, and living off campus. 21 implications drawn from the conclusions are presented, and recommendations for further research are provided.

Recommended Citation

Buuck, Steven Jeffrey, "The recruitment and retention of international undergraduate students at selected colleges and universities in the state of Wisconsin" (1996). Dissertations (1962 - 2010) Access via Proquest Digital Dissertations. AAI9719083.