LEADING Strategies

The Impact of Campus Environments on College Choice and Persistence

The reasons a student may choose a particular institution when seeking a postsecondary education are many. So, too, are the reasons students may opt to persist at their chosen institutions. However, a sense of belonging and a strong emotional connection often supply students all the incentive they need. College campus environments play a pivotal role in the decision-making process, as the ecology, climate, and culture of an institution profoundly influence student perceptions and behaviors. Consequently, higher education administrators must take into account more than just their institution’s good name, as the attractiveness and sociability of a college campus evoke feelings of acceptance and affirmation that extend beyond the classroom. This article explores the influences that affect student perceptions and explains why the campus environment is crucial to both college choice and persistence. In addition, it deconstructs the components that comprise the campus environment and offers insight into how administrators can elicit desirable student responses.

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