University Marketing and Students’ Perception of a College Experience
This research conducted at a northwestern inter-mountain state university examined the marketing the university conducts to attract more students. This marketing is usually one characterized by allowing future students to obtain a “memorable college experience” through the use of extraneous goods and services offered by the university. Yet it was my belief that the university’s marketing unduly influenced students’ perceptions of what a “memorable college experience” was. This research is framed by works such as the New Spirit of Capitalism, and marketing’s literature on relationship marketing. To answer this hypothesis, fifteen open-ended interviews lasting roughly an hour and a half were conducted between the researcher and the student interviewee. These interviews uncovered that non-traditional students felt more left out of the university’s community than traditional students. While the university’s persistent calls for student involvement may not be possible for non-traditional students, the university is alienating these students away from obtaining a “memorable college experience”. On the other side of the spectrum, traditional students were more likely to be involved in on-campus recreation and other non-academic secondary services offered by the university. This involvement created network of traditional students who then use this social network as their support structure. Both traditional and non-traditionally aged students found that university goods and services, such as the recreation center, food offered on campus, and student involvement would not be their most memorable part of their university experience, instead citing things such as social connections gained through employment and or gained within the classroom.