Content analysis of recruitment videotapes from institutions utilizing enrollment management systems
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The frequent use and socializing effect of recruitment videos suggests that determining the messages the videos communicate is an important matter to address. This study analyzed the messages of 30 college recruitment videos in regards to four content areas: academic, social, personal, and institutional characteristics. The content analysis compared the messages from public and private institutions, as well as the messages from small, medium, and large institutions. The narrative and images in the videos were categorized as relating to one of the four content areas. The frequency and duration of content devoted to each area was analyzed. The actual messages communicated about each content area were also analyzed. Each video in the nationally representative sample of four-year institutions was obtained from an institution with an existing enrollment management system. The enrollment management philosophy includes a commitment to depicting institutions in an honest an accurate fashion. Since enrollment management systems were designed to stabilize enrollments, examining how recruitment videos depict college to prospective students is an important step in assessing the effectiveness of the enrollment management system.
Results of the content analysis for duration and frequency indicated that videos emphasized personal issues. Academic issues received the second greatest attention, followed by institutional characteristics. Social issues received the least emphasis. Although very few differences among institutional types were found, large, public institutions devoted the most emphasis to personal issues.
The analysis of messages revealed that college provides students with a great deal of practical, hands-on learning. The purpose of attending college was characterized as career preparation. Narrative indicated that academics were challenging,; however, this characterization was not supported by images in the videos. Images indicated that studying is a casual activity, and that students receive support, often through one-on-one instruction and interaction with faculty. Another disconnect between narrative and images was found in the characterization of student diversity. Narrative indicated institutional commitment to diversity, while images displayed a majority of racially homogenous social groups. Finally, institutions were pictured as sites of activity and movement. Students were frequently depicted walking on campus, characterizing them as busy and purposeful.
Institutions would be well advised to case their recruitment videos on data gathered through institutional research. By presenting accurate messages about their respective campuses, institutions would help prospective student form realistic expectations about the college experience.
- Masters Theses