Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Pedro Villarreal III

Second Committee Member

Edmund Abaka

Third Committee Member

Dina Birman

Fourth Committee Member

Brian M. Orefice


This qualitative study used semi-structured interviews of five International Chinese Undergraduate (ICU) students attending a research university in South Florida to better understand how they experienced the college choice process. Unlike traditional U.S. native-born students, the literature indicates that some international students may have influencers linked to the financial costs associated with hiring educational agents in the college choice phases (Pimpa, 2003; Hossler & Gallagher, 1987), parental and familial aspirations for student, and institutional ranking information connected to marketing materials. Using thematic analysis, the following two major themes associated to four subthemes emerged as general findings from these analyses: 1) Chinese students have great aspirations for studying in the United States; a) Experiencing family support with opportunities of attending college; and b) Experiencing expectations of college with limited resources, as well as 2) The process of deciding and applying to college for international Chinese students involves adjusting their expectations relative to resources they receive; a) Experiencing agent support with completing college applications, and b) Utilizing guidance from agents to overcome admission obstacles. The results of these analyses are followed by a series of implications and recommendations for higher education administrators who work with international student services.


Influencers; College; Search; International; Students; Agents

Available for download on Saturday, December 14, 2019