Data Mining Course Choice Sets and Behaviours for Target Marketing of Higher Education


As the higher education (HE) sector has expanded, so has the variety of courses on offer, with applicants now choosing between greater numbers of potential options. Where applications to HE are administered through centralised admission services, applicants will often make multiple initial course choices, which offers an opportunity to examine systematic groupings of interest within course choice sets, and assess whether certain types of student are more likely to make concentrated or diffuse subject selections. Utilising a national database of an entire cohort’s application behaviour, the empirical findings presented in this article indicate that there are clusters of subjects that are applied for in combination, and that certain ethnic minority, socio-economic groups and neighbourhood types are more likely to make more diffuse subject choices. This creates an information base of generalised course choice behaviours that HE institutions could utilise for targeted marketing, recruitment and selection activities, and additionally forms the basis of a decision support framework that could be implemented in a variety of online tools to help guide student courses.

Journal of Targeting, Measurement and Analysis for Marketing