Quality of alternatives, institutional preference, and institutional commitment among first‐year college students

Morris Alan Okun, Brian Goegan, Natasha Mitric

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


We tested the hypotheses derived from investment theory that quality of alternatives and institutional preference exert additive and interactive effects on institutional commitment in a sample of 1166 first‐year college students at a large state university, who were surveyed within two weeks of the start of their first semester. As predicted, a hierarchical regression analysis revealed: as quality of alternatives increased, institutional commitment decreased; as preference for the university increased, institutional commitment increased; and as institutional preference decreased, the inverse relation between quality of alternatives and institutional commitment increased. The findings of the present study suggest that first‐year college students who do not rank their university as one of their top three choices and who rate the quality of alternatives as high should be classified as at risk of dropping out and targeted for proactive advising.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)371-383
Number of pages13
JournalEducational Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2009



  • higher education
  • motivation
  • tertiary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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