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Journal of College Admission, n197 p6-13 Fall 2007

Throughout the country and through the years, several colleges and universities have been the focal point of violence and tragedy. These tragedies include the brutal beating and murder of a gay student; a campus bonfire that killed 12 students and alumni; a residence hall fire that claimed the lives of three students; terrorist activities in two of America's urban centers; racial riots that effectively shut down a large city; and shootings of students and professors by college classmates. When news of crises such as these makes national headlines, prospective students and their parents may reconsider attending or even withdraw their applications from the institutions associated with the crises. Thus, universities and colleges must work hard to keep these students interested in their institutions, and assure parents and students that the institutions are safe. This article presents the results of research on the ways a campus and/or community crisis may influence the college-choice decision of prospective students and their parents, and offers recommendations to colleges. The study was conducted at three institutions that varied in size, location, and type (Interlaken University, Bern College, and Luzern University). The crises investigated involved a residence hall fire, a racially-based community crisis, and an on-campus student death. Participants in the study had two major recommendations to share with colleges based on their own experiences: communication and establishment of a crisis management plan. (Contains 4 tables.)

Descriptors: College Choice, Crisis Management, Dormitories, Urban Areas, Violence, College Applicants, School Safety, Death, Decision Making, Emergency Programs, News Media, Educational Administration

National Association for College Admission Counseling. 1631 Prince Street, Alexandria, VA 22314-2818. Tel: 800-822-6285; Tel: 703-836-2222; Fax: 703-836-8015; e-mail: info[at]; Web site:

Autor: Kelsay, Lisa S.


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