Year of Publication



Martin School of Public Policy and Administration

Executive Summary

Student recruitment and retention are issues of importance for both graduate schools and graduate programs alike. Administrative decisions must be made, regarding these topics, which will best benefit the school or program. Within the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration, those decisions can be influenced by data collected on current and past students. Analysis of data obtained from the student admissions application and a survey sent to students accepted into the Martin School can inform these management decisions. The information developed can highlight areas of recruiting concern such as attracting a higher number of high-quality in-state applicants, increasing diversity, providing relevant internship opportunities for international applicants, and maintaining the academic excellence of students accepted into the program. Additionally, learning what influences a student’s choice to attend a particular graduate school or program can help the Martin School tailor recruitment practices.

The utility of current Martin School data in aiding administrators when making recruitment decisions was the focus of this study; specifically identifying any limitations of the data. An analysis of two sets of data obtained from the Martin School pinpoints several areas of potential recruiting interest. The analysis finds students whose applications were rejected by the Martin School between 2000 and 2010 were more likely to be male with an unknown ethnicity and reside in a country outside of the United States. Applicants who were accepted into the Martin School were more likely to be Caucasian females from the United States who reside in a state other than Kentucky. Once admitted, students who chose to attend the Martin School were more likely to be Caucasian, live in Kentucky, and list the faculty and the academic program as influential factors leading them to select a graduate school. Students who chose not to attend the Martin School were more likely to have higher GRE scores, particularly quantitative scores, than students who did attend. Additionally, these students were more likely to not have their ethnicity included in the database; to be from a country outside of the United States; to be from a state other than Kentucky, if they are a United Stated resident; and to not complete the survey.

Recommendations are made for future collection and maintenance as the incompleteness of the data in its current state hinders the ability of analysis to draw accurate conclusions. Adjustments focus on collecting data which is consistent and complete. It is also recommended that the survey be altered. Adding new questions and altering current questions, creating an online survey form, and attempting to increase the response rate for students who did not attend the Martin School are among the recommended survey improvements. The Martin School datasets do have some utility in assisting administrators in making informed recruiting decisions. Yet, the flaws in each dataset undermine the ability of the data to help administrators as much as is possible. This analysis was unable to complete several interesting comparisons and may have made wrong assumptions due to holes in the data, but with the recommended changes, future analyses will be better equipped to make informative comparisons as well as address the questions which analysis left unanswered.