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The effects of pre-enrolment emotions and peer group interaction on students’ satisfaction

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Higher education institutions are increasingly involved in measuring students' satisfaction and communicating messages to prospective, current, and previous students. A review of the literature suggests that institutions have traditionally focused on cognitive rather than affective measures, and have communicated messages in a media environment that could be dominated by the institution. This paper seeks to contribute by investigating the role of peer-to-peer social network media in evoking emotions about attending university prior to enrolment and subsequent satisfaction with it.

A two-stage study involving 519 prospective students from a UK higher education institution were asked about their cognition and emotions one month prior to enrolment and again one month after. Hypotheses related their involvement in online peer-to-peer media to their perceived level of satisfaction, emotions evoked, and likelihood of recommending the institution.

It was found that emotions were a better predictor of likelihood of recommendation than cognitive measures of satisfaction. Positive emotions evoked during the pre-enrolment phase led to positive emotions post-enrolment. There was an association between prospective students' level of involvement with online communities prior to enrolment and their level of evoked positive emotions.
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Keywords: emotions; higher education; peer-to-peer communication; satisfaction; social network media

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Swansea University, UK

Publication date: 2011-10-01

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