Student recruitment in allied health educational programs: the importance of initial source of contact

J Allied Health. Summer 2003;32(2):65-70.


As a part of a larger study on recruitment and marketing strategies adopted by allied health programs, this article examines the effect of initial source of information about allied health career opportunities on students' decisions to select and enroll in allied health programs. Using data obtained from 1,809 students currently enrolled in six allied health disciplines, this investigation revealed that allied health students receive career information from various sources. Practicing health professionals are the most effective initial source of information for prospective allied health students. Prospective students are more inclined to enroll in allied health educational programs if they are encouraged to do so by a practitioner. Also, it was observed that 1) most students decide about their career interest at an early age; 2) their first-degree interest is not always the one they eventually pursue in college; and 3) the effect of initial source of information on enrollment decision varied by discipline. Contrary to a widely held assumption, only two groups of students (physical therapy and dental hygiene) identified high school counselors as an important source of initial information about allied health educational programs.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Allied Health Occupations / education*
  • Career Choice
  • Education, Professional / organization & administration*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • School Admission Criteria*
  • United States