Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School



This study will concentrate on one small, yet vital, public--the public composed of high school seniors. If this public is "aware" of what the South Dakota colleges and universities have to offer, then the public relations programs of those schools are having some effect. If the students are preparing for a college career, then it is important to the future of the state's higher education that they are aware of the costs and the offerings of its schools. Daniel Gladstone, a high school senior from New Jersey, supported this thinking in a personal opinion column in "Saturday Review." He said that high school seniors rarely or never have a say in what occurs in their school or what will occur in the college or university they are planning to attend. Yet, in both cases, they as students are exposed to the decisions made by others and have to abide by them. Why, he asks, can't the high school seniors let their opinions be known? Generally, we may consider the influence of background factors on high school students as threefold--home experiences, school experiences, and post high school experiences. Therefore, perhaps an even broader public attitude can be presented through a survey of high school seniors, since they may also be reflecting the thoughts of friends both older and younger. In past decades, many children of unskilled laborers were found not to be interested in going on to college. This attitude probably reflected the thinking of the parent, who had found his own experiences with any education as disheartening or unprofitable. "Most students, by the time they reach college age, will have attitudes and responses that are deeply rooted in their pasts," McCloskey says. "And,'' he adds, the more (students) perceive education as a means of further achievement and satisfaction, the more favorable their attitudes toward it will be. If the communications specialist can generate interest through his efforts, then perhaps he can cause the student to take a second look at whether or not to attempt higher education. From the communications standpoint, McCloskey continues, it is important to note that the opinion-forming process opens minds, generates interest, and influences actions, particularly when the person's existing conditions are considered unsatisfactory. Often, a student's favorable change in opinion toward a form of education takes place while his attitudes remain unchanged toward education as a whole.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Universities and colleges -- South Dakota

Schools -- Public relations



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University