In the last decade, female students' enrolment in higher education has experienced significant growth. However, male and female students still differ in criteria set of choosing higher education institutions. While several studies have been disentangled in developed countries in analyzing gender differences in pursuing higher education, a similar area of studies conducted in developing countries is scarce. The purpose of this study is to examine gender differences and the factors that influence first-year students' choice of higher education in a developing country.
The study involved 575 students who were either enrolled in an undergraduate or foundation program of an international branch campus. We tested the hypotheses using partial least squares multigroup analysis (PLS-MGA).
Our results revealed that graduate employability, information sources, program characteristics, institution characteristics and campus safety were influential factors affecting the students' institutional choice. The MGA results also indicated that gender differences exist in selecting higher education institutions. Male students are more strongly influenced by information sources such as family, friends, media compared with female students.
Very few international branch campus choice studies explore gender differences in developing countries. This study enriches the current literature of institutional choice through the lens of an Asian developing country and extends the discourse regarding the role of gender in influencing students' institutional choice, of which they are commonly overlooked in most literature. The study has significant implications for student recruitment managers in higher education institution to develop marketing strategies targeting to potential male and female students.