The unstable and turbulent environment in which higher education institutions all over the world currently have to operate poses many management and marketing challenges to such institutions. As non-profit organisations, the ability of higher education institutions to survive and grow would be enhanced by up-to-date knowledge and information regarding the higher education environment, and more specifically by having marketing and communication strategies that might influence students making decisions on which university to enrol at. The main goal of this study was to investigate the relevant importance of the choice factors that prospective students considered, as well as the sources of information used in the decision making process when they decided to enrol as first-year Economic and Management Sciences students at a higher education institution in South Africa. A non-probability convenience sample of 1 500 students from six higher education institutions participated in the study. The findings of the study indicate that quality of teaching and employment prospects ranked the highest as choice factors. The word-of-mouth influence of parents, siblings and friends were the least influential factors. Campus visits and open-days are the most valuable sources of information for prospective students. Advertisements on television or in the printed media are not considered to be particularly valuable sources of information.