This paper presents an institutional research on service quality conducted to analyze the students' motives and influences on their selection of studies and university. The research was carried out by collecting data from first-year students in a multi-campus system where institutions are independent in their recruitment strategies. Results from six consecutive years are presented. The meaningful coincidence with previous research, the stability of some findings along the years, and the possibilities of this approach to be useful for strategic purposes and in marketing-related issues, make this methodology of particular interest. These results are also meaningful with a view to improving quality practices in the context of competition for the best students, and improving guidance practices to match students' motives with higher education offer.