It's truly fascinating how every year 18-year-old students and 100(+)-year-old universities find a way to connect and form multi-year relationships. At what point does this age gap cause a problem? Or is that already happening? As students constantly jump feet first into new technology without ever looking back, it's getting harder and harder for universities to keep up.
Take a look at this recent article written by InContext magazine that explains four ways to optimize admissions for Generation Z. I know very few admissions officers who'd say they have strategies for all of these areas. In fact, I'm not sure how many could say they're doing even one of them well. But they know they have to soon.
1. Students Expect Instant Gratification:
The article says that teenagers have an 8-second attention span and admissions processes should be audited to speed up the application process. This is a solid concept but admissions will never be able to respond in 8-seconds. The key takeaway here is that students expect quick responses, but that the response doesn't have to be complete. Maybe it still takes weeks to turn an application, but if the student asks for a status update, having someone in admissions quickly write back that they'll look into it is essential.
2. Students Expect Frequent (Automated) Communication:
The article says quick responses are very important, similar to what I said above. However, it stresses automating that communication. I can see this happening when certain steps are completed, like an application received, but again, a human responding quickly to a question, even if they don't have a complete answer, is most important.
3. Students Expect Digital Forms:
If your school still uses paper to communicate with students, we need to have a bigger conversation. This is a very valid point but hopefully it doesn't apply to many schools any longer.
4. Students Expect Digital Self-Service:
This concept is absolutely true and one of the best ways for schools to modernize their systems. All information for students should be easily available online without having to communicate with a human. Bringing student data together from multiple sources is no easy or inexpensive task, but still absolutely necessary.
While students expect to find all the information they need online, they also expect the ability to connect personally with students, teachers, and staff to better understand the culture of your institution and decide if it's a good fit. At Versation we strive to improve this important human connection because of the dramatic effect it has on student enrollment.