How Student Motivations Should Alter Your College Marketing Strategies

Gen Z college students have benefited from their predecessors in one significant way: they aren't willing to take on the debt Millennials accrued to pay for a college education. More importantly, they don't believe they need a degree to be successful. Gen Z college students are the most racially and ethnically diverse of any generation. These shifting views shape new patterns for how colleges approach their marketing.  

So how do these qualities factor into the students' choices and those of colleges seeking to attract them to their schools? Gen Z demands a new paradigm, and higher education must recognize that what worked for previous groups of college students will not work for this one. To take college marketing to the next level, colleges and universities must step out of the old strategy and use a more diverse and inclusive medium. A public media sponsorship can be the key. 

How Learning Institutions Have Adapted Their Programs 

What higher learning institutions have learned about what motivates Gen Z has led them to adapt their programs to attract this discerning group of young adults. So, how are they responding to this generation's concerns? 

Get Serious About Community and DEI  

As the most diverse generation to date, it's no surprise that community activism and diversity, equity, and inclusion are paramount when choosing a college. Students are interested in investing their learning dollars in institutions that proactively work to dismantle racism and biases toward sexual orientation and gender identity. Programs that resonate with this generation partner with community organizations or businesses that support them.  

Build More Value Into Degree Programs  

This generation always has an eye on their return on investment. Notoriously high tuition costs aren't simply an uncomfortable truth for Gen Z, as they are practical and willing to look for alternatives that fit their requirements. In response, colleges must focus on delivering value, such as programs that will immediately translate into earning opportunities rather than accumulating degrees.   

Diversify the Learning Model With Flexible Options  

Another outdated learning environment is traditional classes that require students to show up to sit in a classroom. Gen Z needs flexibility, as many work while learning or commute home to save money. They don't view distance learning as a disadvantage because they are well-versed in transitioning from digital to face-to-face interaction. Colleges must offer a combination of learning opportunities from virtual to in-person and experiential. 

Offer Support Services  

Gen Z students also expect more support services than previous generations. They know the toll that college pressure can take on mental health and the importance of having a good support network. They expect services that support them on their path to graduation and help them prepare to transition to working life.  

Show That They Have Immersive Technology  

Gen Z was born into the age of technology. They have likely never had a memory that didn't involve some tech, whether in learning or recreation. This value and purpose-driven group wants immersive technology that doesn't waste their time. They expect experiential learning, and immersive technology is an essential component.   

Give Parents More Opportunities To Get Involved  

Gen Z college students are more likely to live at home with their parents to save money while pursuing their degrees. Most parents have been instrumental in their children's education throughout their formative years, and many still fund their kids' education. It only makes sense that parental involvement would be an attractive perk.  

How Public Media Marketing Factors Into College Marketing Strategies  

The key attributes of public media marketing factor into today's college marketing strategies by:  

    • - Reaching an educated and influential audience, including the parents who are footing all or part of the bill - Public media audiences are highly educated and value lifelong learning.

  • - Lends credibility through the Halo Effect - When colleges and universities show that they support public media, they immediately garner a higher level of respect and goodwill through their association with a beloved institution. 

  • - Shares informative, educational messages on a clutter-free airway - Because public media does not allow advertising, the sponsor messages not only stand out but are viewed as informational, not a sales ploy.  

Gen Z is not willing to take on the debt that their Millennial predecessors did for education. They are practical and immediate value from their tuition dollars. Colleges can attract Gen Z by recognizing their concerns, giving them options for achieving their goals, and showing that they invest in the communities they serve through public media sponsorship. 

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