According to the “iGen Goes to School” study, college admissions and communications programs are not resonating with today’s new cohort of digital natives. Dubbed the “iGeneration” by Stefan Pollack, author of Disrupted, iGens are those born between 1994 and 2004 and require “information on demand” with a professed inclination to trust the advice of “friends,” or strangers, who share their opinions freely on social media platforms.
Considering the decreasing number of applicants, college admissions and communications departments are under pressure to reexamine their customary communications platforms and enrollment marketing mix. To be competitive, enrollment management strategies for the next generation of applicants will need a more personalized, multi-channel approach.
The two-part study consisted of four qualitative focus groups conducted in Boston, New York and Los Angeles, and a quantitative online survey of 130 current or recent college applicants. Findings indicated that iGens are dissatisfied with the impersonal nature of traditional college communications outreach, signifying a serious disruption in the higher education enrollment marketing process, which includes a barrage of emails, view books, letters and other print communiques addressed “Dear Student or Applicant,” and are often deemed irrelevant to the audience.
The results of this study hold major implications for the future of college enrollment and communications programs. The goal is not to reinvent the enrollment funnel, but to find moments in time during each institution’s application, acceptance and enrollment process where marketing professionals can insert new ideas that resonate with iGens.
Too see how we can use our higher education marketing and PR expertise to help you bridge the enrollment gap, click here.