The VPM Blog

Q&A with Generation Z: What They Are Looking For In Education

Posted by Alexa Russell on Nov 14, 2018 8:59:41 AM

Companies and brands are scrambling to figure out the best ways to connect with Generation Z. They have watched millennials grow up and want to be different than them. This also means that colleges need to find ways to engage with Generation Z as they are reaching the age to apply for college. So why are some of Generation Z deciding not to go to college? We conducted a Q&A with two people who are a part of Generation Z to try to understand their thought processes when deciding if they want to attend college or not. Our first Q&A was with Stephen White who is 20 years old and did not attend college. He chose to attend a film program instead.

Why did you decide not to go to college?

At the moment college stressed me out too much. I wanted to take a year off after I graduated high school. Around that time I started making videos with my friends and posting them on YouTube. And then another thing that with my career path, is that school isn’t really something that they look at on your resume and just because you have a film degree doesn’t mean you're going to get as much work as someone that’s been doing it since day 1 of them graduating high school. It’s about connections and help.

College I guess just isn’t something they are looking for. I have a friend whose parents are making her get a film degree and she was on the same path that I was but she’s spending all of her time doing school now instead of going on jobs or working.

Did you ever think about going to college?

My case was kind of different. My dad teaches at a college so I would get a discount. I thought about college when I was younger but it wasn’t until I got halfway through high school that I realized I don’t want to be in a school environment forever. Or if I am in a school environment I don’t want it to be stuff that I don’t care about.

Do you ever regret not going to college?

Sometimes, the social aspect of it is an obvious reason, because if you’re a social butterfly or not, you’re going to miss out on stuff just because you’re not there, you’re not in that environment.

It depends on how I’m feeling. I look at people who are trying to do what I’m doing and they are eating my dust.

Why do you think gen Z doesn’t want to go to college?

It’s really expensive now and if you are like my friend and your parents are making you get a degree you can just see the money being wasted, especially when its something where you know that you don’t need a degree deep down. And if you can do something without taking that extra hard step then they are obviously going to do it. It’s the awareness that you don’t have to follow the archetype. I think there are a lot of younger people breaking that flow of things. Sometimes that means going to college, sometimes it doesn’t, but a lot of people are realizing that you can do what you want to do without going to college.

Is there anything colleges can do to entice people like you to go?

If it works for you, it works for you. If you learn how the majority of people learn, college might work for you.

Deep down I know college is going to be slaving over papers and homework and projects and labs and stuff. A lot more hands-on is needed. It takes a certain amount of time to get to what you actually want to do with core classes. But, if you fit that mold, then do it. And it just seems kind of cookie cutter.

Another thing is that, a lot of media studies people in smaller cities, their programs in film aren’t realistic in terms of what it’s like in cities where there are a lot more productions happening. There is stuff that I learned the first or second week in my training that they still haven’t gotten to in college classes and that’s easy stuff.

Is there anything else important that you want to add?

I want to stress that if college is something that works for you, I’m not saying you shouldn’t do college. If you have the finances in order and you have scholarships and you know that what you want to do requires college, then go for it. For me, I just saw another way to do it. I consider myself lucky because the program that I went through I was the 4th graduating class and it was really early and it was a real big gamble because it was like are these people just taking my money or are they actually getting jobs? But they said people were getting jobs. I even have a friend that is actually working on "The Walking Dead" today.

Next, we talked to Graham Russell who is 13 and already thinking about what colleges she wants to attend and what she’s looking for in a college.

Why do you want to go to college?

There are so many opportunities that come out of it. And after college, there’s so much more that you’re going to be able to do. People my age aren’t attracted to work and they don’t want to learn the way they have been taught to learn. They want a hands-on experience instead of pen and paper, take notes, and take a test. They want something out of the ordinary.

What makes you want to go to the colleges you are interested in?

I tend to pick my college based on location. I want to go somewhere in the northwest. Somewhere I’m not boarded up with nothing to do, not based on tradition, but based on innovation. Somewhere that doesn’t teach in traditional ways.

Have you seen any advertisements for colleges? If so, where?

No. I don’t have social media and spend most of my time on YouTube. I haven’t seen any advertisements that I can remember.

What should colleges do to recruit generation Z?

Offer hands-on job experience. Good campus life. New ways of learning, innovative campuses and classes.

How do you define good campus life?

If I visited a campus I would be looking for bookstores, coffee shops, everything within walking distance. Outlets everywhere, easy to connect. Libraries. Dorms with large workspaces, but small rooms.

What do you think should be changed about college?

How everyone is sticking to tradition and how no one is looking for input from generation Z, they are only talking to parents. They aren’t asking what we want out of college, they are only talking to parents and asking “what do you want your kids to do and be able to do.”

They also need to advertise on YouTube. Getting themselves featured in someone’s video. Discord, Twitch, YouTube, streaming services. I feel like the kids that are on there more are the people more likely to go to college. Kids thinking towards their future are on those sites more.

Do you know what you want to major in? Will that impact your college decision?

No one my age really knows what they want to major in. I was on Pinterest the other day and took a quiz that helped you decide what major you should be in. We like to consume content like that. When you quiz someone it appeals to us, we don’t know ourselves at this age. What we like to do is take these quizzes. Colleges should provide career quizzes,  quizzes about what courses you should take at their college, or about which college is best for you.

Anything else you want to add?

I would say help them figure out their career first. When we get into high school years it pops, but we want that to happen early, we are constantly trying to figure it out. Help us to figure it out and figure out that we need to do what we want to do.

Let's say someone’s friends tell them they are a great artist, that's because it looks great for their age. They take that and they run with it. They need to understand that what they’re great at now they might not be great at then. That hobbies aren’t jobs. Its a matter of finding themselves and figuring out what’s going to happen after that.

We want to go to a place where people are like us and is made for a modern age of technology.

We get info all day at school and we don’t know how to turn on and off all of that information. When we get home everything becomes slow, so we want more information, that’s why we absorb content online. What we want to absorb is our futures, we want to know what is going to happen. If they can lead us in a way that’s going to tell us what’s going to happen we might want to go there.


Generation Z wants to feel prepared for their future. Memorizing notes for a test and then forgetting it a day later is not cutting it for them anymore. They crave hands-on experiences and want to learn how to do things for themselves. 89% of Generation Z believes that having a college education is valuable. But colleges need to adapt to new learning styles. 51% of Generation Z learns best from hands-on experience and 38% learn by watching. Education needs to become more personalized and less cookie cutter. Advertising, social media algorithms, shopping, media consumption, and experiences are all becoming personalized and focused on the individual customer, so why isn’t higher education doing the same thing?

Generation Z is consuming more visual content on YouTube and other platforms than any generation before them. This is why it is essential that colleges put emphasis on the video content that they are producing. Generation Z has an endless amount of content to choose from and you have to make yours stand out. Download our free eBook on Video Content Marketing for Higher Education below to put yourself ahead of the game.

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Topics: higher ed, marketing to Generation Z, Generation Z, higher ed marketing, higher education

How To Use Twitter Influencers in Higher Ed Marketing

Posted by Alexa Russell on Sep 19, 2018 7:01:00 AM

 

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Topics: social media marketing, higher education

What High Tech Resources Will Attract Students?

Posted by Cody Lunsford on Sep 17, 2018 1:47:56 PM

I've used a computer since I was six years old. When I was in seventh grade, my dad got the first iPhone (I wasn't allowed to have a phone until I was sixteen). In eighth grade, I took a web design class. Throughout all of high school, I worked in computer labs, typed every paper I had to write, visited my school's website for info and on and on. I'm not trying to brag about how "cool" I was (not cool at all), but rather illustrate how my entire life has been using technology that has been rapidly evolving. But here's the thing: I'm around seven years older than current incoming college freshmen. 

What this means is that incoming freshmen to your university HAVE NEVER been in a world without computers or the internet. They were in kindergarten when smart phones rose to prevalence. They're used to rapidly advancing technology being integrated to every aspect of their lives, including their education. Your university has to keep up in order to attract new students to your university. So now you want to know what high tech resources will attract students, right? (That is why you clicked on the blog, after all). Let's take a look at a few. 

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Topics: higher education, high tech

The Only Instagram Takeover Guide You'll Ever Need

Posted by Melissa Cook on Sep 5, 2018 9:00:00 AM

We all know the struggle of keeping up with the demand for fresh content, especially in the higher education space. Before you panic and put together another “5 Study Tips” guide or graphic, consider incorporating students. Think about it. Your students are a living, breathing, walking, and social media posting ad for how great your university is. Use them. How? Schedule an Instagram Takeover.

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Topics: higher education, higher ed social media

How to Fundraise Using the 5 W's

Posted by Alexa Russell on Aug 8, 2018 9:00:00 AM
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Topics: higher ed social media, higher ed marketing, higher ed inbound marketing, higher ed, higher education, Giving Day, Giving Tuesday

How to Get Students to Your On-Campus Events

Posted by Alexa Russell on Jul 11, 2018 8:03:00 AM

I know from personal experience that promoting on-campus events can be a daunting and tricky task. I spent 4 years in college working for Auburn University’s University Program Council. We planned all of the student-fee funded on-campus events for students. Our events included workshops, movies, carnivals, concerts and more. After promoting countless events over the years, I have learned what works and what doesn’t. Here are the 4 best tips to get students to your on-campus events.

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Topics: higher education, higher ed, event marketing

How to Attract Students to Your College

Posted by Addison Folmar on Jun 27, 2018 7:56:00 AM

One of the most common questions in Higher Ed is "How can I convince students to choose my school?" The answer to this question isn't simple. There are multiple steps involved. Steps that have to be planned out, strategized, researched, and executed. Luckily, we've done the research for you! The following 4 steps will help you attract and engage with prospective students and parents, while making current students and alumni promote your school. Let's get started! 

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Topics: higher ed inbound marketing, higher ed social media, higher education

Did Higher Education Embrace Inbound Marketing in 2016?

Posted by Tod Meisner on Jan 18, 2017 9:00:00 AM

Higher education institutions continue to lead many industries in the size of their social media audiences. This potential reach makes social media an easy and natural way to spread various messages to prospective students, current students, parents, and alumni.

Social media is also a key component to a solid Inbound Marketing strategy. So, you may think that higher education institutions are a leading the way when it comes to Inbound Marketing. But did higher education embrace inbound marketing in 2016? You may be surprised to learn they still have some work to do.

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Topics: Inbound Marketing, higher education

Liberal Arts vs. Research Universities: What to know, where to go

Posted by Annie Lazor on Nov 10, 2016 9:00:00 AM

As an attendee of a public university, I’ve received a great education. As a communication major, I’ve been given the opportunity to reach into not just my major, but also other liberal arts majors such as public relations, English, media studies, and journalism. But there are also a wide variety of majors and activities that our university focuses on, which makes serious liberal arts majors consider strictly liberal arts colleges.

What is the difference between the two, what exactly does each major mean, and which one is the best fit for someone looking to go into the liberal arts field? Allow me to explain further.

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Topics: higher ed, higher education

How To Leverage Current Students As Brand Ambassadors

Posted by K'yani Gross on Jul 15, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Universities can be promoted in a variety of ways. Using your current students as brand ambassadors is a great way to help your brand gain easy exposure. Through the students' love of the college, they will organically share their college experiences and help do your advertising for you. You just have to comment, like, and share these posts appropriately to help encourage further engagement and amplification of your desired messages.

There are a number of ways to encourage students tell your story. It can be anything from a free branded merchandise to flexing your social media muscles. Let's get into some specifics.

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Topics: higher education, Inbound Marketing

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