Highlights from Higher Ed: Considering the Influence of Influencers, Virtual Advising and Majors

RJ Nichol
Dec 13, 2019

What are the ground rules for colleges working with student influencers?

When today’s high school students want to learn more about college life, there’s a good chance they’ll turn to social media influencers for answers. For example, one online “dorm room tour” (created by the daughter of an actress arrested in the “Varsity Blues” admissions scandal) has already been viewed more than 1.6 million times. Colleges have taken notice, and some are now partnering with high-profile student influencers to reach new audiences of potential applicants. But that trend is raising questions about the practical and ethical considerations of doing so. How much should schools pay student influencers, if at all, to highlight their institutions? How, and why, should they disclose the nature of those relationships? How can you guarantee that the students will be “good ambassadors for the university brand?” Right now, there are still more questions than answers.

Source: Inside Higher Ed

“Virtual advising” does little to affect college enrollment

Research conducted at the University of California, Los Angeles indicates that “virtual advising services did not increase college enrollment and acceptance rates of socioeconomically disadvantaged high school students.” As part of the study, researchers provided more than 6,500 California students access to one of two different programs. One notified them of upcoming application deadlines and provided incentives (gift cards) for meeting them; the other included those features but also offered virtual advising. While students in those groups “were more likely to apply to a four-year institution than did those in the control group, the services did not significantly impact whether or where they went to college.” As noted in a report on the study, “The findings add to a growing body of evidence that suggests low-cost, virtual interventions have a limited effect on college-going behavior.” Instead, personalized messages to specific groups of students may be more effective.

Source: Education Dive

Students identify their most- and least-regretted majors

Job-seeking college graduates who majored in English or foreign languages are most likely to say they regret what they chose to study (42%), due to “impractical, limited job opportunities.” Those who majored in math or computer science are the least likely to regret their majors, with just 13% citing “stressful industry, limited job opportunities.” Second on the list of most-regretted majors is the sciences (35%), followed by education (31%), social sciences/law (29%) and communications (27%). The second least-regretted majors are business and engineering (both 16%), followed by health administration/assisting (18%). Three majors register a 19% regret rate: community/family/personal services, health sciences/technology and repair/production/construction.

Source: CNBC 

More on majors: Students overestimate their importance in the job market

Although most recently surveyed college students believe their choice of a major is “a key determinant of future job prospects,” only 50% of employers analyzed in the same study required a specific major in their job listings. Rather than wanting new hires to have a particular type of education, “employers are increasingly focusing on job skills.” While researchers found that most students (61%) feel pressure to select a major that will lead to a high-paying job, humanities majors were the only group in which a majority of students did not feel that pressure. They were also the only group with a majority citing “satisfying work” instead of “pay” as their primary motivation for choosing a job.

Source: Campus Technology

RJ Nichol

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