Today’s high school graduates are part of a new generation. After decades of recruiting Millennials, admissions teams must adjust their strategies to resonate with Generation Z: those born after 1997. These students have different values than previous generations; to effectively attract this population, schools must adjust their messaging.
At the Liaison User Conference this summer, Tony Wynne, director of admissions and recruitment affairs for the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) outlined what institutions need to know about Gen Z to craft messages that resonate with this audience. “This group values higher education more than the previous generation,” Wynne said. “They see it as a pathway to a good job, and they have a sincere love of learning and independent research.”
Wynne shared key differentiators to help schools update their recruiting strategies. “If you don’t change, you’re not going to make a change in your applicant pool — it’s that simple,” Wynne said.
Empower applicants to research your school online
In addition to being incredibly tech-reliant, Gen Z values research. “They’re far more self-reliant than groups we’ve seen before,” Wynne explained. “They’re predisposed to conducting research and making their own decisions based on what they find.” He encouraged schools to give students options that allow them to make their own decisions. “Focus on giving them correct, accurate, concise information about your school,” he said.
Cater to their entrepreneurial nature and love of technology
One study found that 72% of teens say they want to start their own business someday. They’re early starters, gravitating toward taking college credits in high school. “They think it will help them progress quicker and get to the end game faster,” Wynne said. “These students thrive in hands-on environments with lots of technology and individualized attention.”
Gen Z students are also master multi-taskers, accustomed to dividing attention between multiple screens at once. Ensuring that designs are mobile friendly is more important than ever. Setting clear expectations about your programs and life on campus — especially opportunities they will have to share and collaborate — can help build interest.
Create ongoing engagement
Interactivity is another key to engaging these students. Wynne suggested inviting students to participate in surveys about your institution’s offerings. “It gets you data and keeps them involved,” he said. To deliver what Gen Z wants in marketing messages, Wynne advised adding videos, marketing techniques that include gamification and shifting to a more bulleted approach. “They want less text and more graphics — delivering something out of the box and unique will get you attention,” Wynne said.
When planning marketing campaigns for this group, think personalized communications aligned with their interests, spread across multiple channels. Solutions like Liaison’s Enrollment Marketing Platform (EMP™) can help you deliver relevant messages at the right times to drive engagement.
Learn more about the differences between Millennials and Generation Z in this infographic: