Generation Z, otherwise known as Centennials or Digital Natives are those born between 1997 and 2011. This generation has never known a world without technology and they are the first generation born fully immersed in the digital era. Generation Z’s oldest members are now graduating high school and just entering college. It’s time to understand the next wave of college students so you can meet the needs of this new generation.
Approximately 27% of the global population belongs to Gen Z with a spending power of $200 billion and an influence of over $600 billion in family spending. They are described as self-learning, independent, financially-driven, and in search of authentic and meaningful experiences. Gen Zers have ambitious plans for their education and in Barnes and Noble’s study, 89% of Generation Z rate college education as valuable. However, with Americans owing over $1.3 trillion in student loan debt, financing their education is one of their top concerns. Gen Z tends to be more financially-driven than Millennials, who are more likely to define success in terms of personal fulfillment, where Gen Z sees a college education as a path to a good job.
Gen Z has started preparing for college early, almost half of older teens have already taken a class for college credit. Although these classes are more difficult and faster-paced, 64% of students enjoy these courses better than their regular classes because of a love for learning and the critical thinking involved. They want engaging, interactive learning experiences and want to be challenged and empowered to make their own decisions. Gen Zers value face-to-face interaction and collaboration and learn best being hands-on.
Gen Z wants an environment where they can co-create and share education with their peers, which provides greater opportunities to connect with students and explore more meaningful interactions. They are inclined towards sharing and exchanging ideas, which invites next level innovation. Since this generation has grown up as digital natives, technology will play an important role in their educational experience and many envision careers in technology.
As more Gen Zers enter college, it’s important to take the time to understand them and their preferences so you can provide the best solutions and guide them through their academic career. This generation is much different than Millennials and need to be recognized in their own way.