Skip links Future of Higher Ed Report – Finding the Intersection of Higher Ed Challenges and Student Needs

Close your eyes and think back to your college experience. What if, instead of taking your Calculus 101 class in an overstuffed, 500-person lecture hall with a professor barely audible from the top row, you could instead take that same class from the comforts of an AirBnB on Miami Beach.

In the middle of February, wouldn’t learning in a location like that help cure some of that seasonal depression you felt when you were at college in the dead of winter? Or perhaps you just need the flexibility to learn with a demanding schedule. Thankfully, the last year and a half taught us that this scenario doesn’t have to be a dream. It can be a reality.

And this is exactly what recent graduates say the college experience needs to provide. We released our first-ever Voice of the Student report, which takes a deep dive into student preferences as it relates to technology, communication, mental health and much more. One of the survey’s most significant findings is that online learning is here to stay, and institutions must adjust accordingly.

Sixty-one percent of recent graduates said that having options for remote learning impacted whether or not they chose an institution. However, 37 percent said the current experience must improve. Students have a variety of ways they want to learn: it can include a vacation spot, in the library, at their dorm or even as simple as under their favorite tree. But regardless of where they choose to learn, institutions must be prepared to accommodate student needs in a variety of ways.

Interested in learning more? Take a look at our key findings from the study below, and check back for additional blog posts that dig into further insights from the report.

  • Email isn’t dead as a communication preference. But institutions must do a better job at treating it as a support channel, rather than a method to blast out marketing messages. Thirty-seven percent of students prefer email over all other methods of communication when it comes to interacting with administrators at an institution.
  • Chatbots are gaining popularity with students, and they are willing to provide additional data to optimize that experience. Ninety-four percent of all recent graduates that experienced chatbots at their institution found them to be available. As a result, 57 percent said they’d be willing to provide personal information, in exchange for more personalized support.
  • First-generation students heavily rely on the on-campus visit to make their assessments. However, institutions must provide greater accessibility. Forty-three percent of all first-generation students say the on-campus visit was their top factor when making a college decision.
  • Institutions must continue working to support student mental health. While 62 percent of graduates said they felt supported in their mental health while attending their institution, that same percentage also felt like they’d feel more connected to the institution if it proactively checked on their well-being.

To learn more about what our team learned from the survey and how you can adapt to the changing landscape of higher education, download the Voice of the Student report here.