The following is a company-submitted press release and does not necessarily represent the views or opinions of College Planning & Management magazine.

New Gen Z Research Reveals Distinct Behaviors and Motivations That Influence College Decision-Making

COLUMBUS, OH – Ologie, an independently owned branding company, recently released the results of a nationwide survey of 1,548 students about their decision-making process when choosing a college or university. The research is the first of its kind to study the members of Generation Z and their aspirations, attitudes and identities regarding higher education, as well as the underlying motivations for their college decisions. The survey results are part of an ongoing primary research engagement with a group of college-bound Gen Z students from across the country, called Student Union.

Some of the highlighted results showed that, among these students:

  • 45 percent find the process of deciding where to go to college somewhat confusing or very confusing.
  • Only 22 percent consider text messaging an appropriate way for colleges or universities to communicate with them.
  • Only 11 percent are interested in a prestigious and reputable institution.
  • Only 24 percent are very familiar with the term “liberal arts.”
  • 39 percent indicate an interest in exploring options outside the traditional four-year, on-campus college experience.
  • 65 percent expect to work full or part time while attending college.
  • 71 percent say that in society today, college is either very important or absolutely necessary.
  • 50 percent prefer to find an institution close to home.
  • 32 percent say the financial burden is completely on them, without help from parents.
  • 25 percent have an “overachiever mindset.

“We did this research because we know that many admissions offices are just starting to have conversations about reaching out purposefully to this new set of students,” says Bill Faust, managing partner at Ologie.

He added that the study’s insights are what make the work unique and actionable for higher ed: “This level of detail can help schools understand Gen Z so that they’re fully equipped to recruit and retain tomorrow’s college students.”

A distinctive part of the research is its segmentation of five distinct groups of Gen Z students: the Idealist, the Apprehensive, the Self-Assured, the Overachiever and the Well-Rounded. More information about these archetypes can be found at www.studentunion.ologie.com.

While technology proficiency is a common thread, it’s also important to understand the nuances that distinguish members of this generation, says Carolyn Kent, executive strategy director at Ologie: “Constant access to information has expanded their perspectives, creating knowledgeable, status-quo-challenging stances on many issues. Yet each segment has a slightly different mindset toward college that will color their decision-making process.”

The research, conducted by Ologie, consisted of an online quantitative survey nationwide with a Gen Z population. Respondents were balanced by gender and ethnicity, with ages ranging from sophomores in high school to sophomores in college. To learn more about downloading the full report, visit www.studentunion.ologie.com.

About Student Union
Student Union is a group of students who regularly participate in surveys to help higher education marketers understand what and how Generation Z thinks about college. The research studies their attitudes, aspirations, and motivations, and the reasons they ultimately select a college or university. Our data — drawn from 1,548 students, age 15 to 20, in all 50 states — revealed five distinct archetypes within college-bound Gen Z-ers. By examining these archetypes, we can better understand these students and connect with them more powerfully and authentically. For more about Student Union, visit www.studentunion.ologie.com or follow #studentunion on Twitter and Instagram.

About Ologie
Ologie is a branding firm. We help our clients define their purpose and tell their stories in engaging ways. We’re passionate about building authentic brand experiences in higher education and for other purpose-driven clients. We are researchers, strategists, designers, storytellers and creative problem-solvers. We create brand experiences through all forms of media: print, digital, environmental, photographic, and video. To learn more, visit www.ologie.com.

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