Eduventures® Student Sentiment Research Report™ Reveals Changing Views of College-Bound High School Students

September 22, 2022

Research Highlights the Most Effective Uses of Video and Social Media to Reach Gen Z Students and How to Engage Them Early in Their College Searches

Boston, MA – September 22, 2022 – Encoura, an industry-leading educational technology organization, announced today the publication of the Eduventures 2022 Student Sentiment Research Report. The annual report explores the key areas of college search behavior and communication preferences to help higher education enrollment officers create more effective outreach strategies. The report is designed to accompany Eduventures Prospective Student Research™, the nation’s largest college market segmentation and institutional identity study, and Eduventures Admitted Student Research™, which examines how students make enrollment decisions and helps institutions improve yield.

With a generation of high school students who currently spend a daily average of more than 8 hours online, and 45% who say they are online constantly, it’s clear that college search has significantly migrated to the digital space. How can institutions find key student segments where they gravitate for college information? And more importantly, which channels and content effectively engage these digital natives who decide if digital content is worth their time within eight seconds? 

The Eduventures 2022 Student Sentiment Research Report monitors the college search behaviors and communication preferences of these Gen Z students from initial discovery to the enrollment decision. It highlights key insights on college search activities of college-bound high school students and how the pandemic has shaped the current state of college search.

Key Research Findings Include:

  1. Sophomores search actively, but might not yet be ready to connect with colleges.
  2. Video and picture-focused social platforms dominate college search.
  3. Students primarily seek institutional content on social media, but are also curious about student content.
  4. Video is still the most common virtual activity, but use has declined since the start of the pandemic.
  5. TikTok is the fastest growing platform in college search with a significant 16% increase in student use for college search over the past two years.
  6. With the pandemic disrupting on-campus events, campus tours have yet to make a comeback in early search.

“This year’s Student Sentiment Research Report results show that while traditional outreach methods still help students in the admissions process, digital outreach can no longer be just an option for institutions. Colleges and universities should digitally engage high school students by creating content that entices short attention spans using institutional marketing as well as current student voices,” said Johanna Trovato, Senior Analyst and primary author of this study.

The pandemic has made a lasting change on college search for students. It’s essential for institutions in a crowded and competitive market to find and engage students early on the digital channels they prefer with perspectives they value. This report provides outreach strategy best practices that will help institutions attract, engage, and convert their best-fit students.

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