Making Your School Attractive to Tech-Savvy Students

How colleges and universities can attract the tech-savvy student

Today’s students are the most tech-savvy in history. Not only do they have the know-how to live in a digital world, but they also seek institutions that function fluidly in the digital realm. It is vital to understand what students want when it comes to their school and how it uses technology. To compete, schools must understand what students want and what they know so that schools can meet them where they are. In many cases, schools are falling behind students’ expectations. Today we’ll explore how to exceed them.

Understanding The Tech-Savvy Student

How colleges and universities can attract the tech-savvy studentIn order to attract students, it’s important for higher education institutions to understand just how advanced students are. It’s not simply that they know how to use the Internet. Tech-savvy students are living a life that seamlessly incorporates the digital world into the physical and expect schools to do the same.

According to The Ed Advocate tech-savvy students know how to code – something all students should learn – but it goes far beyond skills. Tech-savvy students have a strong sense of digital citizenship and understand how their reputations and lives can be shaped by the digital footprint they leave. They are also able to distinguish facts from fiction better than adults only a few years older than they are. They are more aware of online security issues and careful about how, what and where they share information. With these high levels of knowledge students do more than simply type, email and tweet. They analyze, collaborate and apply their knowledge and they expect their college to be just as savvy.

What Does Today’s Tech-Savvy Student Want?

Ellucian recently surveyed students* about their expectations when it comes to technology and higher education. From asking what they think about when applying, to the experience they expect when enrolled the study provides a clear roadmap for colleges and universities. Higher education institutions should take notice because 87% of students said the tech-savvy of the school itself is considered when deciding where to apply. Of note is the fact that non-traditional students (those who work full time or are 24-years-old or older) taken aside report that the tech-savvy of the school matters even more when deciding where to apply. 95% of those who work full-time look at the school’s tech when deciding to apply; 93% of students who are 24 or older do the same.

It’s Not Just About The Classroom

97% of students reported that they want technology that supports them outside of classroom learning. Technology that allows mobile payments, helps them navigate public transportation and enter buildings through bluetooth technology are all things students are looking for. Which makes sense especially when thinking about the next point.

Keep It Simple

A large number of students report having to log into multiple platforms at their college or university but this is not what they want. Sadly, only 12% report that their school has one app. 23% of students have to log into 2, another 23% have to log into at least 5. The bulk of students, 42%, have to log onto 3-4 apps. Schools must streamline their tech and share information in order to attract tech-savvy students.

Use It Or Lose It

Students are fine giving their institution all kinds of personalized data. The breakdown, however, is two-fold for most universities. Some fail to use this information; others require it in multiple places or each year or even semester.

75% of students want this information to individualize their experience. 58% of students, however, report that their universities are the least skilled of any institution (banks, shopping accounts, social media) that has the same type of data. Higher education institutions need to use the data they’re collecting to personalize students’ digital experience. While 68% of students reported they receive personalized updates weekly only 20% get updates daily.

CRA Can Help

Ready to diversify data and streamline your app in order to be more attractive? CRA can help. Contact us to help your school attract the most tech-savvy students by proving its digital prowess.


1,000 U.S. college students were surveyed between September 22 and October 2, 2017. Quotas were set to ensure representative and statistically significant numbers of students who attend four-year vs. two-year institutions, students ages 24+, and students who work full time.

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