Appealing to Today’s Savvy Students

What’s Driving Changing Expectations in Higher Education?

In today’s digital age, higher education institutions face the challenge of attracting and retaining more discerning and technologically savvy students than ever before. As technology continues to shape how we live and learn, colleges must adapt to meet the evolving expectations of students.

In this article, we will explore how student expectations for college have changed, the factors influencing students’ college selection process, the need for higher education institutions to compete effectively, and the role of exceptional customer service in student engagement and retention. We will also delve into the significance of student housing and what students expect from their campus living experience.

How Student Expectations Have Evolved with Technology

Technology has significantly transformed the landscape of higher education. As a result, today’s students expect institutions to offer advanced technological resources and support. These expectations stem from recognizing that technology plays a crucial role in academic success and overall student experience.

Some key areas where technology has influenced student expectations include:

Digital Learning Tools: Students anticipate access to cutting-edge digital learning platforms, online resources, and interactive educational materials. Institutions seamlessly integrating technology into the learning process are more likely to attract and engage tech-savvy students effectively.

Appealing to Today’s Savvy Students: Meeting Changing Expectations in Higher Education

Connectivity and Communication: Seamless internet connectivity, robust Wi-Fi networks, and efficient communication channels have become essential requirements for students. They expect constant access to online resources, timely communication with faculty and staff, and connectivity for collaborative projects.

Virtual Learning Environments: The recent global shift towards remote learning has heightened the need for virtual learning environments. Students now anticipate the availability of comprehensive online courses, virtual classrooms, in addition to traditional lecture hall classes and interactive educational experiences that allow them to engage remotely. This complicates the traditional learning environment and requires institutions to develop new and innovative techniques to keep students engaged in a traditional learning environment.

Factors Influencing College Selection

The college selection process has become more complex and competitive, with students considering various factors before making decisions. Some key influences on students’ college choices include:

Online Presence and Marketing: Websites are the first point of comparison for most potential matriculants comparing institutions when shopping for a college. A robust online presence, including an informative and user-friendly website, engaging social media platforms, and virtual campus tours, is critical for colleges to reach and connect with prospective students effectively. First impressions are made online and can permanently damage the institution’s desirability if messaging, content and functionality are not aligned for an extraordinary experience. Digital marketing strategies should showcase the institution’s unique offerings and highlight its value proposition.

Appealing to Today’s Savvy Students: Meeting Changing Expectations in Higher Education

Academic Programs and Reputation: Students prioritize institutions with strong educational programs and a positive reputation in their desired fields of study. The availability of specialized majors, renowned faculty, and successful alums can significantly impact their decision.

Campus Culture and Community: The campus culture and sense of community play a significant role in students’ overall college experience. Institutions that foster inclusivity, offer diverse extracurricular activities, and provide a supportive environment are more likely to attract students seeking a well-rounded experience.

Career Services and Job Placement: With the rising cost of education, students seek institutions that provide comprehensive career services and robust job placement programs. The ability of colleges to help students secure internships, connect with industry professionals, and prepare for future careers has become a crucial factor in the decision-making process.

Affordability and Financial Aid: Students are increasingly conscious of the financial aspects of attending college. Affordability and availability of scholarships, grants, and financial aid packages all heavily influence students’ choices.

Consider Influence Drivers for Student Housing in Marketing

Student housing is vital in creating a positive living and learning environment on campus. Students have specific expectations when it comes to their housing experience, including:

Amenities, Comfort and Safety: Students expect well-maintained, clean, and secure living spaces prioritizing their comfort and safety. Amenities such as study areas, communal spaces, laundry facilities, and recreational spaces contribute to a positive residential experience.

Appealing to Today’s Savvy Students: Meeting Changing Expectations in Higher Education

Proximity to Campus and Amenities: Convenient access to campus facilities, academic buildings, dining halls, and recreational facilities is important to students. Proximity to amenities, such as grocery stores, public transportation, and entertainment venues, is also a consideration for many.

Community and Social Opportunities: Student housing should foster a sense of community and provide opportunities for social interaction and engagement. Living environments that facilitate connections, such as shared common areas, organized events, and mentorship programs, enhance the overall student experience.

Well-Designed and Sustainable Spaces: Sustainable and eco-friendly design elements resonate with today’s environmentally conscious students. Incorporating energy-efficient features, recycling programs, and sustainable practices within student housing contributes to a positive perception of the institution.

The Role of Exceptional Customer Service in Student Engagement and Retention

Exceptional customer service is crucial in fostering student engagement and retention. Therefore, higher education institutions must prioritize student satisfaction and provide support throughout the student journey.

Some critical elements of exceptional customer service in higher education include:

Responsive and Supportive Staff: Institutions should ensure that faculty and staff are readily available and responsive to student needs. Prompt and personalized assistance can help students navigate challenges and feel supported throughout their academic journey.

Appealing to Today’s Savvy Students: Meeting Changing Expectations in Higher Education

Holistic Student Support Services: Beyond academic assistance, institutions should offer comprehensive support services, including counseling, career guidance, wellness programs, and accessibility services. Addressing students’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being contributes to their overall satisfaction and success.

Effective Communication Channels: Institutions should establish efficient and transparent communication channels to inform students about important updates, events, and resources. This includes leveraging technology platforms for easy access to information and personalized communication.

Student Involvement Opportunities: Encouraging student involvement through clubs, organizations, leadership programs, and community service initiatives fosters a sense of belonging and connection. Institutions can enhance student satisfaction and retention by providing opportunities for engagement and personal growth.

Effective Competition among Higher Education Institutions

As students have more options than ever before, higher education institutions must adopt effective strategies to compete successfully. Institutions can focus on the following areas to stand out and appeal to prospective students:

Differentiated Programs and Specializations: Offering unique and specialized academic programs can attract students seeking distinctive educational experiences. Colleges can differentiate themselves in a crowded marketplace by identifying niche areas and developing innovative programs.

Campus Facilities and Amenities: Modern and well-maintained facilities, including state-of-the-art classrooms, laboratories, recreational spaces, and student centers, contribute to a positive campus experience. Institutions must invest in infrastructure to create an appealing environment for students.

Alumni Engagement and Success Stories: Active alumni networks and success stories can provide evidence of an institution’s impact on student’s career trajectories. Showcasing alumni achievements can create a sense of pride and demonstrate the institution’s ability to prepare students for success.


In a rapidly changing landscape of higher education, colleges must adapt to meet the evolving expectations of students. By understanding the influence of technology, factors driving college selection, effective competition strategies, exceptional customer service, and the significance of student housing, institutions can position themselves as attractive options for today’s savvy students.

Oracle Real Estate Group (OREG) is committed to helping institutions enhance their campus housing offerings, optimize resources, and create exceptional living experiences. Contact us today to explore how OREG can support your institution in meeting the evolving needs of today’s students.

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