5 segments of Gen Z and how to engage them

October 27, 2016  

Born between 1996 and 2010, the members of Generation Z have a very different mindset, thanks to the world they’ve grown up in. And because of this, they’re actually changing the world. Let’s just say they’re anything but typical.

Because this generation is so different from the others, nearly every industry is wrestling with how to connect with them (and many are just now getting up to speed). And although higher ed is no stranger to meeting the needs of young people, most admissions officers are just starting conversations about reaching out to this new set of students purposefully.

The Idealist

These optimists are visionary about the future and their potential.

How to engage them
Be direct. But offset the facts with glimmers of your brand’s personality. Include only as much context and storytelling as necessary.

Areas of interest
STEM 22%
Arts 21%
Computing 19%
Undecided 18%
Business 15%

The Overachiever

With their identity tied to academic performance, they’re opportunistic and intensely motivated.

How to engage them
Get to why. This group doesn’t need to be sold on the notion of college. They’ll have their pick of institutions, so it’s critical to get to “why your school” before you lose their attention.

Areas of interest
STEM 25%
Medicine 25%
Business 24%
Arts 14%
Social sciences 11%

The Apprehensive

They’re curious about college but less confident than others; they also thrive on routine and structure.

How to engage them
Keep it simple. Be a supportive resource without making the process more confusing. Clearly spell out all the steps and what comes next.

Areas of interest
Undecided 33%
Arts 21%
Business 15%
Computing 15%
Medicine 11%

The Self-Assured

Self-confident, caring, and accepting, they prefer happiness over money.

How to engage them
Connect the value of college to their personal goals. A disingenuous, sales-y approach won’t be received well. Make sure your messages lean into how they will benefit most from getting an education from your school.

Areas of interest
Undecided 26%
Arts 23%
Business 18%
Computing 17%
STEM 13%

The Well-Rounded

These leaders use social decision-making and have a faith-based outlook.

How to engage them
Tap into influence. Connect with the people who matter in their lives, but be mindful in using the channels and messages that appeal most to them.

Areas of interest
Arts 29%
Business 19%
Undecided 17%
Computing 16%
Education 13%

The bottom line: It’s critical that you understand Gen Z so that you’re fully equipped to recruit and retain the college students of today and tomorrow.

To learn more about engaging each segment, or to download the full range of our Gen Z research, visit studentunion.ologie.com.