What is Gen Z prioritising while taking admissions?

by Priyalshri Chattar | Mar 23, 2023 | ExtraaEdge’s Blog

As of 2021, it is estimated that there are approximately 472 million Gen Z individuals in India, making up approximately 34% of the total population of the country. Those who belong to this generation were born in the middle of the 1990s and the middle of the 2010s.

Now that we have this data, it is evident that Generation Z is surpassing the Millennials as the most populous generation on earth, with a major chunk of the population looking for educational institutes that can fit into their perspective, which is focused on practicality, flexibility, customization, diversity, and inclusion.

The question that makes sense here is,

Are you and your institute ready to cater to
Gen Z?


Before answering this question, you need to understand who this generation Z is.

Gen Z embodies the spirit of innovation, creativity, and diversity. Born into a world that is constantly changing, this generation has a unique perspective and tendencies in every aspect of life. 

Likewise, they have a language of their own, with words and phrases like “lit,” “savage,” and “sksksk” being commonly used. And a tendency for using acronyms and abbreviations, such as “TBH” (to be honest) and “OTP” (one true pairing).

Gen Z is a generation of dreamers and doers, unafraid to take risks and push boundaries. They are fiercely independent and value authenticity above all else. They are a generation that is shaping the future of education. Institutions like yours that want to attract and retain Gen Z students will need to adapt to their unique perspectives and priorities.

According to Mr. Narsimha Jayakumar, Managing Director of Brainly India, it is crucial for educators to pay attention to the opinions of Gen Z, as they are the future workforce. Educators must strive to comprehend the role that education should play in preparing this generation for the future and devise strategies to equip them with the necessary skills and experiences. This will enable Gen Z to create a better working environment for generations to come.

5 key criteria that Gen Z considers when applying


Gen Z is currently making the most significant choice for their career as they choose which college to attend. While previous generations may have prioritised prestige, name, location, and campus culture when selecting a college, Gen Z prioritises factors that align with their values, goals, and interests.

Jason Dorsey, the leading Gen Z and Millennial generation keynote speaker and researcher, has rightly said, “Do not view Gen Z as a more extreme version of Millennials. They are completely different.”

Here we will explore some of the key factors that Gen Z is prioritising when selecting a college.

1. Affordability

The cost of higher education has risen dramatically in recent years. Forbes reports that “between 1980 and 2020, the average price of tuition and fees for an undergraduate degree increased by 169%.”

Gen Z is acutely aware of this fact. Many members of this generation are already burdened by student debt, and they are looking for ways to reduce the financial impact of higher education.

As per YPulse’s education report, 39% of Gen Z and Millennials agree that student loan debt has kept them from reaching their financial goals. And when YPulse asks their biggest financial priority at this point in their life, 15% say it’s avoiding student loan debt in the first place.  

This means that Gen Z is looking for ways to pay for their education that won’t leave them owing as much as students before them. As a result, affordability is a key criterion that Gen Z considers when applying to colleges and universities.

What can you do to improve your favorability when affordability is taken into account?

Colleges and universities that offer affordable tuition rates, scholarships, and financial aid packages are more likely to attract Gen Z students. So you can offer different scholarship programs and flexible payment plans or other alternatives to traditional tuition models that can be more attractive to this generation.

2. Diversity and Inclusion

diversity-inclusionGen Z is a generation that places a high value on diversity and inclusion. As per the survey run by Tallo, over 50% responded felt discriminated against at college due to race, ethnicity, gender identity or sexual orientation. These experiences resulted in 25% of Gen Z deciding against applying to college.

Gen Z seeks out colleges and universities that have diverse student bodies and offer a range of perspectives and experiences. Institutions that prioritise diversity and have policies in place to promote inclusivity and accessibility are more likely to attract Gen Z students.

What can you do to improve your favorability when D and I are taken into account?

Students now demand concrete evidence of success in the form of groups and activities, rather than just hearing about the need for diversity and inclusion.

You can offer some exclusive courses, as Gen Z is looking for institutions that offer courses and programs that address issues of social justice and equity. They are passionate about causes such as racial justice, LGBTQ+ rights, and climate change and want to attend colleges and universities that share these values.

Additionally, you can encourage a culture of inclusivity by celebrating diversity and promoting an understanding and appreciation of different cultures. This can be done through events, speakers, and cultural activities that highlight and celebrate different cultures.

3. Hands-on Learning Experience


Gen Z is a generation that values practical, hands-on learning. A survey conducted by McGraw Hill Education found that 88% of Gen Z students believe that hands-on learning is important to their education.

They want to be able to see the relevance and value of what they are learning and how it can be applied to their future careers. Gen Z wants to gain experience and skills that will prepare them for the workforce, and institutions that offer these opportunities are more likely to meet their needs.

What can you do to improve your favorability when a hands-on learning experience is taken into account?

Colleges and universities that offer internships, co-op programs, and other practical learning opportunities are more likely to attract Gen Z students.

For example, Arizona State University offers a program called Project Humanities, which allows students to work on research projects that address real-world issues. 

In addition, institutions that have strong connections to industry and offer opportunities for students to work with real-world clients or projects are more attractive to Gen Z.

This generation is smart enough to evaluate a company such as Google or Lockheed and determine if there are any educational institutions that have partnerships with these companies. They also consider their potential earnings and whether it is worthwhile to attend an institution that may lead to significant debt for a relatively low-paying job.

4. Flexibility


Gen Z is a generation that values flexibility and customisation in their education. According to a recent study by the ECMC Group from January 2022, only 51% of Gen Z teens are not interested in pursuing a four-year degree.

They are more likely to seek out alternative educational pathways, such as online learning or community college, that offer more flexibility and customisation than traditional four-year colleges. They value the ability to learn at their own pace and on their own terms. 

What can you do to improve your favorability when flexibility is taken into account?

Gen Z is looking for institutions that offer flexible scheduling options, such as evening and weekend classes, that allow them to balance their education with work and other responsibilities.

As per research conducted by Barnes & Noble College, a majority of Gen Z students, that is, 89%, favor the availability of online courses, which grants them the flexibility to learn at their preferred pace and schedule. 

Gen Z students are also interested in degree programs that can be completed quickly and offer specialized training, such as coding boot camps, as these programs provide flexibility and faster entry into the workforce.

5. Reputation and Rankings


Gen Z is looking for colleges and universities that have strong reputations and rankings. According to a survey by the Education Advisory Board, 77% of Gen Z students reported that a college’s reputation and ranking were important factors in their decision-making process.

They want to attend institutions that are well-respected in their fields and have a track record of success. Institutions that have high rankings in national or international rankings are more attractive to Gen Z students.


What can you do to improve your favorability when reputation and ranking are taken into account?

Institutions need to be more transparent about their academic achievements, student outcomes, and other important metrics that impact their reputation and ranking.

This can be done through regular communication with prospective and current students through automated multiple communication channels, such as Chatbot, WhatsApp Bot, etc. It can also be done by publishing data and reports on the institution’s website. 

Gen Z is highly active on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and other online platforms, so institutions must have a strong online presence and engage with students through these channels.

This can include creating engaging content, responding to student inquiries and feedback, and leveraging social media influencers and ambassadors to promote the institution.

Additionally, Gen Z is looking for institutions that have strong alumni networks and connections to the industry. They want to attend colleges and universities that can offer them opportunities to connect with alumni and industry professionals and help them build their professional networks.

Closing Thoughts 

Gen Z is a tech-savvy generation that grew up with smartphones and social media. They are known for their preference for instant gratification and their ability to multitask. When it comes to education and college admissions, Gen Z prioritizes factors such as affordability, diversity, and flexibility.

When simplified, the requirements and anticipations of students are straightforward. Ensure that enrolling in your institute is worth their investment. Strive to make the enrollment process effortless, speedy, and convenient. Additionally, make it simple for them to conduct research about your institution and provide an abundance of testimonials and reviews.

Gen Z longs for personalisation a lot. With a robust education CRM, you can seamlessly reach out to your prospects and students through personalised messages via multiple communication channels such as bulk SMS, chatbots, WhatsApp bots, drip email campaigns, and much more.