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Campus tours need a refresh? Look to Gen Z for inspiration.

Full Measure March, 28, 2022
Gen Z college student with pink hair smiling at cell phone

4 must-know observations to keep in mind about this college-driven generation as you build out and enhance your campus visits

If you’ve been running with a one-size-fits-all approach to campus tours, it’s time for a refresh.

As Gen Z replaces millennials across college campuses, higher education institutions must rethink how to connect with a new cohort of students. Fortunately, available data on the values, behaviors, and expectations of this college-driven generation can help point you in the right direction. 

Here are four observations about Gen Z to keep in mind as you build out and improve your campus tours:

1. Gen Z is a tech-savvy bunch.

True digital natives, Gen Z has never known a world without the Internet of Things, social media, and smartphones. With these natural-born technophiles as your target demographic, there’s no need to rely solely on guided campus tours — especially when some prospective students aren’t able to make it to campus for an in-person visit. Increase your tour impact by expanding your virtual and self-guided offerings using innovative technology.

2. Mobile-based communications are preferred.

Ninety-five percent of Gen Z owns a smartphone and have a demonstrated preference for these devices over PCs and laptops. To meet prospective students where they are, prioritize a mobile-based communications strategy for your tour messaging. Why risk landing in an email spam folder or going ignored when you can connect with students more directly, leveraging their favorite methods of communication?

3. There’s an increased demand for authenticity.

Gen Zers value transparency, rejecting company-fed messaging in favor of user reviews and advertising that features images of actual customers. This is something institutions handle well with on-campus tours led by students. But what about your virtual and self-guided tour offerings? Ensuring an authentic tour experience no matter how students choose to visit is key to driving engagement, application volume, and enrollment.

4. Personalization is everything.

Driven by a strong sense of individuality, this generation is looking for ways to forge their own unique path. And though the element of choice may exist to some degree across your current offerings — like selecting a convenient tour date and time — are prospective students able to customize their experience in a truly meaningful way? Providing ample opportunity for personalization when touring campus is critical if you’re looking to attract more prospects to your institution and boost matriculation.


Virtual Tours ASU

So how can you put these observations into practice?

Designed to provide students with personalized, accessible, and authentic tours, StudentBridge’s Campus Visit Experience can help ensure your on- and off-campus offerings are impactful experiences optimized for Gen Z and other adult learners.

  • Increase access with virtual and self-guided tours available anytime, anywhere
  • Enable students to personalize their visit based on their unique interests, from areas of study to extracurricular activities to hobbies and beyond
  • Text and email relevant information to students before, during, and after their visit using curated, interactive content cards 
  • Enhance self-guided tours using mobile navigation, augmented reality, and geo tagging 
  • Elevate student voices and stories by sharing student-generated content — including photos, videos, and quotes — to give an authentic perspective on campus life

Want to learn more about how to take your tours to the next level?

Explore six key strategies in our Ultimate Guide to Improving Campus Visits.

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