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Recruiting & Engaging Centennial Learners

It's Time for Higher Ed to Think About Students in the "Selfie Generation"

In a recent article featured in Enrollment Management Report, senior vice president for programs, training, and youth development with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and former student affairs administrator, Damon A. Williams, Ph.D., stressed that the time has come for institutions to prepare to engage with centennials – the latest generation of students hitting college campuses.Centennial student learners

As one of the first generations to be completely integrated with technology from birth, students born after 1997 present a unique challenge to campus professionals from a communications perspective. To help you prepare to effectively interact with this new generation, Williams shared the following insights from his experience and research on what makes this generation of students different from others:

  1. Mobile-first, digitally intuitive and connected. For centennials (or those born after 1997), cell phones and other technologies have always been a significant part of their lives.
  1. Constantly creating and sharing. They’re tech-savvy and constantly accessing social media. It’s not that they prefer online interaction or find online interaction more convenient, it’s just that they know how to use it and use it frequently.
  1. Raised in the Great Recession. They watched as their parents lost opportunities. And that led them to become hyper-concerned about their futures, wondering, “Will I be employed? How will I get a job? Will I achieve at a higher level than my parents?”
  1. Questioning everything. Centennials are accustomed to bantering with one another and questioning everything.
  1. More culturally and politically engaged. Today’s college campuses can expect to see a continued resurgence of activism. In response to this phenomenon, Williams recommended that student affairs professionals develop and disseminate social media and communications protocol, while creating campus inclusivity and community statements to embed in their interactions with students.

To read more of Williams’ observations on the newest incoming generation of centennial students, read the full article from the Enrollment Management Report here.

For more enrollment-related tips, like how to incorporate data into your strategies, visit our Resources page.

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