I enjoyed reading a recent piece from Rebecca Ruiz, entitled The Medium is the Message: Should a College Call, Text or Tweet? According to Ruiz, members of the millennial generation may be stereotyped as rabid text messagers, but a group of nearly 10 high school seniors and college freshmen agreed on Saturday that they would most like to hear from a college they are interested in by phone. The group of students, all from the New Orleans area, spoke during a session called “Technology in the College Process: The Student Perspective,” held as the curtain came down on the annual conference of the National Association for College Admission Counseling.
In one exchange, a bewildered counselor asked, “You don’t want us to text you?”
A 12th grader replied, “If you’re going to use the phone, taking the time to call is a lot better, a lot more personal.”
Another revelation for counselors came when the students expressed little interest in connecting with colleges on Facebook, suggesting that a university’s presence on their news feeds was invasive.
“Colleges say, ‘Like us on Facebook’ — but that’s my personal time, I’d rather not,” one high school senior said. “I’d like to find a time in my day where I don’t think about the college process,” she said to soft applause from a few sympathetic audience members.
And I say, finally.
Over the last few years, we’ve researched and reported on the communication preferences of high school and adult students. At the same time we’ve spoken to a number of enrollment professionals who are incredulous when they see the results.
For example, students prefer using search engines, receiving direct mail and email messages to learning about your institution through Twitter and Facebook.
But, how can this be? Students live on Facebook, they don’t use email anymore, and as other vendors have told us in years past, they spend their time blogging and listening to podcasts. No, not if you compare their online behavior:
We’ve updated this research for high school students and we will be releasing the results this fall.
What I can tell you is the trends are the same. Focus on connecting with students and building relationships. Stop letting technology lead the conversation.
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