Skimming the News: Two Higher Ed Takeaways This Week

Trends in Higher Ed
Photo Credit: Francisco Osorio

Every day, I count on The Skimm to kickstart my news consumption. Their approach inspired this post, because I’ve got a lot on my mind. With every passing day, we’re seeing the future of higher ed – particularly in the student population – coming to life in a million small, incremental ways.  Today, I just want to touch on two ideas that just won’t get out of my brain.

Decline of the non-traditional college population: urban colleges and universities are leading the way in student support, engagement and retention. Diverse: Issues in Higher Education recently took a look at key initiatives from institutions like DePaul University, St. Francis College and California State University, Fullerton. These schools are already serving higher populations of non-traditional students, first-generation students and others who simply need a stronger foundation of support. Their efforts go beyond standard assistance with adjusting to college life and strategies for success to strengthening ties to the campus and the community – even if they live off-campus or keep non-standard schedules. More traditional, enclosed campuses will want to take note and start making their strategies now.

Snapchat = a snap second to make a big impression: get ready for the selective, strategic Gen Z. Our challenge to meet students wherever they want to be is only getting more important. Gen Z doesn’t go for the “more is better” approach with social media – they choose specific platforms to engage in specific ways. While Facebook, Instagram and Twitter continue to be important (despite Facebook’s struggle with this population), Snapchat offers a quick, effective way for colleges and universities to show off their campus and student experience. And, the more involvement from actual students, the more authentic and trustworthy it is. Eventually, every school will have a presence on Snapchat – it’s just a matter of who is delivering the content. Savvy schools are getting started now.

That’s what’s on my mind – what’s on yours? Have you seen any smart, strategic new initiatives from your favorite colleges and universities lately? Tell us in the comments.

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