Kids These Days: Tech-Savvy Millennials and College Admissions

Tech-Savvy Millennials & College Admissions

It’s been a minute, but I remember researching colleges. Eager and over-achieving, I requested catalogs and applications online, then waited ages for them to arrive in the mail.

Researching for graduate school a few years later was a little different. There was a lot more information online. A few programs even had blogs with at least 3 posts from the previous year.

Technically, I’m a millennial, though I’m hesitant to claim the title. But there are a few things I can’t deny: my mom put a “Baby On Board” sign in her car, we had a computer in the house. I remember when Napster was a thing and I could download a song in just 35 minutes.


There’s been a lot of talk the past few years about who is actually a millennial (generally understood to be anyone born between 1980-1999). There is a lot of debate over their various personal characteristics, their attachment to technology, and work ethic. A lot of folks born in the early part of that range getting pretty upset about it.

Wherever you stand on the issue, we can probably agree kids applying to colleges this year are vastly different from the kids who were applying to colleges 10 or 15 years ago. They expect much different things from their experience.

Students today are glued to their devices. Sure, most of us are, but younger millennials feel their devices are a part of them. They’ve been shaped by the technology that’s been present for nearly all their lives.

What the research says on millennials and college admissions:

Chegg is a site where high school and college students register for help on preparing for college and finding internships. They recently published an infographic highlighting the ways high school students research colleges, and what they look for from admissions.  

The verdict? These smart, savvy, ambitious students are concerned about their future, and they demand a lot from prospective colleges.

The infographic’s attached below, but here are some of the highlights:

  • 80% watch a video from the college during research.
  • Like most consumers, they want personalized information tailored to their needs and interests.
  • They use social media for research, putting an emphasis on the visual. Most look to Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
  • 51% of students use laptops to research, as opposed to 28% who use phones. But 59% percent of those visit a college website at least once a week.
  • College rankings are important, but the most searched-for online resource is scholarship information.
  • The majority of students are applying to 1-6 colleges. Colleges must compete hard to be in that number.

Millennials & College Admissions infographic


So what do you do with all this information? Since nearly all students want more personalized communication, you might be interested in reading more about market segmentation.