Serving millennial students in a microwave society

Serving millennial students in a microwave society

Written By

Larry Karcher-Vice President Business Development

If you begin doing research on how to best communicate with millennials you will quickly find hundreds of articles spanning the past three years that drive a consistent message: give reasons to read emails or be ‘clickable’, be direct, add visuals (infographics or emoji’s are great), and accentuate key points (because they are not often reading the entire message).

Everyone is interested in all of the typical behaviors of the millennial generation because they are 80 million strong, with 55.2 million already in the workforce, and slated to represent 75% of the total American workforce by 2020. That’s a big group of buyers, shoppers, decision makers, and service providers are eager to adjust to the preferences of this expanding consumer population. However, many colleges and universities have not adapted effectively to their new predominant student body.
Below are summarized points from all of those articles I mentioned earlier followed by what that means for millennials as our students.

-Prefer quick, easily accessible, and direct information.
-Prefer information to be readily available 24/7.
-One stop shop
-First generation to consider college an expense.

Millennials have evolved with technology that provides massive information that is more readily available than ever before. That does not mean that they are disinterested in talking or do not need support! Remember the ‘Rotisserie Cooker’ “set it and forget it” commercials? Millennials are not the ‘Rotisserie Cooker’ – you cannot set them with technology, forget about them, and expect they will pop out as graduates with your university.

Millennials are defined to be anyone between the ages of 20 – 36. Individuals in the millennial generation are each at different stages of life, they are each facing significant transition, and most value support along the way. These are all people completing college, starting college, starting jobs, or starting families. These are all people working through some of the most stressful milestones life has to offer. Millennials are still people who depend on relationships for support, change, or decision making.

*Key takeaway – Tech enabled initial engagements are great, but lasting relationships are critical for retention and student success.

Tips to build a lasting relationship with your millennial student:

-Use multiple methods of outreach. This way your potential student can choose which they prefer
-Be direct in your initial contacts
-Be proactive! Let them know you will be following up, when, how, and what you will accomplish.
-take time to learn as much as you can in conversations
-Be an active listener. Use tools like tone, empathy, and enthusiasm to effectively support students.

In our microwave society let us not forget that at times, you may have to check on your “students”. They still have oven problems that take a little longer to process and figure out. We cannot offer immediate access as a supplement for support. Relationships are built on trust, and trust can only be built through communication, learning, and support. Technology is a great supplement to initial and ongoing engagement, but it cannot completely replace the value of a great conversation or individual support.


Check out our student solutions we offer at Greenwood Hall Here.