“Gen Z sees interconnectivity, access to information and inclusion as their greatest advantages.”
55% of the Generation Z — those born between 1997 and 2012 — spend five hours or more on their phones everyday. When this cohort of digital natives enter college, they expect campus life to be an extension of their digitally connected lives outside. Especially since the onset of pandemic, as remote learning became the norm, students do not see technology as supplementing their studies, but as an enabler of a holistic learning experience.
Universities, on the other hand, have traditionally favored keeping phones out of classrooms. They see smartphones as distraction, eating into study time. Recently, however, experts are recommending that students be allowed to use mobile phones to improve their digital literacy. Not only are they recommending that we allow phones in class, but that we also encourage students to use them for learning.
In this blog post, we explore how a college campus app can help universities enable such a holistic experience for their students, whether your campus is in-person, remote or hybrid.
How a campus app drives student success
The first few days in college can be overwhelming for most students — new environment, newly found autonomy, new processes, essentially a new life. To welcome them onboard and offer a seamless experience, the familiarity of a mobile app can help.
A good campus app can offer:
- Guided onboarding that walks the student through everything they need or want to know
- Ongoing companionship sending alerts and notifications about matters of interest/importance
- Personalized recommendations for campus activities based on the student’s interests
- Mobile check-ins to track participation, enabling educators to get a better understanding of their student cohorts
On-demand access to information
There is a lot for students to remember — course plans, daily timetables, submission deadlines, extra-curricular activities etc.; to say nothing of other information they would need like available scholarships, support services etc.
The pertinent point here is that Gen Z students are less likely to pick up the phone and call the admissions department for the information they need. They are self-learners, “more comfortable absorbing knowledge online than in traditional institutions of learning.” And they want it on-the-go.
A mobile campus app can help Gen Z students find their information themselves easily with:
- Timetables for subjects, specializations, extra-curricular, tests, exams etc.
- Planner to track attendance, projects, tasks
- Agenda for the day, week, or the year
- Alerts for latest announcements and updates
- Instant access to student counseling, advisors, emergency services etc.
Sense of community
Colleges are not just a place of learning. They are often places where adolescents come of age; where life-long friendships and connections are formed. Enabling an environment where this is possible is one of the fundamental responsibilities of universities.
A robust student community app can help universities achieve this both in-person and online:
- A live feed of events on campus can help students find their community based on common interests
- Tailored recommendations to campus activities can improve student participation
- Public forums with active discussion threads encourage debate and collaboration
- Peer-to-peer collaboration through messaging and video can help students interact with one another safely and comfortably
Track personal progress
Tracking progress is the first step to achieving excellence. A good campus app can help students set goals, work towards them, cross milestones and stay on track. They can also share their results with their community and work together towards common goals.
Shape great student experiences with a campus app
Students are using apps everyday to do all of the above. They use WhatsApp or SMS to communicate with peers, Zoom or Facetime to have video calls, calendars to track events, to-do apps for deadlines etc. Currently, this experience is scattered, inefficient and overall ineffective. A comprehensive and intuitive campus app can bring together the entire college experience to one place, deliver personalized student experiences and guide the student journey, from orientation to graduation.