New Research from Young Invincibles Shows Importance of Online Search In College Search Process for Working Adults and First-Generation Students
Searching for a college is not easy, and finding a “best-fit” college can be seemingly impossible for many students, especially for first-generation students and working adults. While the amount of college information available online can be overwhelming, prospective students don’t always know what information to trust and prioritize, so it should come as no surprise that students are unsure of how to navigate the process. How do students know which information is most pertinent to them and which statistics best speak to their chances of success? How do students know which data to search for and which data to trust? How do student find, if ever, the school that is best for them?
To answer these questions, Young Invincibles conducted an online poll of nearly 300 working 22 to 44 year-olds who were considering higher education, as well as those currently enrolled in a degree or certificate program. We also conducted six focus groups with nearly 40 students ages 17 to 36 years-old, including first-generation students, working-adult students, and students earning their GED who are considering post-secondary education. We asked them about which information they searched for, how they searched for it, and what could have been better about the process.
Our research identified three key themes about non-traditional students’ college search behavior:
- Students mostly search for information on majors and programs, but tools are focused on providing information on institutions.
- Students want personalized information readily available to them, with assistance and reminders to help them submit the application.
- Students compare schools, but their ultimate decision is also dependent on geography and cost.
These themes can help inform the development and design of future online college search tools that better serve the needs of today’s students.
Read the full report here.