#NACACreads: Gen Z Students Take New Approach to College Selection

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generationzThe first wave of Generation Z students had just entered kindergarten on 9/11.

They lived through the Great Recession and came of age in an era defined by new technologies that changed the way we learn and connect with others.

And today, as students born between 1995 and 2010 begin to search for and select colleges, those formative experiences loom large, author Meghan Grace said Tuesday during a #NACACreads Twitter discussion of Generation Z Goes to College.

“Gen Z sees college as a means to a stable financial future,” noted Grace, who co-authored the book with Corey Seemiller. “They are concerned about the cost of an education, financial stability, and employment after graduation.”

Grace spent an hour chatting about this new generation of students with counselors, admission professionals, and others from across the country.

Although Gen Z students are pragmatic regarding college costs, they are more idealistic than past generations when it comes to selecting career goals, said Grace.

“Gen Z recognizes issues in our world and feels compelled to make sustainable social change,” she said.

Students are eager to tackle real-world problems while still in school, she added — a sentiment echoed by other chat participants.

From increased campus activism to a growing interest in entrepreneurship, internships, and co-op programs, Gen Z students look for ways to connect classroom learning to action.

“I found the Z Gen focus on changing the world and social justice refreshing,” Bob Bardwell, a school counselor and NACAC board member tweeted. “I certainly see some of that in my current students.”

Learn more about the book and read a full transcript of the chat.

Admitted writer/editor Mary Stegmeir welcomes additional comments and story ideas at mstegmeir@nacacnet.org.

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