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6 Tips for Communicating with Gen Z Students

3 min read

Generation Z students were born after 1995, so much of their lives have been spent holding mobile phones. Those phones hold hundreds of apps and icons that can be used to reach Gen Z students.

While their innate tech-savviness makes it easier to reach Gen Z students, they’re also wary of being bombarded with messages. Everywhere they turn, they’re getting texts, emails, social media notifications, and streaming service updates. The chances of your messages getting tuned out are high, unless you have a plan.

To cut through the clutter when communicating with this generation, their needs have to come first. Gen Z students want information. They need to know that your staff is accessible to quickly answer their questions, and they want clear next steps and deadlines to help them navigate the admissions process.

Here are 6 tips to better communicate with Gen Z students, from building relationships with key stakeholders to creating value throughout the student journey.

1. Be Authentic

Every text, email, and message you send to a Gen Z student should be helpful. They want quick answers to questions, not spam. Sending fewer, more meaningful messages will increase your reach and impact. Gen Z students will be grateful for deadline updates and missing form reminders.

“They’re getting overloaded with a lot of messaging. It’s really easy to see and believe when something’s not authentic or worth their time. I think it’s easy to ignore. I always talk about the importance of being genuine and authentic, so when you do send out those messages, they understand that they are going to get a response back.”

- Jake Joseph, Associate Director of Admissions, St. Michael’s College

2. Build Relationships with Parents

Gen Z students rely heavily on people they trust the most, which can be their parents and guardians, who have a huge influence on the school they choose to attend. Building a relationship with their parents gives you more opportunities to connect with students. Focus on important topics like financial aid and highlight the potential your university can provide for their kids.


3. Don't Underestimate Generation Z

A common misconception is that Generation Z is lazy. In reality, this generation craves choice, control, activism, and leadership. Give students an opportunity for ownership and a chance to create something that’s meaningful to them. Show them that they can make a difference at your school.


36% of high school seniors visit a school's Instagram

4. Keep Up Appearances

If your staff isn’t keeping contact with Gen Z student across all digital channels, you’ll start from behind. Your website and social media profiles are a key part of communicating with high school seniors. Update your website and social channels often.



5. Create Value

Generation Z has watched previous generations struggle with student loan debt. They’re going to be extra careful about making an investment in higher education. When recruiting Gen Z students, make them aware of any and all resources your school offers to help them such as scholarships and grants. Demonstrate your school’s return on investment with easy-to-find career prep resources and post-graduation job placement rates and examples.


6. Concentrate on What You CAN Control

There are many factors involved in the important decision of choosing where to attend college, and it’s not always possible to manage those factors. You can’t control a student’s geographic location or the potential influence of a popular kid in class. You can, however, make yourself available for opportunities to connect with students who might be a great fit for your school. 

The bottom line is that Generation Z wants to hear from you, they just want those messages to be relevant, authentic, and timely. If you communicate on their terms, you’ll have an easier time building relationships.

Want to learn more about connecting with parents of Generation Z students? Read our blog filled with tips to engage parents of prospective students.


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