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    2023 Summary of College-Bound High School Student Trends

    Posted January 23, 2024, 1:00 pm by TeenLife


    In the rapidly changing landscape of high school education, today's students face unprecedented challenges and transformations, particularly in the wake of the pandemic, lockdowns, virtual learning, and societal disruptions. As these high schoolers gear up for the next chapter in their academic journey—college enrollment—an intriguing question arises: How have these recent experiences shaped the way they approach the search for their ideal colleges?

    To delve into this inquiry, RNL, Gigg, Modern Campus, PLEXUSS, and StudentBridge conducted an E-Expectations survey, polling nearly 2,000 students from 10th to 12th grade. This 2023 report unveils valuable insights into the evolving behaviors, expectations, and priorities of high school students as they navigate the complex landscape of college exploration.

    Key Findings:

    1. Diverse Resources, Omnichannel Approach:

    • Students rely on a variety of resources in their college search journey, emphasizing the need for a balanced, omnichannel marketing approach.
    • Top sources include the college's website, school emails, campus videos, printed brochures, and financial aid or scholarship calculators.

    2. Willingness to Share Information:

    • Students are willing to share personal information, with email addresses, names, and cell phone numbers being the top items.
    • Notably, students are also comfortable sharing contact information for their parents.

    3. Surging Importance of Video Content:

    • A significant increase in the number of students watching videos from colleges, rising from 70% in 2021 to 82% in 2023.
    • 83% of students find videos helpful in their college search process.

    4. Social Interaction and Virtual Communities:

    • The search for social interaction and communities online is on the rise, blurring the lines between the virtual and real worlds.
    • Virtual experiences, including tours and online communities, play a crucial role in college planning for a majority of students.

    5. Digital Ads and Engagement:

    • A substantial number of students engage with digital ads, with 63% clicking on ads from colleges.
    • Reasons for clicking include discovering new schools, finding the ad content interesting, and being reminded of enrollment-related tasks.

    6. Contact Methods:

    Students predominantly make contact through a school's website form and email, showcasing the importance of online accessibility.


    The 2023 E-Expectations survey paints a comprehensive picture of the evolving dynamics in high school students' college search process. Institutions must adapt to these changes, embracing a holistic, digitally-driven strategy that encompasses diverse channels and resonates with the tech-savvy and socially connected generation of prospective college students. By understanding and leveraging these insights, colleges and organizations catered to college-bound students can effectively engage with them and facilitate informed decision-making in this transformative era of education. If you need extra guidance navigating this constantly-changing landscape, reach out to us and we’ll be happy to help.

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    For more information on this and other great programs for high school students, go to www.teenlife.com.