Research

Today's College Students Shy Away from Face-to-Face Advising

college student texting

It's time for student advising to go beyond the traditional format. While 44 percent of college students would like their coaching to be one-on-one in person, according to a recent survey, more collectively would prefer other modes, including e-mailing (18 percent), online via videoconference or texting (both at 11 percent), via personalized college app (10 percent) and by social media (6 percent).

Applying new formats for advising might address a conundrum that surfaced in the survey results. Even though 74 percent of college students ranked the academic adviser at the top of the list for help making college decisions and 70 percent of college students said that the optimal frequency for meeting with an academic adviser was at least once a month or more often, just 48 percent have done so in the last month. Nearly a quarter of respondents (24 percent) have not met up with a coach for been six months or longer, and 3 percent said they've never done so.

What would they most like help with? Four in 10 people want success coaching to help stay on track with their degree completion efforts as well as the career options they have after graduation.

The survey was done jointly by Civitas Learning, an education technology company, and the Center for Generational Kinetics, a Millennial and Gen Z research firm. The researchers asked a representative cross-section of traditional or Gen Z learners (those 24 and younger) and adult or Millennial students (25 and older) about their educational experiences, needs and aspirations.

Participants were asked to name the three "most significant challenges" to finishing their degree programs. The top two across the board were time management, designated by 36 percent of respondents, and fear of failure, mentioned by 35 percent. However, when the results were broken out by age group, the barriers to graduation differed. While 30 percent of Gen Z students reported that study skills were one of their biggest hurdles, just 22 percent of Millennials said the same. And while 35 percent of Millennials reported feeling overwhelmed by responsibilities, just a quarter of Gen Zers felt the same.

"The next wave of student success initiatives must grapple with an inescapable reality: Today's students are as likely to be derailed by life and logistical challenges — balancing working and learning, childcare, food and shelter — as they are by academics," said Civitas Learning Chief Learning Officer Mark David Milliron, in a prepared statement. "If we want more students to succeed, we need to continue listening and develop systems, strategies and messaging that is more responsive to their needs."

Although a compilation of the results isn't available, a recent conversation on the topic is on the Civitas Learning website.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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