The University of Arizona

CatPulse Insight - Customizing, Personalizing the College Experience

Key Points

  1. Today’s consumers want to customize, personalize their buying experience.
  2. Consumers look for exclusivity, products tailored to fit their exact needs.
  3. Much like consumer markets, education seems to be picking up on this trend and moving in the same direction.
  4. Younger generation of UA students, especially this year’s freshman class, increasingly value the ability to create their own unique UA experience. 

More than any other generation, Millenials and Gen Z want to customize and personalize their own consumer experience. Today’s generation wants to know a company is paying attention to their specific needs and tailoring products that are just as diverse and individualistic as they are, according to a recent trend article on Entrepreneur.

But, do today’s students want the same customization in their own college experience?

CatPulse Findings

There are reasons to believe that they do. Findings reveal that the lower the class standing, the more students value the ability to create their own unique educational experience.

  • 38% of seniors
  • 47% of juniors
  • 51% of sophomores
  • 62% of freshman agreed they wanted to create their own unique UA educational experience.

Educational Landscapes and Market Trends

These findings align with current educational landscapes and market trends.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a firm believer of personalized learning and education. Last year, Zuckerberg invested a sizable chunk of Facebook shares, worth an estimated $45 billion, to the development of software that “understands how [students] learn best and where [we] need to focus,” according to EdWeek.

Consumer markets mirror the same trend, with Millennials showing a desire for products that create a unique purchasing experience that satisfy their cravings for the latest, greatest, and most exclusive products.   

It’s a big part of why Pop-Up Shops have grown in popularity in the last year. PopUp Republic estimates the value of the pop-up industry at $50 billion. The idea of pop-up shops are to create a “memorable, exclusive, and photogenic experience, which lends a “cool” factor to a brand and builds a loyal clientele,” according to Vogue.

Even influential giants such as Nike, have taken notice of pop-up shops and consumer demands for unique, exclusive experiences. Just this year, Nike launched an app that challenged shoe fanatics to hunt for new shoe releases.

Back to the College Experience

So, how can colleges recreate similar experiences? Many institutions are still trying to figure this out.

Publications such as Higher Education Marketing have suggested that colleges incorporate elements of exclusivity in their live streams by giving users an opportunity to learn something first or displaying content they can’t find anywhere else. Another option is to create bite-sized, short lived content such as Snapchat stories.