image shows Generation Alpha boy with a VR headset on

Preparing for Generation Alpha Students in 2023

5 min read

Katarina Gligovic

Generation Alpha brings new challenges for universities worldwide. Most notably, they will expect what other generations wanted - having the same technological developments implemented in education that they are used to in daily life. 

The oldest of Generation Alpha will soon start high school and begin planning their educational path. While a lot about Gen Alpha is yet to be confirmed, universities should start their Gen Alpha recruitment strategies now, so they don’t find themselves unprepared.

Generation Alpha - the Basics

A generational researcher Mark McCrindle termed the generation succeeding Generation Z and born between 2010 and 2025 as Generation Alpha. In the interview with The New York Times from 2015, he explained the reason behind the name, and stated they present “the first generation wholly born in the 21st century”.

Generation Z spans from 1997 to 2010, and while they were exposed to the new technologies, members of Gen Alpha will be the first generation to have a complete formal education that includes technologies from the very beginning.

As McCrindle stated in the interview, they are the first generation to have screens placed in front of them from an early age and consume a lot of screen time. However, it is not only about screens, but algorithms.

They have grown up with companies and social media analysing their data and putting recommendations and content in front of them without them having to search for it.

Because of this, brand awareness and social media marketing strategies should be first on your resolution list.

Building a presence with purpose

Generation Alpha’s environment is filled with screens and scrolling - they don’t question whether one university has well-built profiles and if they look professional or not. They look instead for the experience and what the brand has to offer them. 

Generation Alpha grew up scrolling, swiping and using search engines. They do not rely only on the search results in Google, but on social media platforms and what the universities have to say. The New York Times reported that Generation Z use TikTok instead of Google to find recommendations and reviews. Make sure your institution's profiles have the answers to FAQs.

We have heard it before, but... video, video, video

Generation Alpha watch videos to gain information. Create short tutorials or content about your research, or how your university will benefit them.

Turn these videos series' on YouTube and create shorter snippets for TikTok and Instagram.

image shows a Gen Alpha boy with a VR headset on

Provide experience

Do not focus on selling and advertising the university like a product. Focus on your university as an educational experience that encompasses different aspects. In addition to social media, create an application that covers everything from student life to the program/course syllabus.

Another great experience that generation Alpha will appreciate is a virtual tour of your university campus. Also consider adding a virtual class to give an authentic insight to daily life as a student.

What can you achieve in 2023?

Depending on how developed your presence and brand awareness is, you can make your further plan and strategy. Consider what is lacking and what you already have and start planning for generation Alpha. Focus on the purpose of your content, and make the core of your strategy to spread the word about your educational seminars, webinars, courses, video materials, events and what you care about. 

In the interview with Guardian about generation Alpha, author and educator Karen Gross was asked whether universities should prepare themselves in advance for the upcoming generation Alpha, and she highlighted the need for being ready and planning now, otherwise you will fall behind. 

That is, universities cannot stagnate, and when the time comes suddenly update their technology and try to teach staff to use it in a few days.

Higher ed institutions must start planning, updating their technology and implementing it in the courses. While having a VR seemed like a device not everyone could afford, in just a few years it will be more accessible.

This further requires universities to educate the staff on how to utilize different devices and implement them in education. Professors and lecturers should keep up with Gen Alpha's learning habits and interests, and get to grips with how and why new technology is beneficial for their program.

Making the first step

A good place to start is with augmented reality applications in teaching. In elementary schools and high schools, augmented reality and virtual reality are thought to evoke interest in children through gamified lessons. Universities and medical schools have also utilized AR in teaching anatomy and surgery.

If you are still doubting the need to prepare, just remember that generation Alpha plays games that teach coding. From an early age, they are exposed to games that develop skills for further education.

Universities should follow carefully how Gen Alpha acquires skills and knowledge. And even if you think that there is time, first-generation Alpha students will soon enter high schools and start thinking about their next step in education so make 2023 is the year to start preparing for Generation Alpha.

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