June 18, 2022 Lauri Stone

Meeting Gen Z’s High-Tech Demands with College Application Software

College faculty and staff have long been in the unique position of understanding the “face of the new student”  and their evolving needs with each generation’s nuances and personality quirks. In fact, they are intimately familiar with adapting to new college students’ particular needs year after year.

With the Millennial generation, higher ed necessarily embraced a “digital first” approach to keep students from quickly losing interest if they were not directly involved in the education process. Through the use of technology with apps, blogs, and social media– the way to “reach and teach” evolved heavily through the college years of this generation.

Then along came Generation Z, colloquially known as Zoomers. They are also known as today’s college students. And just as the Millennials before them, this generation has disrupted but also enhanced the way learning happens in Higher Education.

The average Gen Z (born 1997-2015, now 6-24 years old) had life shaping events that explains the heightened use of technology. Events such as smartphones, social media, online gaming (not platform), streaming content, and chat over email, among others. It makes sense that this generation must have innovation– constant innovation. After all, it’s what they know; they grew up in an age of rapid change and teethed on Mom and Dad’s mobile phone or tablet.  In fact, the average Gen Z received their first cell phone by the age of 10 years old and kept up with the latest upgrades and even placed their orders while their parents trailed three generations behind. For them, technology has always been a fully immersive experience into every part of their lives. Their education is no exception.


Generation Z has grown up in a highly integrated, hyper-connected global community and yet they largely exist in a contradictory bubble of virtual relationships.


This creates a chasm for educators to navigate how to create the “experience” remotely while catering to an increasingly discerning student body.  They have accomplished so much, so fast… the re-imagined classrooms, the creation of a safe, welcoming, and uplifting place. And yet despite higher education’s best efforts to virtually deliver lectures, troubleshoot IT issues, answer student queries and tackle dozens of other challenges, the big question still looms: Is this enough?


The face of the new student features a student that voices the following needs: "Engage with me on the channels I prefer", "Make it relevant to who I am", "Make it easy to find resources", "Prepare me for the connected workforce", "Understand me, no matter who I'm talking to", Connect me quickly to the support I need". 77% of students say schools should use more of their personal information to enhance their college experience.

Photo credit: Salesforce.org


Offering students the best chance to get their education so they can eventually start a rewarding career in the midst of an economic crisis and a global pandemic is a tall order, but an entirely manageable one with the right resources. Since it is admissions season, finding a solid way to connect with applicants and creating a faster, seamless way to get through the admissions process is the place to start.


The College Admission Software for Today’s Applicant

According to Salesforce.org, nearly 80% of students say they expect personalized experiences across their student journey, yet 65% of staff say they lack the data due to organizational silos and decades-old technology. A few more numbers about today’s student according to Salesforce:

    • 75% of students said a feeling a belonging strongly influenced their decision to enroll at an institution.
    • 78% of students say personalized messages help convey that their college/university cares about them and their success.
    • 67% of college students agree with the statement that “it’s frustrating to have to sign into more than one app to get the info I need.”
    • 51% of students say they thrive in a fully immersive educational experience and learn best by ‘doing’ while only 12% said they learn through listening.


The solution?  Salesforce’s platform ‘Admissions Connect’ built within their Education Cloud. This software has proven to increase staff productivity by 89% and reduce costs by 60% by helping admissions teams spend less time on manual processes. This also allows them more time to strengthen relationships with their applicants. The admissions process is simplified and has proven to increase learner engagement by 40% driving better retention and graduation rates.

“We saw first-year retention improve by 1.5% and graduation rates improve by over 4%. With Salesforce, we met our strategic goal three years early.”

-Kerry Donohoe, Dean, Academic Services, University of Massachusetts, Lowell

Admissions Connect promotes student success and creates a unified experience for both the applicant and admissions teams. The software manages to cultivate a sense of belonging (digitally) by reaching students on their preferred channels; email, mobile, social, or chat.  The applicant engagement, streamlined application management and review, as well as working smarter with clearer visibility and insights, accomplishes the deeper connection the applicant needs. In doing so, administrators can use robust analytics to test and measure impact and take action accordingly.

“Salesforce ensures our recruiters are delivering the right message to the right person at the right time.”

-Alan Ng, Director of Outreach Technology, Division of Continuing Studies,

University of Wisconsin-Madison


Successfully implement Salesforce with certified partners

Salesforce.org is proud to work with the partners who contribute to the success of higher ed institutions. Their certified consultants specialize in serving the education community and deliver expert implementation services. They know Salesforce’s products inside out and can quickly get an admissions team up and running with this technology.

Sanmita is a team of certified consultants and technologists who specializing in serving higher ed for over 15 years. We have managed hundreds of projects for major universities and colleges throughout the country. We have developed processes that can walk you through the implementation of Salesforce, along with many other services in design, strategy and communications.

Our Salesforce consulting team strength:

  • AppExchange Projects Completed 172
  • Certified Experts 43
  • 1250+ Projects Across 20+ Industries
  • Certified Salesforce Partner

Start using Salesforce out of the box for higher ed with our team of experts. Your first 10 Enterprise Edition (EE) subscriptions are FREE for qualified customers. Reach out for details and consultation and elevate your admissions processes for your tech savvy college applicant now.


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Lauri Stone

Lauri Stone is Director of Client Relations at Sanmita, Inc., a web design and development firm offering strategy, design, and technology services to higher education, government, and nonprofit entities. She comes to Sanmita with over 25 years of experience in media marketing and advertising and is located in Los Angeles, California.