Are you ready for the ‘Connected’ Class of 2015?

A survey taken by more than 7,000 students on the StudentCom network offers insight into students’ technology habits

Did you know that three in four students would prefer to have access to Facebook than access to a car? Following recent survey results, it is clear that student’s addiction to technology and social media shows no signs of slowing down, so how can we use this knowledge to help you prepare for the Class of 2015?

As accommodation teams are busy preparing to welcome students to University this September, now is the time to be thinking about how best to effectively get your messages across to them.  From health and safety notices, fresher’s week news and reminders about completing room inventories, there are countless important messages that need to be communicated to students, particularly during those all-important first few weeks of term. With traditional means of communication such as emails and printed collateral no longer hitting the mark, the question is how can you reach students effectively and in a way that they will listen? 

A recent survey taken by more than 7,000 students on the StudentCom network offers some interesting insights into students’ online behaviour and technology habits, and as such can potentially be used to help tailor your approach to getting your message across to students.

The survey revealed the following statistics:

“75% of students rate Wi-Fi and/or access to the internet as a main priority when choosing their accommodation”

When choosing university accommodation, a reliable and fast internet access is now considered an essential service that is expected by students, just as they expect running water and electricity!

“A third of student’s rate access to external Wi-Fi at their accommodation as very important”

Whilst students rated their bedrooms as the most important place to be able to connect to the internet (90.34%), access within communal areas has become increasingly important to students with almost 70% expecting access in the kitchen and lounge, 42% in corridors and 34% in external areas. One reason behind this could be the growing importance of communal study for which Wi-Fi is essential, particularly during exam periods when students often get together for group revision sessions.

“2 in 5 students spend more than 6 hours a day connected to the internet”

Students spend most of their day connected to the internet in one way or another whether it’s socialising with friends, listening to music or studying for their course. According to a global study entitled ‘the World Unplugged’, students were even described as having withdrawal symptoms similar to those seen in drug addicts after just one day without using gadgets or technology, proving just how crucial the internet is to students.

“150% increase in the number of devices on the StudentCom network”

According to the results of the survey, 96% students connect to the internet using two or more devices, with some using as many as five. Whilst laptops continue to be the most important means of connecting to the internet for students (94.04%), access via mobiles is increasingly important (91%). Other popular devices that students are using to connect to the internet include tablets, games consoles and internet TV, all of which have shown a significant increase since last year.

“96% of students use Facebook”

As social media continues to soar far more students are turning to online communication, with web email on a steady decline, often seen as a chore and not a form of simple instant messaging. In many cases students appear to have by-passed email altogether with a trend in using social media platforms like Twitter and Facebook to communicate.

A recent Jisc survey highlighted the importance of social media amongst students, discovering that one in four students now use social media as a means of contacting their university, communicating with their lecturers online. The chief executive of Jisc, Martyn Harrow, explains “higher education providers need to ensure that they are tech savvy and that education technology is at the very top of their agenda to secure the future of their institution.”

“300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute”

Online video has become increasingly popular, making up 2/3 of all mobile data traffic. This statistic is also reflected on the StudentCom network with 1/3 of their total bandwidth consumption from video usage, demonstrating just how students spend their time online. YouTube videos have become increasingly popular as a means of communicating, whether it’s watching tutorials or how to guides, it offers a more engaging solution to our queries. The demand for digital video content is ever increasing, with students watching it on a variety of devices either for educational, music, or entertainment purposes. 

According to Campuslife, recently acquired by StudentCom and known by many in the sector as experts in student communication, they believe the answer lies in delivering your message to the heart of the student community through a medium that they understand and enjoy ……

According to Tom White, Executive Director at Campuslife, “today’s students can convey a message to each other in less than 15 seconds purely by video or photo. With the rise of social networks like Snapchat and Instagram, the need to communicate in more visually appealing ways takes precedence. That’s not to say written content is dead but keep it short, snappy and bring the issue to life. It’s also about ensuring a multi-channel approach and getting your message in as many different places but at the most relevant times.”

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