Generation Z has long been recognized as a peer group focused on change and advocacy. These digital natives appreciate the ability to support mission-driven causes, are entrepreneurial in nature and understand that their career path will undoubtedly differ from that of those who came before them. This mentality holds true when it comes to education; today’s high school students have a desire to explore multiple paths to success, blaze their own trail in postsecondary education and potentially take a path that differs from their parents’.
This mindset was validated in two recent surveys by ECMC Group in partnership with Vice Media designed to gather insights from the next generation of postsecondary students and workers. The surveys of 2,200 high schoolers ages 14 to 18 were conducted slightly before the pandemic and a few months after the vast majority of schools transitioned to online learning. Surprisingly, as the world made a seismic shift, the thoughts of this demographic remained much the same, and these students’ desire to blaze their own trail endured.
The takeaway: High schoolers are interested in determining their own path after graduation, and it’s up to educators to provide on-ramps that enable them to reach their educational and professional goals in their own way.
To do so, we must understand the teen mindset when it comes to learning. The surveys found that nearly three-quarters of teens believe a skills-based education makes sense in today’s world, and that learning hands-on or on the job is the most effective way to gain skills. They also highlighted that teens have a keen understanding of the connection between mastering skills and securing a job.