What students want on college campuses

What students want on college campuses


The world of higher education is changing. From how students prefer to learn to the type of experiences they want, and how much they are willing to pay for a degree, colleges are in a continuous state of evolution to keep up with the preferences of their ideal students.

As college campuses prioritize their renovations and technological upgrades to meet the growing expectations from students, it only makes sense to measure student feedback before, during, and after implementation to ensure success and reap the ROI.

Adopting the best practice of soliciting and acting upon student feedback ensures colleges and universities can keep a pulse on what students want on their college campus. Generally speaking, here is what we know right now in terms of what students want on college campuses.

More Collaborative and Creative Spaces

It probably comes as no surprise that students want more designated areas on campus for thinking, creating, and collaborating with their peers.

According to EducationDive, they found that the blueprint for 21st-century college campuses includes immersive experiences. “More education is happening out in the field through immersive experiences and technology. This will cause campuses to fundamentally rethink their physical assets,” says Traci Engel Lesneski, who led the team at Minneapolis architectural firm MSR.

These types of spaces aren’t limited to your traditional learning areas either such as libraries and study rooms. In fact, it is quite possible that even common areas like dining halls will experience a renaissance of sorts where large, impersonal dining calls could be replaced with smaller, more intimate dining facilities within residential buildings and around campus.

More Technology

With technology being a driving force behind many prioritized campus upgrades, it’s important to note that while students want the latest technologies to stay connected and support their learning, it needs to be implemented in a way that minimizes the disruption to students in the process.

Wi-Fi connectivity, printing and 3D printing stations, wireless charging stations, and overall technologies that support multiple devices for staff and students to facilitate the successful completion of project-based work are all high on students wishlists according to ZGF Architects.

More self-service technology instruments, stations, and services present real-time customer service needs to address questions, report problems, and gather feedback on experiences.  After all, real-time feedback is important in order to successfully maintain these necessary and expensive investments on college campuses.

Personalized Communication and Experiences

Complementary to the previous aforementioned wants of students above, personalization is also something today’s student craves that can wind up paying big if colleges implement it appropriately.

According to a study conducted by ed tech provider Ellucian based on responses of 1,302 students (500), alumni (502), and staff (300) more than half of those surveyed (58 percent) said that of all the companies and institutions they engage with, their college is the one least likely to have personalized their experience.

Other key findings from the study reveal:

  • 87% of students who received personalized communications said that it was an important factor in their college decision
  • On average, students have to speak with 4+ people to get an answer to a single advising question
  • 85% of alumni agree they would donate more often if they knew their money was funding organizations or initiatives with which they were involved as a student

Their findings purport that personalized communications increases enrollment, engagement, and future donations. One way to track and maintain data to measure the effectiveness of personalization initiatives is the continuous collection of student and staff feedback. 95% of advancement officials indicate more data across the student lifecycle would help them have better relationships with students and alumni.


What students want from their college will always ebb and flow with the changing times. The one thing colleges and universities can count on is that student preferences will continue to drive enrollment and inform critical investment decisions. For these reasons, colleges and universities should equally invest in technology that creates an integrated approach to student feedback across departments and services.

Ready to do just that? We want to hear from you.

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