Future of Student Needs


The student perspective is often absent from works on the future of higher education. And when they are considered, it is usually only about school, not in the context of their overall life. Our view is that insights on the future of students will come from looking at their life as a whole rather than just their life in school, after all, it’s all connected.

Mapping Future Student Needs

Examining Potential Futures Across Key Student Domains

We crafted a visual map of student life to guide our exploration. After several iterations, we came up with six categories—Working, Living, Learning, Playing, Connecting and Participating. For each, we crafted a “baseline future” in which present trends continue, plans are fulfilled, projections are accurate, and there are no major surprises. Since that outcome is also rather unlikely, we identified the most plausible “alternative future” in each area. What surprised us most was just how strong the connections are between the six aspects of student life!

Our most important learning and insights emerged from considering student life holistically—it’s not just about school.