Future of Student Needs

Learning in 2025

The New College Experience

The quad. The dorms. The lecture hall. The food. The lifelong friendships. The parties. The cap and gown. The job offer. “The College Experience” has always been the stuff of legend, but in the future, it may be pure myth. Even among groups for whom the traditional college track has been accessible, new value sets, economic constraints and opportunities, changing ideas of life stages, and emergent technologies are making this version of higher education untenable and undesirable for many learners. In a society where learners are of every age and background hold wildly individualized passions and skills, and live in an increasingly smart and connected world, THE College Experience will be a thing of the past.

Flip The Story

Institutions have always set the terms for learning, and some students have lived on the fringes, either by choice or because they simply didn’t fit in. Those learners – whether a free spirit who pursued her own path or a first-generation student who struggled to make it work in the lecture hall – have been told to conform but, increasingly, the pressure is on institutions to make space for everyone, to abandon their expedient, exclusive, one-size-fits-all approach. In the future, can universities add value not by calling the shots but by providing tailored opportunities that meet student needs? Signals of change indicate it’s possible, if students and advocates are willing to work to address the power imbalance that makes us believe we need to fit the system, and not the other way around.

Signals of Change

What if “college is not for everyone” was not a judgment of students and but a call to action for universities?