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You Don’t Like Fake People and Neither Do Your Students

Your students don’t want fake people, and can sniff it within 10 seconds if you even try for something like unrealistic enthusiasm.

Gen Z. The next frontier of students hitting campuses across the U.S. These students have been bombarded since the time they were born with technology, ads, and all sorts of “shiny” you-want-this! They can spot B.S. from a mile away and aren’t afraid to make the decision to avoid it completely.

An article from Business Journalism brought up some of the concerns with the differences between Gen Z and Millenials. Such as how they make their decisions, why they go to college at all, and what their expectations are when they get there (and after).

In each of these, it’s clear they value and look for people (primarily peers) that are going to be “real” with them. Emphasizing the need for…

Authenticity.

It’s a good word and has been tossed around a lot. So let’s define it, what it looks like, and what it looks like in the “real world.”

Authenticity: n The quality of being authentic. Synonyms: Genuineness, bona fides; legit, valid, reliable, dependable, trustworthy, credible, accurate, true
“She’s really authentic” “Too legit to quit”

Yeah, you get the idea. It’s the plain, truth of the matter. If the medicine isn’t going to taste good, don’t tell me it will.

So how can you show your authenticity?


Accurate Representation

Accurate Representation is key to authenticity Seventhpoint Higher Education

If you know your school has a reputation for “____”, don’t try to pretend you don’t. Own what’s being said about you and where that reputation has come from.

For example, you’re giving a tour, “I know our college has a reputation as a bit of a party school, and that’s due to our thriving Greek life. Our sororities and fraternities are incredibly active participants in the community and enjoy welcoming all members of our university.”

Find ways to communicate truth while still focusing on the benefits of your school.


Peer Mentorship

Peer Mentoring Gives the Real Story - Seventh Point Higher Ed

Consistently, research has found that Gen Z looks to peer input to influence their decisions. Use it to your advantage!

Setup a way to connect prospective students with current students.

Getting the “inside look” from someone they respect and relate to is a great way to get out of your own way.


Use real people on your social

Get real people on social

Authenticity often comes through connection. Let your prospective, and current, students connect with a real person on your social accounts. If you’re tweeting back and forth, sign a name “Thanks for the suggestion! – Jeremy” The same with Facebook, SnapChat, etc.

In fact, my wife and I took a quick jaunt to the mountains of Asheville, NC and ended up eating at Pack’s Tavern. A nostalgic and rustic restaurant in the heart of downtown that honestly serves up some of the tastiest food around. I took a few pics of our food and the ambiance inside and checked in on Facebook posting those pictures.

Jer-and-Ging-Packs-Tavern I bet we hadn’t walked to our car and Pack’s had already liked our post and replied to us. I may not be Gen Z or a Millennial, but I was super impressed. It’s that instant response that tells me that you care and that you’re listening.

Millennials were just happy that someone on the account responded. Gen Z needs more.

They need to know you’re not just a bot, and that you really care about their concerns.


These are just some top level ideas to get you started.

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