College is one of the most exciting, but scary times in a young person’s life. With the end of the school year quickly approaching, it is a topic on most graduating seniors’ minds. Until now, Millennials have been considered the most educated generation. The percentage of Millennials with a Bachelor’s degree is almost double that of their grandparents’ generation, The Silent Generation. However, Generation Z is posed to surpass them.
The vast majority, 89%, of Gen Zers believe a college education is valuable, and necessary for succeeding in the professional world. This does not mean they are ignorant to the price of continuing education. Many teens fear student loans and debt. As a whole, they are shooting for scholarships more than any previous generation. Almost 50% say they are willing to sacrifice some digital privacy, in the form of electronically monitoring their study habits, in order to improve their grades. Similarly, they are working more than Millennials did, to help pay for college. Gen Z is the first generation to truly grow up with the Internet as it exists today. Growing up on smartphones and tablets has enabled Gen Z to become more tech-savvy than many adults. This had made them the most entrepreneurial generation yet. SkoolLive, a Southern California tech and media company, provides access to hundreds of part-time jobs through a local job board featured on their kiosks in high schools nationwide. Many teens also run their own businesses selling homemade items online. According to studies, nearly a quarter of college bound teens plan on paying for college themselves, or at least helping their parents out. Forty percent also plan on working during college to help pay. Not only are they planning on avoiding debt, they are planning for a successful future. Many Gen Zers report wanting a technology related career, and are choosing majors that reflect this.
In the past, most young adults have gone into college without any plan for how it would be paid for, or what after college would look like. Gen Z is breaking the pattern, and learning for their predecessors’ mistakes.