Bowling Green State University
Who are the students of 2020?
The students of 2020 are a challenging group to describe. The “traditional” students, those aged 18-22, can be understood by forecasting their progression from their role today as newly minted first-graders. However, the emerging needs of adult learners will be a strong influence in higher education as workers look to strengthen their job skills, baby boomers seek out new careers and lifelong learners broaden their knowledge base.
How will technology, economics and socio-political trends shape the class entering college in 2020? Here are some emerging trends that may provide a glimpse:
- The National Center for Educational Statistics predicts that only 41 percent of undergraduates nationally will be male by 2010. The feminization of undergraduates has implications for curricula, residence life, athletics and campus security.
- The percentage of persons of color in the U.S. continues to increase. The Hispanic population will increase most rapidly, while European-Americans will be a minority in the under-18 population by 2030. The students of 2020 will have grown up in homogeneous communities.
- Movement to a more global, information-based economy makes a traditional career path less likely. This will influence what students select as majors.
- Current national surveys indicate an increase in academic disengagement among college students (bored in class, missing class, decreased studying). These same students have increasingly consumer-oriented expectations for convenience, quality, service and cost. Will universities be able to successfully manage these trends by 2020?
- How will online courses and “swirling” (students attending multiple institutions to minimize costs and maximize convenience) affect enrollment and staffing?
The "traditional" students entering BGSU in fall 2020, members of the Class of 2024, were born after 2002. For them, Dale Earnhardt, Princess Di, Dr. Christiaan Barnard, Richard Nixon and George Harrison have always been dead.
- Have always had access to electronic technology in its latest forms (cell phones, MP3s, TIVO, computers).
- Some of their grandparents may have served in Viet Nam.
- Courses have always been electronic.
- Gas prices have always been over $3/gallon, but then, who drives a gas-powered car?
- The events of Columbine and 9/11 are just history lessons.
- Have always had to navigate airport security.
- Pluto was never a planet.
- Do not plan on having a pension.
- Lindsay Lohan plays a mom in a TV series.
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