Online College Students in 2023: What Matters Most

By: Carol Aslanian Mar 15, 2023

Online College Students in 2023: What Matters Most

Adapting to New Study Habits and Lifestyles

When EducationDynamics started analyzing online college students 12 years ago, not much was known about the niche population of online learners. It was once considered an alternative for adult students who couldn’t make it into a physical classroom because they were balancing other life commitments. But that’s no longer the case these days!

Most online college students in 2023 are young and gainfully employed but are still new to the job market as they look for career paths to pursue or build upon. Rather than adhering to the same topics they had studied in the past, these students are focusing their efforts on unfamiliar yet promising career fields.

Thanks to the surge in demand for remote learning brought on by COVID-19, online study has gained a lot more acceptance among students and employers. It’s no longer just for older learners who can’t make it to campus or other place-bound populations but a format that is used by all types of students. Now is the perfect time for schools to capitalize on this trend and reach out to undergraduates and graduates alike.

Understanding the Needs of Online College Students in 2023

The 12th Annual Online College Students Report is here, providing the best snapshot of online higher education ever. This 2023 report uncovers critical information about what students are looking for so that schools can effectively market their institution and stand out in the online college marketplace. What kind of courses should they be offering? Is the information on their websites helpful enough? Ultimately, what matters most to these students – these questions must be answered as trends keep changing rapidly.

Exploring the Impact of Streaming Services on Higher Education

Streaming services are shaking up the higher education media industry at rapid speed. It’s clear that these services will continue to have a major influence on marketing your institution. US households spent around 122 hours per household streaming on CTV, and 85.7 million homes streamed content in that time frame. There was a 29% increase in ad-supported streaming services since 2020 and a 6% decrease in cable or satellite subscriptions. This shift means that schools must figure out how to reach these students if they want to enroll them in online college programs. How do you get the word out? What kind of information should be included? These are important questions that this report seeks to answer.

Key Takeaways From the 2023 Online College Report

This research found some vital information that all schools should take note of. Here are some of the highlights:

  • Both undergraduate and graduate online students continue to get younger. One-third of undergraduate respondents are under the age of 23
  • Fewer online students are the first in their families to go to college. Only 35% reported they are the first in their family to attend college in 2023
  • Students turn to school websites as a primary source of information, but they have a difficult time finding the information they most seek
  • 70% of students began their school research using search engines or via the school’s website. Almost 90% of students conducted research on the school’s website. No sought-after piece of information was considered “very easy to find” by a majority of users
  • Students turn to social media platforms to conduct research prior to enrolling. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter were the most commonly used platforms for research. Many students actively like or follow school accounts that they are considering. LinkedIn and Facebook were considered the most helpful platforms
  • Search engine and social media reviews are very important to students
Download The Online College Students Report 2023 for a comprehensive overview of college student enrollments

Look Forward Beyond Today’s Online Student

With the world of online education in flux, it’s never been more important to recognize the changes that are happening and how they might affect your institution. EDDY has learned what it takes to provide effective marketing services after 12 years of experience researching national online college students.

To meet the rising demand for online college programs, future-ready schools are marketing strategies to a wide demographic and emphasizing the acceptance of previously earned college credits. Additionally, these schools are investing in student-centered user experiences on their websites to ensure that prospective students have access to the information they need. By focusing on these aspects, these forward-thinking institutions are setting themselves apart while giving potential students exactly what they need.

Download our free report now to discover more conclusions, trends, and advice for serving these students well in 2023 and beyond!