What Do Online Students Want? 3 Findings From a New Survey Offer Some Clues

What Do Online Students Want? 3 Findings From a New Survey Offer Some Clues

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By Goldie Blumenstyk 

What do online students want? According to a new survey, they want to conduct more of their course activities on their mobile phones or tablets, and they’d like better career-planning services. Their biggest regrets? They all relate to not having done enough research about the college and what it would cost before they enrolled.

The survey, produced by Learning House and Aslanian Market Research, is based on responses from 1,500 past, current, and prospective online students.

Here are three of the findings:

Mobile: Not only do students rely on their phones and tablets when searching for a college (three-quarters said they had used them in their searches); they also want to use those devices for at least some of their coursework. While only 12 percent said they’d want to handle all of their course-related activities on a mobile device, 70 percent more said they’d want some or most of it that way. With mobile devices becoming increasingly important tools in our everyday lives, the survey suggests that colleges may need to move faster to ensure that academic materials are optimized for such devices.

Career services: Among the services students said they had used the most were working with a career adviser, self-assessments, and résumé creation. But perhaps more notable were the services that at least 10 percent of students wanted but were not available to them. They included job shadowing, interview workshops, internship-search assistance, a career mentor, and a college-maintained job-search website.

Regrets: While 46 percent said they would not change anything about their search or enrollment experience, the rest cited several things they would have done differently. Tops on that list: contact or research more colleges, a finding that seems in line with another that showed 84 percent of students had contacted or requested information from three or fewer colleges. Fifteen percent said they wished they had learned more about their financial-aid packages, while 14 percent said the same about tuition and fees.