Highlights from Higher Ed: Stress-Induced “Examiety,” Appetites for Amenities, Enrollment Decline Theories, and Doubts about Value 

Oct 6, 2022

Vast majority of Gen Z students suffer from exam-related anxiety 

Exam-related stress and anxiety among Gen Z students are now so common that they have inspired a neologism: examiety. According to a report summarizing the survey responses of 1,000 recently polled students, 86% said they had suffered from “exam anxiety” at least once in the past; 76% said they have experienced it within the last six months. While fewer than one in three said it negatively affects their exam scores (29%) or self-confidence (28%), more than twice as many (68%) said it causes problems in their social lives. Unfortunately, those concerns don’t always go away when students put down their pens and pencils. “Nearly half of respondents (42%) consistently worry that test anxiety will negatively impact their academic future.” The problem may be exacerbated by the fact that many Gen Z students began college when virtual learning was the norm and must now re-adjust to the experience of taking in-person exams. 

Source: eCampus News 

High School Students Want to Go to Colleges with Expensive Bells and Whistles 

Today’s high school students appear ready to forego concerns about accumulating debt in order to attend colleges with costly amenities that have little to do with academics. When nearly 800 college-bound seniors were asked, “whether, all academic factors being equal, they would prefer an institution that was less expensive with fewer amenities and services” just 39% said yes; 44% said no. However, financial worries are still common. Overall, 55% fret about their ability to pay for college; 22% harbor “major concerns.” Black, Hispanic, and first-generation respondents were most likely to express major concerns. When the high schoolers were asked to list their “top choice” schools, 58% of the schools named had a high level of amenities, whereas just 4% offered a low level. For the purposes of the survey, amenities were described as “non-essential features and services, such as quality dining halls, residence halls, and student life facilities; athletic facilities; a range of extracurricular offerings; and various types of counseling and advising.” 

Source: Forbes 

Report Sheds Light on Reasons People Don’t Go to College 

Inspired to uncover the causes of declining college enrollment, researchers spent the first four months of the year interviewing high school graduates between the ages of 18 and 30 who had either dropped out of college or never attended. While 46% plan on going/returning, 47% said they are taking or have taken YouTube classes, 25% have taken courses to receive a professional license, and 22% have received a verified certificate. “More agree that a good job requires a certification as proof of someone’s skills (68%) than those who agree that a good job requires a college degree (57%).” Survey respondents with no plans to return to college fell into one of four groups: they either question the return on investment (35%), are happy with their lives’ status quo (29%), say “it’s not for me” (19%), or are concerned about affordability (18%). 

Source: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation 

Graduates of Traditional and Non-traditional Programs Share Doubts About Their Value 

More than half (53%) of U.S. survey respondents who earned a traditional college degree say they have opted not to apply for entry-level positions because they feel underqualified, compared with 49% of those who attended a non-traditional program. Traditional programs include those that award associate, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees, whereas non-traditional educational pathways include vocational and certification programs. “In 2022, among traditional degree graduates, only 41% believe a college degree signals that they have or will have the skills needed by their employers… 49% of non-degree graduates think a skills training credential adequately signals the skills they have.” More than half (55%) of traditional program graduates have “second thoughts” about the program they chose, as did 46% of non-degree graduates. 

Source: Cengage Group 


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