6 Back-to-School Trends to Look Forward to This Year

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The 2022-2023 school year is kicking off! As you welcome a new class, you''re planning to keep students engaged with career services and see this year''s seniors through their final leg of early career preparation. Your head is probably spinning.

We''re excited with you! A new school year means a fresh start for students to forge a path for career success no matter where they are in their education journey. To better prepare you for what lies ahead, we''ve compiled a list of trends and experiences to look forward to when building connections and providing resources to students this year. 

Guided pathways

Traditional methods of course selection present students with an overwhelming number of complex programs and degrees. Guided pathways is a more strategic approach that streamlines the journey through higher education to career success using a program map.

The benefit of guided pathways is intuitive progress tracking. If there are roadblocks over the course of the student''s education course, guided pathways can recommend action plans to redirect or get them back on track.

Learning management systems

Similar to software students could encounter in the workplace following graduation, many colleges are turning to learning management systems. These software programs streamline academics and collect valuable data. 

Learning management systems streamline academic workflow for instructors, enabling them to assess student progress and performance and be proactive where there are areas for improvement. Additionally, the give students valuable experience with technologies that mimic the training and task management platforms more businesses use daily.

Adult courses

More courses are being added to college catalogs every year. Colleges and universities have caught on to the value of empowering working professionals to update their knowledge, develop new skills, and advance their skills. 

Younger students will experience a greater mixing of generations in the classroom than ever before. This presents unique opportunities to learn from professionals who have been in an industry they are interested in and possibly even gain a mentor or referral for internships and jobs. 

Virtual learning

Virtual classes started to pop up online two decades ago, but most advanced education still took place in the classroom or lecture halls. The global pandemic in 2020 forced your colleges and universities to send students home or confine them to dorm rooms where they could practice safe social distancing. This had a huge impact on graduates as late as this year.

Colleges have been reopened for a few semesters, and most students looking toward graduation have regained their footing in the classroom. However, virtual learning has been accepted as commonplace and will likely continue to gain popularity.A 

Partnerships with employers

Steep competition for top talent has encouraged more companies to source direct from colleges than ever before. Recruiters and employers are working with career counselors at colleges and universities to map career opportunities through internships and even entry-level positions.

As a college career counselor, you should plan to be looking for unique ways to connect your students with employers early to help them gain a competitive edge in the market. This could range from networking on social media to volunteering to internships and mentorship opportunities. 

More degrees in Community College

Community colleges originally offered Associate’s degrees as a stepping stone to allow students to earn a degree to get a trade job or choose to go to a bigger institution for higher-level degrees. But let''s be frank, education in America is expensive. And the current cost of living is astronomical compared to decades ago.

While college attendance has declined, many students are choosing to stay home longer and earn degrees virtually or through their local community college. To meet the challenge of increasing enrollment, community colleges are expanding their number of Bachelor''s degree options. Many community colleges work with local businesses to help students get jobs to work through college and beyond, helping local communities grow and thrive.

The last few years have been challenging for everyone as we''ve gained our footing in the post-pandemic world. But there are many changes you and your students can look forward to as you work together on a plan for success.

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