According to a new study commissioned by Steelcase Education Solutions, classroom design has a larger influence over prospective students' enrollment decisions than university-provided amenities such as dining and fitness facilities.
While campus admissions materials emphasize new athletic facilities and elaborate dining halls, the study shows that these are not the most important campus assets to prospects.
In response to the survey, 51% of students say classrooms are the most important campus environment and that’s what influenced their decision to attend their current school. Less than a quarter of those surveyed said dining facilities or athletic facilities.
"While these findings may surprise some, students spend most of their time at school in the classroom, so providing flexible and inspiring learning environments is an investment worth making," said Mark Walters, Director of Product Management at Steelcase Education Solutions. "Educators need to rethink the way we view the classroom. Most classrooms in use today were built for traditional pedagogies in a passive learning setting. These environments can actually hamper interaction and engagement, and even act as a barrier. Today's students are looking for different spaces that have the flexibility to allow for individual work, as well as lectures and group work. Ultimately, they are looking for spaces that support active learning."
The survey was commissioned by Steelcase Education Solutions and conducted by Widmeyer Communications in February 2014. It was a national online survey of 600 U.S. college students at both 4-year and 2-year institutions.