High school students aren’t always taken seriously. Adults tend to view them as older children, and because of this, we sometimes forget that we can learn a lot from this age group! Sure, they may act immature at times, but don’t we all? This is part of being human, not necessarily adolescent.

As you study college students, don’t forget to add high schoolers into the mix. This demographic will help you better understand your audience and what’s to come in the next few years. The more you learn about high schoolers, the more you’ll find that they are like mini adults instead of older children!

Here are a few things that you can start learning from current high school students – the future of your institution.

Socialization is digital.

Teens love to talk with their friends. Whether it’s complaining about homework, coordinating extracurricular activities or indulging in gossip, teenagers have a need to share every detail of their lives. The difference is that most of this socialization takes place digitally. Between smartphones, tablets, apps and wearable tech, people don’t have to physically meet to have a conversation.

What does this mean for you? Communication should be easy and effortless. Your contacts should have multiple ways to reach you, such as social media, email, text and private messaging. Also, give students various opportunities to connect. When it makes sense for them, they’ll be happy to engage.

Smartphones are “everything.”

Ask any high schooler to name three things they would take with them if they were stranded on an island, and most will answer their smartphone as one of them! Today’s devices are more than mobile phones. They are “everything” to young people. High schoolers use their phones to help with homework, manage schedules, get rides to practice, order pizza and more.

Knowing that a smartphone holds so much significance is a great reminder that your school must offer various ways to connect. In fact, you may want to consider building an app specifically for your school where students can check their grades, message professors, check athletic scores and play games.

Cable is not the way to watch TV.

Today’s young people tend to watch shows through streaming services such as Netflix and YouTube. Some will also record shows or watch them On Demand. Part of the reason why streaming is so attractive is because teens can binge watch their favorite shows without being interrupted by commercials.

Gen Zs and millennials don’t like being bothered by pushy ads, so rethink your ad strategy. Intrusive ads are annoying, so find other ways to incorporate your message. High quality content makes a difference because students crave helpful, relevant content that answers their questions. An informative infographic that is shared on social media is more effective than a pushy sales ad.

Facebook is no longer cool.

Facebook is no longer a first choice for teens, as more are leaving for Snapchat and Instagram. But, this doesn’t mean that you should nix it entirely from your social media strategy. The social network has grown to 2 billion monthly users and many teens still jump on it, even if they don’t admit it. Hey, it’s tempting to see what others are up to!

Still, it’s smart to listen to teens and where they like to be. High schoolers admit that while they may not be as interested in scrolling through news feeds, they do enjoy group pages, creating invites and watching live streaming on Facebook. So, don’t leave Facebook out of the mix (after all, parents are there!), but do remember to connect with students on other channels such as Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat.

The next time you need insight into what to expect from prospective students, turn to the best predictors: high school students!