Freshers 2022: the early trends to look out for 

some cheersing students

This summer, a whole new cohort of students will get their A-level results – and once again, the Freshers cycle will kick off for another year. Here are three key trends to watch out for on campuses and TikTok feeds across the country. 

Student Unions on TikTok 

Once upon a time, students would get to know their future university within glossy prospectus pages, or by hitting the motorway for an open day. Neither has gone away completely – but Gen Z students have a whole new source of intel to consult. 

Universities like the University of Nottingham and the University of Manchester have been leveraging TikToks to give future students a feel of their campuses before they even arrive. Set against the backdrops of key TikTok trends (including the famous “Picasso I like it” audio for some of Nottingham’s more architecturally stunning buildings), these verified accounts create a sense of community for students before they even arrive. 

And for the more ironically-humoured students, there are unofficial student-led accounts and hashtags that offer a lighthearted glimpse into uni life. Fake Humans of UCL, anyone? 

On-campus commerce

In our recent Future of Ecommerce report, we revealed that over half of students have sold something online. This could be anything from a second-hand sofa on Gumtree to an upcycled clothing line on Depop – but the point is, they’ll be bringing this entrepreneurial spirit to university with them. 

Student commerce is perhaps best exemplified by Hazaar – a student-founded selling platform that empowers young people to swap and sell secondhand items on campus. It’s an initiative that taps into Gen Z’s digital prowess – as well as their desire for sustainability. 

For brands, there are multiple ways to get involved with on-campus commerce. 53% of students attend their Freshers fair, which often collates university clubs and societies with sponsored stands and brand involvement. One of the best things you can do as a student-facing brand is to boost your on-campus presence via brand ambassadors or sponsored stalls. 

Gen Z club culture

Gen Zs have never really been known for partaking in nightlife. But then the pandemic happened – and as is often the case, being completely disallowed from the club scene for two years was enough to pique the interest of a generation. 

According to our user surveys, the class of 2022 is the first in two years who are more interested in meeting new people than doing well in their degrees. This could mean a nightlife revival across the country. One-third of students plan to attend student networking events and mixers, and the same number intend to attend parties organised by other students. 

From the feral club rat trend on TikTok to the revival of certain nightlife-adjacent aesthetics like indie sleaze, we could see nightlife defined for a whole generation this Freshers. 

Interested in Freshers 2022? Put together an omnichannel strategy to welcome the next generation of students. Here’s how. 

Gen Z and the Future of Ecommerce

Access the interactive report