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College Affordability and Preparedness

Higher Ed Gets Upgraded by Blending Technology and Education

Taking advantage of technology is by no means a foreign concept to today’s students. From cell phones to laptops, millenials are living in a digital age and embracing it. For colleges and universities, it’s crucial to do the same, in order to stay competitive and help students flourish.

Learning in the 21st century

The National Association for College Admission Counseling (NACAC), an organization committed to serving students pursuing postsecondary education, points to research suggesting that 60 percent of college students use their phones to study. “Edtech” conferences are also in demand.

Sarah Linehan, director of admissions at the community college State University of New York Adirondack, notes that her students develop a comfort level with technology almost immediately.

“With so many competing priorities, such as intercollegiate athletics, jobs, and extracurricular commitments, students inquire about the option right away. Online learning is an alternative that is more conducive to their busy lifestyle.”

A lot to consider

NACAC reports that dual-enrollment classes are becoming even more popular, and are more often provided online. The International Baccalaureate program offers online courses, along with Advanced Placement programs, at some schools. MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) are available K–12, and some high school students expect they will offer college credit.

As stated in “Inside Higher Education,” stackable credentials (a series of traditional degree-based and/or nontraditional credentials) are becoming more of an option. And both in high school and higher education, greater emphasis should be placed on new ways students can use the Internet to explore careers. Counselors and college admission offices need to have the tools and experience required to locate effective resources.

Keeping up with the times

With assistive technology ever-changing, college admission professionals should be familiar with new devices and services. For example, high-tech transcription services that provide closed-captioning in real time in college classrooms are crucial if universities want to avoid violating federal laws covering persons with disabilities. The new technology is also faster, less expensive, and more accurate.

In the age of Alexa, new students will expect increased use of digital assistants, in which detailed information can be provided by speaking a few words. Finally, they may also demand interactive and up-to-date websites and automated “chatbots” that handle basic questions quickly, without human involvement.

Cindy Riley, [email protected]

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