Sunday, December 9, 2012

How Has the Internet Changed College?

In looking at how the internet has changed and shaped the world in the last twenty years, there may be no more significant area of change than its impact on "the college experience."  From the college search to the application process to online classes to graduation day, colleges reflect dramatic shifts in how higher education is accessed and degrees are earned in the twenty-first century.

Before the Classroom

The rise of the internet has made sweeping changes to higher education, but its effects begin well before students get there.  From the first college contacts they make, the internet guides their path.  For example, you may be considering earning a marketing degree to further your career, but now you no longer have to visit every campus to get a feel for what they offer.

Researching graduation rates and a school's reputation via the internet will help you narrow the field, and you can make more informed decisions on which school is right for you.  This can be done from home rather than a rushed, costly weekend trip to the campus.  Once you make a decision, college applications can be submitted online, and many colleges accept the online common application that can be sent to multiple schools.

Online or On Campus

The internet gives students the option of fully realized online classes.  If you're looking to earn your degree while working, online classes offer the opportunity to complete course work while holding a full-time job.  And, online education offers the option of attending an excellent school far away without having to relocate.  For example, MIT offers some programs online through their Open Courseware program with great introductory classes from a nationally accredited university.  The internet has simply removed the debate and obstacles some prospective students face of leaving a job they need in order to earn the degree necessary to advance their career.

A Full Tool Box

Once you're in the classroom, be it a virtual or actual one, the internet will play an important role in your education and college experience.  E-books, podcast lectures, and downloadable materials have streamlined the classroom process in a way that allows more time for learning.  In fact, libraries have seen a decline in usage as a result of the vast resources provided via the internet.  No longer needing to search through a "card catalog," student can simply log on to a school's databases and print articles or bookmark them on Delicious for later.  Additionally, countless apps dedicated to student organization, note taking, and study help are available.  With a laptop, or tablet, and wireless internet, you can download a professor's lecture, write notes for class, and even attach a voice recording of the professor's lessons.  In today's virtual world, there's no excuse for a lack of study materials.

As students complete their college experience, many are in search of internship opportunities.  Social networking sites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter help connect students with companies looking for interns.  Websites such as and are great resources that connect college students with their perfect internship via an easy-to-use interface and a plethora of listings.

As today's student becomes more well-versed with technology, countless other ways to improve the college experience will arise for the technologically savvy student.  Whether you are seeking a hands-on or virtual degree, the internet will continue to greatly change the world of the student even as the student seeks to change the world.

* This sponsored post was written by Bill Lester, a not-too-long-ago graduate with a degree in public health

1 comment:

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