College students today are more tech-savvy than ever, with more than 90 percent using e-mail to communicate with professors and 73 percent saying they cannot study without technology. Seven in 10 take notes on keyboards instead of paper, 38 percent can’t go more than 10 minutes without checking their smartphone or another device and in 2009 college students in the U.S. spent $13 billion on electronics.
Students may be adapting to technology just as quickly as employees in the real world, but there are some things that are bound to change. Here are some technologies commonly used in college and their real-world equivalents.
Rate My Professors = Glassdoor
It happens every semester. When it comes around to registration period, the traffic on ratemyprofessors.com is overwhelming. Sure, you may want a biology class at 3 p.m. on Tuesdays/Thursdays next semester, but when you find out it’s with Professor gives-the-hardest-tests-and-impossible-amounts-of-reading, it’s not even an option anymore. Now, we’ve translated classes to jobs. Glassdoor.com is a free jobs and career community that gives users an inside look to a company or position, such as salaries, interviews, best places to work, and reviews. The information on the site is employee generated content—anonymous salaries, company reviews, interview questions and more are posted by employees, job seekers, and sometimes the companies themselves. Glassdoor takes job seekers beyond the information provided in a typical job description by seamlessly integrating salaries and reviews posted by employees, as well as uncovering any inside connections by integrating with Facebook so users can see who they already have connections with.
Campus Special = Groupon
Just because we’re out of college doesn’t mean we stop liking discounts. Campus Special is an app for college students that offers coupons and discounts for the most popular restaurants and food locations in that college area. It’s the nation’s largest provider of coupon books for college students, distributed for free to more than 3.5 million college students at over 100 universities each year and provides an average of $2,500 in savings. While you may still be living in a college town, there are more apps dedicated to finding deals for things you’re interested in. Groupon negotiates huge discounts, usually 50-90 percent off, with popular businesses in your area of choice. It personalizes deals based on your zip code, gender, age and interests. Groupon equivalents include LivingSocial, Try It Local, Yollar and Signpost.
GPA = Salary
After a long semester of work, what you had to show for it was your GPA. Now, after long weeks of working, you’re rewarded with money. Not a bad trade. Unlike your GPA, however, this money needs some managing once you’ve got it. Mint is a personal finance app that brings all your financial accounts together online, automatically categorizes your transactions, lets you set budgets and helps you achieve your savings goals. Users can see all balances and transactions together on the Web or on a mobile device, and it pulls your financial information and categorizes them so you get the entire picture of your finances. Other apps for financial management include Yodlee, Moneytrackin’, Buxfer, Xero and Mvelopes.
Gmail/.edu = Microsoft Outlook
When you get a “real-world” job, chances are that you are going to be given a work email account on your company’s network. Microsoft Outlook is the most popular for companies using PCs. You may think you’re a pro at emailing, but there are a few things that are going to change. Calendar invites, for one, are going to become a big part of your life. In college you may arrange an appointment with a professor and just hope that both people will remember the date and time. With Outlook’s calendar, you are given reminders and alerts as each event approaches. You’ll also have to start recognizing different time zones if you’re communicating with clients, partners or contacts located elsewhere than your office. Gmail offers a “labels” features that allow users to organize their emails if they wanted to. When you’re working, organizing and categorizing emails and saving a paper trail of communication is going to be a necessity.
Gmail/Facebook chat = In-office instant messaging
I know, long gone are the days of AIM. (Although I really do miss profiles, away messages and buddy lists!) Today, if you chat online, more than likely you’re probably instant messaging through Gmail, Skype or Facebook chat. Most companies have instant messaging systems to communicate with all of your co-workers. It may seem a little odd at first – chatting with someone online when they’re one cubicle over, but it’s a norm in corporate America. One very important difference, however, is that more likely than not, all of your communication and online activity is monitored. Companies like WebWatcher record the date, start time, end time, participants and the entire contents of chats and instant message conversations that take place on employee computers with just one click. So while this is a pro for companies to stay on top of employees wasting time chatting with friends and maintaining its policies and productivity, it’s also a huge adjustment for new hires who will need to think twice about multitasking work and social life via instant messaging.
These are just a few of the things that are going to change as you adapt to your post-graduate lifestyle. With the emerging and popular BYOD trend, our generation will soon be able to do all of this and more on a single device. But, as college students continue to adapt and use more technology every day, transitioning to real-world status shouldn’t be too difficult; in fact, they’ll embrace it. Good luck!
TechZone360 Web Editor
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