Why Technology Can Make Higher Education A Reality For Every Student

by Jones David

In recent years, multiple universities have expressed their concern over alarmingly high college dropout rates. A statistic released by ThinkImpact in 2021 revealed that only 41% of university students graduate in 4 years or less. The rest either prolong their college stints or leave their programs altogether. According to several studies, it is not just a singular factor that has caused this but multiple roadblocks that have deemed college as inaccessible, such as economic conditions and high expenses. However, college surveys by the World Economic Forum have revealed that more than a third of college dropouts have expressed an interest in returning and finishing their degree. Fortunately, the pathway to higher education can be within reach in the digital age.

Over the last three years, given the need for digitalization and remote opportunities, academic institutions were forced to adapt and employ digital methods of learning. In our previous article entitled “How Technology Can Help Improve Education”, several ways were outlined in which technology-based educational solutions enhanced students’ learning experience. This includes providing platforms for online engagement and access to valuable lesson modules. When applied at a college level, educational technology can prove to be an extremely useful resource for those who are in pursuit of higher education.
Barriers to Higher Learning that Technology Tar

SAT Scores

While it is not always a prerequisite to get into a college, SATs scores of 1,200 and over are considered a big advantage. For some schools, SATs can impact a student’s chances of getting into elite programs or scholarships. That said, excelling in the SATs is difficult, especially for those with limited review resources. Review classes and prep books used to be the norm for SAT preparation, but those usually fall on the pricier side. Luckily, Studocu’s list of best SAT prep apps shows that there are several review resources that can be accessed through a mobile device at little to no cost. These apps are highly interactive and keep students engaged through educational games, audiovisual media, and customizable content that can be adjusted to accommodate the user’s progress. Apps such as the SAT Exam Prep and Practice by Magoosh offer a comprehensive video lesson library that covers topics that may show up on the exam, while the PerfectPrep- ACT & SAT Prep App by Accellab, LLC aims to help reviewers by providing editable flashcard sets that can be adjusted depending on the need. These are only a few examples but there are many more resources available online that can support SAT goals.

Student Well-being

Mental and physical health issues were also among the reasons that contributed to the college dropout rate. Several factors such as depression and discrimination contribute to the deterioration of a student’s well-being. When this is the case, a change in environment is usually recommended. With distance learning, students have the option to learn in a space where they are comfortable and at ease. Not only this, a study from Northwestern College highlighted that online classes help students feel more connected with their professors. As they interact with the same systems, educators and their students participate in a collaborative exercise that can promote a more engaging style of learning. By adjusting online learning to their own pace, the well-being of students can be prioritized. On top of this, students can use online platforms to find and join like-minded communities. Case in point, John Hopkins Center for Talented Youth introduced Cogito to help STEM students find support and peers.

Student Loans

Many have cited concerns over paying off student loans as a big factor in dropping out. As expenses continue to rise, a lot of undergraduate students decide to drop out and pursue jobs instead of furthering their education. In Washington Post’s breakdown of states with student loans, it was revealed that 1 in 5 people have student loans, with an average of around $28,000 owed per borrower. In order to tackle this issue, several universities have introduced college programs that are completely online. By holding all discussions digitally, students are no longer forced to pay unnecessary campus costs such as athletic and laboratory-related fees. These programs also utilize online resources such as Quizlet and Chegg to assist in their learning. These websites are commonly used for exam preparations as they offer supplemental course materials. Most of the universities that host these online programs allow students to also borrow technological equipment on a reservation basis, such as laptops and personal hotspots, in order to provide them access to the cost-cutting resources above.

Access to Educational Tools

As outlined, utilizing educational technology can make higher education more equitable as it opens up new ways and opportunities for learning. With only a device and internet access, a whole range of resources can be available for students everywhere.

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