4 Trends for U.S. College Students in 2014

Winter Wonderland

Winter Wonderland

I hope you’re all as excited for 2014 as I am. I have a strong feeling that this will turn out to be an amazing year. And now that I’m in my last semester of college,  I’m excited to leave my college days behind.

At the same time, I’ve noticed a lot of interesting trends that may have a bigger impact in 2014 especially among the collegiate world. I won’t claim to be an expert in any of these, but here’s my opinion on some new developments for this year.

Finance/Business

Unsurprisingly, I think the days of the unemployed and confused millennial generation are far from over. And I think that above everything, this is going to cause an long-term sense of frugality and savings. Sine the U.S. is an economy that runs significantly on consumption its likely that this will cause long-term problems and heighten the level of concern that most are feeling. But this isn’t anything new – we’ve all been concerned about unemployment rates, spending, and the economy for a while.

What I think will be more surprising is that many college students will take the little money they have a learn how to invest. I think for now most students will invest in stocks with low interest rates, but many of my friends and acquaintances are slowly breaking into the investment world. I’m thrilled about this mainly because I think students are creating their own finances now instead of focusing on what’s been handed to them up until this point. Mashable has already gotten on this trend, and put out a finance guide for millennials.

Social Media

Jobs, jobs, jobs. As many of the people who started out with Facebook/Twitter/etc. move into adulthood, they’re using all of the skills they’ve gained over the years to serve them as well as possible. And what better job can you have then becoming a social media manager? BusinessWeek reports that social media will be one of the largest expanding fields next year, with a ton of positions opening in this field. Some notable titles are, PPC associate, SEO Specialist, Social Media Copywriter/Blogger, etc.

If you’re worried that these positions won’t be taken seriously or paid well, show them exactly how you can benefit the overall brand. I like to think of social media as the full-on marketing plans of the future. If a company wants to stay afloat, they have to bring clear, interesting content within a timely and easy to reach manner. And you can be a forefront of that team. Mind you, its a fast-paced business, so get ready to bring in some interesting hours.

Tech/Computers

As a result of the earlier mentioned frugality and cutting costs among college students, 2014 may be the year where the Apple corporation sees its largest dropoff. While the iPad still dominates everyone else in the tablet market, 2013 had a notable decrease in Apple computers – with an increase in Chromebooks over both Windows and Apple. I predict this will continue into 2014, and not just because students are suddenly tired of Apple.

I think it’ll be because of the education field. Chromebooks in particular are cheap, and many academic institutions are buying them up. My high school recently purchased Chromebooks for our entire campus (mind you, we’re very, very small) but many other institutions are doing the same. And I have a feeling that many college and high school students may stick with these computers for price and logistic reasons. Alternatively, Apple may eventually cut down its price to be more reasonable for lower-income students, but I suspect that will happen 5+ years from now.

Education

Why do something in person if you can digitize it?

This question has been asked of almost every industry, and now it has looped back around to academia. For a number of reasons, I hope that this doesn’t spread to elementary/secondary education, but I think this is a solid question to ask of higher education. As a college student, I respect and understand the value of higher education, but the model is ultimately flawed.  Many people will tell you that college isn’t the purpose of getting a job – but then what is the purpose? Why should anyone spend thousands of dollars for an experience? I think colleges will now have to reinvent their purposes and show exactly what kind of purpose they can bring.

And this will lead to MOOCs for many. Online education has been significant across all ages, but colleges don’t need to reinvent the wheel for these programs. While there has been resistance due to beliefs of the college experience and what that should entail, it’s important for many colleges to acknowledge that having a sense of inclusion can be a significant benefit and help them to get more students on average. I don’t think the traditional college will ever go away, but higher education needs to expand its viewpoint of teaching or else face lower enrollment and tuition crunches.

What trends are you looking forward to in 2014 and beyond?

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2 comments

  1. Hi, Ivy! I’m a brand new blogger (even though I’ve been an academic for over 20 years). As a college professor, I get what you’re saying. I just read Jeff Selingo’s College (UN)Bound (you can read my review on my blog if you’re interested). He writes about a number of things you touch on in this blog. I’m teaching a graduate seminar on how to teach this semester and I’d welcome any comments/ideas you might want to offer to my doctoral students.

  2. Hello Ms. Pardun, thank you for your thoughtful response! I will certainly check out your blog, and offer my thoughts on the subject. I’m personally interested in observing the trends in higher education, and I think the meaning of ‘academia’ is truly being revolutionized as we speak. I appreciate you taking the time to read and follow my blog, and I hope you find it enjoyable.

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