Getting into a good college is no longer just about the traditional good grades, ACT/SAT scores, and extracurricular activities. To make it into a university, and to stay there as a productive and successful student, you also need to develop tech skills. This is the 21st century; the letter-writing skills you learned in third grade are great when it comes to sending your grandma a thank you note, but you need 21st century talents to accompany your new secondary education.
But let’s be more specific. What are some essential tech skills that you should develop before going to college?
If you don’t type at more than 50 words per minute, it might be time to work on your typing speed. Although it may seem like a random skill, excellent typists find it easier to complete college essays, and, post-college they may find it easier to get a job after graduation. Typing skills are also necessary for your Vermont law or English classes, as courses which require extensive essays or research papers can be so much easier if you’re a proficient typist.
- Knowledge of Basic Software
Some of the most common software programs college students use are Microsoft Office, Adobe PhotoShop, and Adobe InDesign. It’s important to have knowledge of these programs during college, as they will be infinitely useful to you not only in college, but after graduation as well.
Microsoft Office is a staple in nearly every company in the United States; if you don’t know how to effectively use Word, Excel, or PowerPoint, you may struggle with your new job. In addition, businesses are increasingly requiring their employees to be proficient in Adobe software, and for good reason. If you’re pursuing any kind of degree in marketing, design, English, or business – these software programs are necessary for your future success in your field.
- Email Etiquette
By the time you’re in college, I hope you understand how to be polite when you’re commenting or chatting online – don’t be a troll, don’t call people names, and generally don’t be a jerk. But do you know how to converse with professionals and professors online or via email? Email etiquette is the new thank-you-note-to-your-grandma – you need to learn this in order to effectively communicate with potential teachers and employers.
- Online Research
Do you know how to find scholarly articles and journals online? Have you ever used Google Scholar? Do you know the difference between a .org, a .com, .gov, and a .net? These are important questions to ask yourself before every research paper or thesis. You need to be well versed in these aspects of the internet before you even begin to write that annotated bibliography!
- Online privacy
There is more news coverage about students getting caught doing stupid things via Facebook than there is about Donald Trump (okay, maybe not – but close). When your professors and potential employers tell you that they check your social media for misbehavior, that’s not a scare tactic – that’s the world we live in. Don’t make the mistake of plastering your Facebook with last Friday’s semi-illegal antics. It won’t help you in the long run.