Technology You Should Master Before Starting College

college technology, collegeIn many ways technology has made our lives more convenient than ever before. However, for some the idea of learning how to use new technology can be daunting. In our digital world, college students have a variety of resources available to support them in their college experience.

Before you begin your college degree program, consider learning or brushing up on the following technology, as you will likely run across them throughout your time in college.

Microsoft Office Suite

Microsoft Office programs such as Word, PowerPoint, Excel and Outlook are common in both academics and in many career fields. Getting to know your way around these programs will not only make your college experience easier, but will also prepare you with a valuable skills for many different career paths.

You will likely be expected to complete assignments and projects using Microsoft Office Programs such as:

  • Microsoft Word: Word processing
  • Microsoft PowerPoint: Presentations
  • Microsoft Excel: Spreadsheets
  • Microsoft Outlook: Email

Microsoft offers a number of different versions of the Microsoft Office Suite, some which include additional programs for database management, publishing and more. Some colleges offer students a discounted rate for some versions of the Microsoft Office Suite for Windows or Mac computers. Microsoft Office is also available on a variety of mobile and tablet devices.

Online Research Tools

As you probably know, research skills will play an important role in your college experience. Many colleges have subscriptions to various databases that can be specific to certain areas of study (legal studies, health sciences, technology, etc.) Check out your college’s library for a list of the databases they have available. Library staff should be able to teach you how to use the tools.

In addition, check out Google Scholar, a resource offered by the popular search engine that can help you identify reliable sources for research. As with all research, be sure to cite all of your research sources. EasyBib is a free tool that can help you create a bibliography.

File Storage Optionscollege technology, college

There will be plenty of documents, presentations, notes, etc. that you are going to be required to create and save for each of your college classes. While you can simply save your files to the hard drive of your computer, you may want to find a more portable option for storage prior to starting college.

Cloud storage is one option when it comes to storing your files. Cloud storage services allow users to access files from just about any device with an internet connection. Here are just a few services that offer free cloud storage:

Free cloud storage services are limited. Most cloud storage services also offer premium accounts with additional storage space.

In addition to cloud storage, a USB flash drives and external hard drives are portable devices that can store your files.


Tablets have increased in popularity over the past few years and are becoming more prominent in classrooms across the US. According to CNET, tablet sales will pass that of desktop and laptop computers by 2015. While some students receive tablets as part of the college fees they pay while attending a college, many others elect to purchase a tablet for the convenience it offers.

Although each tablet is somewhat different, many of the apps that are available and most useful to college students share similar functionality. If you have a tablet, consider looking into apps that can be helpful for organization, note taking and studying. Apple App Store and Google Play are two of the larger app stores for iOS and Android tablets respectively.

Ask for Recommendations

Prior to starting your college experience, feel free to reach out to your college’s admissions staff to determine if they have recommendations for additional technology to become familiar with. They may be able to guide you in the right direction on technology that is specific to that particular college.