How Has Technology Changed College Life in 30 Years? #BacktoSchool #IfItCanGame

How has technology changed college life in the last 30 years? #AMD #BacktoSchool #IfItCanGame

This is an AMD sponsored post.

Do you remember what computer you brought to college 30 years ago? Pretty simple answer for most of us. NONE! I’ll bet you didn’t go shopping to try to figure out which laptop would be the best option for you in your price range? It just wasn’t an option. That is very different today. But let’s take a small journey before we get to the “buying a computer” information.

How has technology changed college life in the last 30 years? #AMD #BacktoSchool #IfItCanGame

College 1985 vs 2014; The Same?

Nathan, my oldest, started college this week. Things are quite different, but in some ways the same.  (I know it’s really 29 years ago, but to keep things easy, I’m saying 30.) Here he is on his first day of college.

first day of college 2014

  • He was as nervous as I was 30 years ago.
  • He was as excited as I was 30 years ago.
  • He walked around campus not sure where he fit in yet, as I did 30 years ago.
  • He spends a lot of time in the Student Union hanging out with friends, as I did 30 years ago.
  • He wonders if he will really be prepared for his chosen career path in 4 years, as I wondered 30 years ago.

This isn’t the first day of school, but it was my freshman year of college.

michele freshman year 1985 college

College 1985 vs 2014; Different!

The feelings and activities are the same, so what makes college today so different from college then? Technology! Let’s start with the most obvious.


This is where I went when I had to write a paper or use as computer for homework…..the computer lab. A room with a bunch of desktop computers lined up. You usually had to sign up for a time slot to guarantee a computer. You couldn’t connect to the Internet. You typed up your paper, printed it and left.

computer lab in college in 1985

Photo from GraphicStock


And this is where Nathan goes to work on papers and do homework. He is on his very own laptop sitting in the Student Union on campus. He is connected to the entire world from this one spot.

college computer #ifitcangame 2014 #BendtheRules HP laptop

How Has Technology Changed College Life?

Let’s move on to the other ways that technology has changed college life in the last 30 years.

Signing up for classesGot a huge book with every class offered on campus. Sat with the book, list of classes I needed to take and mapped out a schedule with pen and paper making sure nothing overlapped.Sit at the computer with your list of classes needed for your major. Type in each class and you immediately know if it’s filled or if it overlaps with another class.
Buying BooksGo to the Campus Bookstore with your list of classes you are registered for and walk down the endless aisles of books trying to find that one book you needed. You hoped there were used books left.Go to the online campus bookstore, type in all your classes and come up with a list of the books you need. You decide if you want new, used or ebook. Order online, pick up or have delivered to your home.
Doing HomeworkI spent endless hours highlighting books and writing notes and taking handwritten notes in class. I still have the scars on my finger to prove it.He can type up his notes or use an app to transfer them to his computer. You can easily record a lecture so you can go back and listen at a later date.
Campus CommunicationsYou had to pay for a phone if you lived in the dorms. If you were on campus, you had to use a payphone.There were bulletin boards all over the campus to keep you updated on activities. There was also the campus newspaper.
Each student has an email address and access to an online community with an app for your phone. You can find any teacher or student’s email.
They have an email and texting system to notify all students of security issues or school closings.

How Important is Technology to College Students?

AMD conducted a national Back-to-School Technology Usage Survey of college-bound students. I was not surprised by the findings of how important the tech devices are to college students.

41% of students say their computer is more important than their car. #ifitcangame #amd

  • 67 percent say one of their biggest fears is having their technology stop working. This would scare me too.
  • 25 percent would choose a computer over a family member or beer if they were stranded on a deserted island. Hmmmm. I’m not sure about that, unless I could order the beer and fly the family member to me.
  • 27 percent of students identified a new computer as their first purchase if they won $1000. Of course!

So, if the computer is that important to a student, you have to be sure you are buying one that your student will want to use.

What You and What Your College Student Want In A Computer

More than 50% of the students said they plan to purchase a new computer as they head off to college and one-third said it is on the top of their tech device list.  Check out my post with 4 tech buying tips to ensure a successful school year before you begin shopping.

4 Tech Buying Tips to Help Ensure a Successful Year for Your Student

I sat down with Nathan to find out what features he wanted and why. We both had similar list of features, but often very different reason for why we wanted the feature.

Mom#IfItCanGameNathan It Can #BendTheRules
Fast processor so he can keep up with the professor when taking notes and it will be able to handle all the photos they will be taking to put into all the papers he’ll be writing.Fast enough processor so it can handle any game I want to play after class. I may want to watch a movie when my brain is fried after several hours of class and homework.
Light enough because I don’t want him to hurt his back while carrying the laptop around on campus.Light enough so that I won’t be tempted to leave it in my car instead of carrying it with me.
Plenty of hard drive space for all those books, notes and papers he will be putting on the laptop.Plenty of hard drive space for all the movies, music and class stuff I’ll be putting on the laptop.
Large enough screen to work on documents side by side.Large enough screen to watch my movies and tv shows.
Great sound so he can listen to classical music while he is studying. I heard that help student retain information.Excellent sound so my movies and music sound like I’m at a concert or in the movie theatre.
Webcam so he can contact me via video any time and I can see his happy face.Webcam so I can connect with friends who are at different colleges.

And according to the AMD Back-to-School study, here is what most college students plan to do with their laptops.

  • 81% will use it to study
  • 70% will use it to communicate
  • 63% will use them to take notes in class
  • 60% will listen to music
  • 41% will play games

Almost 80% of college students want to more with fewer tech devices. #ifitcangame #backtoschool #amd

AMD Technology In Your Laptop

AMD also has software that will help you control your laptop.

Here is a great infographic that will help you choose the type of processor you need.

Buying a New Computer: How to Choose the Right Processor


AMD Technology Back to School Guide

AMD has created an AWESOME Back to School Gear Guide with many of the computers with AMD technology for students.

AMD Back to School Gear Guide #ifitcangame

AMD sent Nathan the HP Pavilion x360 Convertible Laptop (affiliate link) on the left and so far he is in love with it. He likes that he has options since he’ll be using the laptop for so many things. Here are the different ways, you can use the laptop.

  • HP Pavilion x360 13-a010nr 13.3-Inch Convertible Laptop with AMD technology
  • HP Pavilion x360 13-a010nr 13.3-Inch Convertible Laptop with AMD technology
  • HP Pavilion x360 13-a010nr 13.3-Inch Convertible Laptop with AMD technology
  • HP Pavilion x360 13-a010nr 13.3-Inch Convertible Laptop with AMD technology

You can find other laptops with AMD technology and AMD-powered laptops under $400. Now you are set to go buy a laptop for your college student.

Have you noticed ways technology has changed college life? How? Share your answers with @ScrappinMichele & @AMD on Twitter.

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Disclosure: We received a laptop from AMD for this campaign. Since my son is starting college, I gave it to him. All opinions are my own. No other compensation was received.



Leave a comment
  • We all agree that technological advancements made our life easier, and a student now has way more benefits than those 30 years ago, but it seems than many fail to use this opportunity, and instead they waste it.

  • Great post! Showed my teens. It looks to me that (with long hair) your son could have been you in that old college photo. 🙂

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