Most colleges have adjusted to take advantage of today's interconnected, digital world. However, some schools have thrived while others have merely adapted. Schools with a reputation for providing excellent STEM programs are typically the most technologically advanced colleges.
These schools offer tech-based tools to enhance academics and campus life. Learners interested in tech careers can often access additional academic and extracurricular opportunities at technologically advanced colleges.
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The following ranking highlights the top colleges and universities in the United States that provide technology-based tools that benefit students. Opportunities for student engagement, creation, and management of tech resources also affect this ranking. These technological resources, often influenced by a STEM-heavy course catalog, enhance the higher education experience.
Top Most Technologically Advanced Colleges
The Most Technologically Advanced Colleges
Wake Forest University
This private university in North Carolina was founded in 1834, and the campus boasts an old-world feel. However, WFU is anything but old school. With apps for almost everything students need for success, this campus is excellent for students seeking to stay connected at all times.
Each of the school's 8,116 students and their families can download the WFU Mobile Web app to search the campus map and directory, discover the latest news about the university, and learn about classes. Students can also open the app to find available parking and on-campus shuttles.
WFU sports fans can download the free Wake Forest Gameday app. This intuitive program allows users to listen to real-time audio from games, find the best seating at the stadium, and receive important game day alerts. WFU also has apps for campus safety, orientation, custom emojis, laundry, and events.
ASU partners with some of the biggest names in tech to enhance the learning environment. The university developed a program with the Amazon Alexa team that is implemented in the engineering dorm. Students in this residence hall can choose to receive free Echo Dots that connect them to voice-enabled learning. Not only can these students ask Alexa to play music and look up words, but they can ask their Echo Dots to connect them to several campus-specific services.
ASU also created smart classrooms and a stadium. The campus has sensors to detect factors like temperature, noise levels, and humidity. These sensors provide the university with valuable information, such as if someone left a faucet running. They also support fan engagement with capabilities like allowing fans to participate in stadium cheering contests.
California Institute of Technology
This world-renowned university, which is better known as "Caltech," attracts some of the brightest inventors in the world. Caltech offers some of the most advanced research and technology in the world to support students. The learners and researchers on this California campus design so many technological marvels that the school created a department to help student inventors partner with companies.
Caltech is home to NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Researchers in this lab use advanced robotics to study complicated questions about the solar system and Earth's atmosphere. The NASA professionals and Caltech researchers in the laboratory have conducted more than 100 missions and currently operate 19 spacecraft.
Caltech is an excellent fit for learners seeking the latest sustainability technology. The Resnick Sustainability Institute on campus brings chemists, engineers, and technology together to create a greener future.
West Lafayette, IN
This research-driven university partnered with Cisco to create a secure, scalable network that manages the thousands of connected devices in each building, as well as the data generated from research labs. The collaboration also created the Forecast app for students. This mobile application gives learners data about their activity on campus, compares the data to how successful students acted in the past year, and suggests ways to improve academic performances.
Degree candidates can also download The Purdue App. This application has up-to-date campus information, including available recreation equipment, laundry tracking, bus stops, and weather conditions. Purdue Mobile Menus lets students check what dining halls serve at any given time, and the Boiler Lights app is critical for any fan attending basketball games. Purdue also uses the internet of things to improve production in the College of Agriculture at the Agronomy Center for Research and Education field.
Clemson is technologically savvy in several areas, including energy efficiency, student apps, and research laboratories. The university boasts solar-covered parking lots that provide covered student and faculty parking while producing energy for the campus. The school also installed an energy storage system to use solar energy efficiently.
Learners receive access to several Clemson apps. The my.Clemson app allows students to access online course components, see the bus routes and stops, find parking, access the university directory, and keep up with campus events. Clemson Lights helps learners and fans connect at the games. The PERSIST Lab allows STEM students to use the latest technology to conduct research.
UMN made visible technological breakthroughs that anyone on campus can see. Among the most noticeable are the 275 digital signs across the campus. This digital network of signs is fully scalable and operates on a Carousel network. Students can use them to access emergency information, bus routes, and donor biographies. Departments control these signs, so each building has signs aligned with its needs.
The U Minnesota Mobile App gives learners another way to get important details about campus. Students can view schedules, create to-do lists, receive university announcements, connect to social media, find parking, and receive news about on-campus events.
Behind all of these signs, apps, and connected devices is a reinforced network. UMN recently upgraded its infrastructure with more than 10,000 Aruba access points and troubleshooting. Users may notice a reliable connection and high speeds, even when hundreds of students attend a class together.
Carnegie Mellon University
Researchers at this university project the world to have more than 50 billion connected devices by 2020. Each of these smart devices is part of the "internet of things," in which all devices are interconnected to paint a digital picture of the surrounding area and users.
Carnegie-Mellon launched an initiative to become a smart campus and real-life test facility for some of the ways the internet of things enhances daily life. Amazon Web Services, Infineon Technologies, and Nokia Bell Labs came together to assist Carnegie Mellon with this "living lab" project.
The school also established the Block Center for Technology and Society in the Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. Learners can use this facility to devise new ways to use the internet of things and test these ideas on campus.
University of Nebraska - Lincoln
UNL offers several technological advances, such as a robust, free, secure, and automatic WiFi connection. NU-Connect allows students to automatically encrypt WiFi every time they come on campus. This system helps connect the university's internet of things.
One of the most helpful ways that UNL uses the internet of things is through its printer kiosks. Students no longer have to go to the library or computer lab to print papers. Instead, they can visit any of the smart kiosks across campus to easily print, scan, fax, and make copies.
The school also offers the Nebraska App to keep learners connected. Users can access the campus directory, view schedules, browse the library catalog, and receive university news. Furthermore, the university uses 60,000 sensors and controls to make the campus more efficient.
University of Southern California
USC is another major university featuring technological breakthroughs in several areas. For example, the institution has a "smart grid" research center in which students test new ways to create tomorrow's energy grids. Engineering learners can attend high-tech workshops to accelerate learning with topics like air quality sensing, cyber-physical systems, and driverless vehicles.
All students can use the school's network of mobile applications to connect with campus. These apps help degree candidates stay safe, find transportation services, access the library remotely, and follow game day activities. The school's CHARIOT initiative sits at the intersection of education and the internet of things. Education, technology, and information management students work together in this program, creating ways to use real-time data to personalize education.
Pennsylvania State University
University Park, PA
Penn State makes this list for its useful student apps and secure building automation. Learners can download several practical mobile applications, such as Penn State Life, where students can find campus events, check schedules, and find university resources.
Another app is Dining@PSU, which offers a way for degree candidates to find dining halls, see their hours, and check daily menus. The app also lets users read the nutritional values of all menu items and easily log food intake. Students at the institution are currently developing another app, which is aimed at connecting commuter students and cultivating community.
Learners can access these apps through Penn State's robust networks. The university recently upgraded to BACnet traffic systems to keep information safer and improve efficiency.
Cornell's top-of-the-line laboratories and research centers land it on this list. This renowned university emphasizes research in its undergraduate and graduate courses, giving learners the high-tech tools they need to enhance studies.
Cornell does not limit technologically advanced labs to engineering degree candidates; students from many disciplines use these tools. One new lab allows degree candidates to work with virtual reality. Researchers can develop applications for this technology in diverse areas, such as gaming and medicine. The Connected Experience Lab helps advertising and marketing students use technology to create better connections between brands and consumers. The Social Technologies Lab gives researchers tools to learn how to use data from online media to create social good.
With all of these research labs, many students create inventions. They can either start new businesses with these products or sell them to big companies. Cornell helps learners make these decisions and apply their technology.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
MIT has more than 50 research labs and centers, each with the technology that learners need to make breakthroughs. MIT does not limit laboratories to graduate students; 85% of undergraduate learners assist faculty in research projects. For example, the MIT Energy Initiative has scholars of all levels working to create a more sustainable future.
The Lincoln Laboratory on the MIT campus is another leading center for technology. This lab focuses on interactive supercomputing where researchers find solutions for technology problems in areas such as cybersecurity, big data, and 3D printing.
MIT also has a mobile app for students. Learners can get campus news, track the university's transport systems, search the campus map, and find nearby events. The school can also alert users about emergencies through the app and hungry students can find dining hall menus and hours.
University of California-Los Angeles
UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine is one of the most technologically advanced medical centers in the country. From the labs in which students conduct research to the hospital in which they earn clinical hours, learners at this school have access to cutting-edge technology.
Scholars who conduct research on the campus can access the Core Technology Centers Gateway. These centers have groundbreaking technology for medical professionals in areas like medical imaging, genetics, biostatistics, and analytical chemistry. Students in each field have access to several labs that meet different needs. For example, scholars who need imaging machines can choose between four labs that each cater to different needs, such tissue samples, small animal subjects, and human cadavers.
On the clinical side of the campus, students learn to practice on some of the most advanced machines in medicine. UCLA is on the forefront of advancements that can change patient lives around the world, including robotic surgery, telemedicine, and health information technology.
Georgia Institute of Technology
Georgia Tech made the campus a test facility for the smart cities of the future. People at the university call it the "living laboratory," testing cutting-edge technology on school grounds. The school's Smart Campus Project includes several smart tools to make school facilities more efficient and engaging. For example, administrators can see smart maps of the campus that show which buildings need maintenance and where they can save on energy costs.
This program coincides with the university's Smart Energy Campus plan, which allows students and researchers to develop software to make the campus and cities countrywide more efficient. Even the institution's police force joined in the living laboratory movement with its ISyE collaboration. Learners who want to work on the internet of things and create smart cities can join The Center for the Development and Application of Internet of Things Technologies.
Princeton boasts world-class research facilities, an official mobile app, and several student-made apps. Princeton's research laboratories feature cutting-edge technology. STEM learners enjoy resources like a research computing lab and the Proteomics and Mass Spectrometry Core Facility.
The university's official mobile app includes maps, directories, information on dining services, campus events, sports scores, and emergency alerts. Princeton degree candidates make apps for their classmates to use as well. This collection, called TigerApps, includes everything students need to stay connected. Learners can download apps to browse courses, get alerts when spots open up in coveted classes, and plan the perfect schedule. Other apps let students trade goods, see building floor plans, and find one another in directories. Degree candidates are always updating and adding to these offerings.
Michigan's most prominent tech offering is its student life app, The Michigan App. With this app, learners can find available computers, search bus routes, check dining hall menus, and receive emergency alerts. Degree candidates can also see class schedules, academic calendars, and directories.
Michigan gives every student free cloud storage so that learners can complete classwork from any computer. This system also keeps information secure. Learners can choose between several types of cloud storage depending on their needs. All degree candidates also get access to U-M Box, which makes group projects easier to manage. Learners can access all of these services from any of Michigan's 17 computer sites on the main campus.
Villanova started a wireless expansion program to accommodate the growing population of connected devices. The university boasts reliable, secure, scalable, and fast internet throughout campus. Villanova also has an impressive suite of apps for students.
Students, parents, and faculty can use Nova Now, which allows users to find dining halls, manage their ID and payment cards, view final grades, and access class schedules. Villanova University Guides help learners find on-campus events, learn about orientation, and get through graduation. To keep students safe, Villanova created SaVUr for those who experience sexual violence on campus and Nova Safe to receive emergency services quickly. The university also introduced CBORD Mobile ID, which functions as an official student ID students can access from their phones.
The University of Texas at San Antonio
UTSA is the first higher learning campus in the U.S. to open a library without books. The Applied Engineering and Technology Library opened in 2010 and offers hundreds of thousands of digital volumes and journals.
The school's library also boasts up-to-date technology. Students can rent hardware like laptops, cameras, and headphones for several hours at a time. Learners who want to purchase their own tech can head to the campus technology store, which sells the latest versions of Apple and Microsoft products. UTSA also has an app that allows students to manage their account balances, register for courses, see their schedules, and find available parking.
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
As a research-focused institution, RPI has some of the most advanced technology in the country. The campus has labs for subjects like advanced computational research, intelligent systems and automation, nanoengineering, and fluid dynamics. The O.T. Swanson Multidisciplinary Design Laboratory allows students to apply skills and collaborate to solve problems in areas of design, engineering, and science.
RPI also has a campus app. Rensselaer Mobile features the campus directory, map, events, news, graduation status updates, schedules, and grades. Students with iPhones or Android devices can use the app.
Unlike many schools, RPI requires each student to own a laptop. While the institution does not provide these machines, it does offer steep discounts on bundles. These packages include new machines and all the software students need to get started.
The technology feature that generates a lot of buzz for Seton Hill is Mobile Learning @ the Hill Technology, which offers full-time, traditional undergraduate students an iPad and MacBook for free. Graduate physician assistant students get the same equipment. Graduate learners in other programs can get one piece of technology or the other, depending on the program.
The university offers AppleCare on campus for each of the school-issued devices. Experts fix any problems with the tablets and laptops while the students use loaned technology. Degree candidates with questions can contact the Solutions Center. Apple continues to recognize Seton Hill for its innovation.
Chatham University gives each incoming student a MacBook Air during orientation. Learners also receive backpacks and cases to fit the laptops. To ensure degree candidates keep their computers for the length of an undergraduate program, laptops come with four-year theft protection, accidental damage coverage, and AppleCare.
The Information Technology Services office provides plenty of updates and services for students with these computers. Because each student has the same computer, the professionals in this office are experts on the MacBook Air and can troubleshoot many problems.
The school also uses technology in other interesting ways. For example, candidates who want to know more about the campus but cannot attend an in-person visit can take virtual tours anytime.
Although many people know Notre Dame for its football team and legacies, the school is also technologically advanced. The school website is mobile-friendly and one of the first sites to function well on smartphones. The university is social-media savvy as well. Students from all programs learn to brand themselves and accelerate their careers with social media.
The ND Mobile App lets learners find menus, maps, sports highlights, and campus news. Notre Dame also has high-speed WiFi in all residential and academic buildings. On-campus learners can use any of the 255 public computers.
This university in Oklahoma is one of the first to promote physical fitness with wearable technology. The institution gave learners free Fitbit watches beginning in 2015 and is the first university to implement such a program. Students can use Fitbit data to improve their health.
Before implementing the Fitbit program, the university upgraded its network to support the extra bandwidth needed for the program. This project included upgraded switches, more access points, and modified configurations. While most ORU students never see the upgraded system, they can feel the effects. Together, the Fitbits and the improved network helped create an internet of things at ORU.
This university boasts a suite of apps for students. Among the most useful of these apps is the UT Mobile app. With this official app, learners can check grades, see transportation schedules, get parking permits, view the campus map, and receive live updates from the institution.
Students and faculty at UT can also get the RAVEGuardian app for free. When users call the police with this app, it automatically sends vital information such as name, photographs, medical information, and location.
UT partnered with Lime to bring motorized scooters to the campus. Anyone on the grounds can download the Lime app to get started. The app shows where available scooters are and unlocks them when students choose to use them. Students pay one dollar to rent the scooters initially and 15 cents for each minute they ride.
Harvey Mudd rounds out this list with several high-tech laboratories. The Orwin Lab allows engineering students to use technology to explore types of engineering that basic courses do not cover. Undergraduate engineering degree candidates can also use several other labs at Harvey Mudd. The campus has technologically advanced spaces for bioengineering, communication technology, dynamics, and energy.
Engineering learners are not the only ones on campus with access to great tech. The chemistry department has the Jacobs Hall of Science and Keck Laboratories, with more than 25,000 square feet of lab space filled with exciting technology.
All learners can print documents for free anywhere on campus. They can also access the school's various computer labs, most of which have PCs. When students need laptops or other gear for short periods, they can use the loaner program.
What Are the Benefits of Attending a Technologically Advanced College?
Technologically advanced colleges and universities offer several benefits to students. Schools that implement an advanced digital infrastructure allow learners to more effectively engage with coursework, faculty, and other students. Additionally, schools with a strong digital footprint offer students easier access to important information, such as campus news. Learners pursuing a STEM major also benefit from the advanced facilities found on campus.
In many cases, schools that embrace technology have adapted more seamlessly to restrictions and obstacles caused by COVID-19.
What Are Some Examples of Technologically Advanced Features on College Campuses?
Schools use technology in a variety of ways. Many colleges have their own school-specific mobile apps, and the best apps allow learners to access critical information like safety alerts and breaking news.
Colleges with well-regarded STEM programs often implement technology in unique, forward-looking ways. These programs boast the state-of-the-art technology needed to keep up with modern research, allowing students to develop in-demand skills.
How Does Advanced Technology Enhance Teaching and Learning?
Technologically advanced colleges have responded better to the COVID-19 pandemic than their less advanced peers by implementing various online tools. These tools, like videoconferencing and social networking, have increased student engagement in attempts to make up for the lack of on-campus camaraderie.
The increase of online learning tools also expands access to higher education. Online learning platforms can reach a greater number of students and increase diversity in the classroom.
What Kind of Degrees Benefit from Technology Research Funding?
STEM-focused degrees are the most obvious beneficiaries of advanced technology. High-tech laboratories, access to sophisticated computer programs and characterization instruments, and tech-savvy educators can elevate the academic experience.
However, the advantages provided by technology funding also extend to many other disciplines. For example, art majors benefit from having access to complex photo editing software, music students can work in state-of-the-art recording studios, and English composition majors can learn about coding to more effectively market themselves as digital journalists.
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