Four years ago, I wrote a post titled New Hiring Manger – Big Data and how companies were using algorithms to decipher raw digital data.
Today, universities, businesses, and governments are using Big Data to process student applications, to stay competitive, and to track the spread of viruses across the globe.
As humans, we are creatures of habit. What is amazing about Big Data is its predictive abilities and how the algorithms can determine with incredible accuracy our future behaviors and needs.
Michael Malone recently wrote an ed-op for The Wall Street Journal, “The Big-Data Future Has Arrived” in which he describes how we can now, “measure everything, from the movement of billions of stars to each heartbeat.“
The knowledge gained from Big Data will have a profound impact on every part of our world from healthcare to education to employment to the products and services we purchase.
Last fall, I updated and revised You Posted What!? to include information about how Big Data is quickly replacing SAT and ACT scores and how colleges are using Big Data during the student application process.
I believe, as more and more colleges incorporate Big Data, these institutions will gain greater insight into students’ behavior and discover hidden correlations within the data. I expect colleges will know, for the first time in history, what is working and what is not.
In the past four years, we’ve all learned how our digital profiles are used by decision makers to make decisions about us every day and without our knowledge. Colleges have the ability to use Big Data similar to how farmers are using it to analyze every square inch of their farmland and if a single plant needs fertilizer or water.
For colleges, they will be able to geo-locate clusters of high school students to recruit and align specific behavior traits with degrees and fields of study.
As a parent of a soon to be a high schooler, I understand the stress parents have for preparing their children for college. I wonder each day what opportunities will be available in the Digital Workforce for my son.
But, my biggest concern is that many parents believe technology is for companies like Google, Microsoft, or HP. That learning to code is for techies. However, for today’s teens building an authentic digital profile and possessing strong technology skills is a necessity, not an option.
Colleges use Big Data to make decisions about your teen’s application based social media accounts and information gathered from the Internet. The Big Data algorithms can deduce the following: likely hood of a student graduating in four years, if they will change degree plans, the ability to pay their bills, sociability, leadership skills, and more.
As if that was not enough, colleges can determine the ROI (return on investment) for each student application if a scholarship should be provided, and where to spend recruiting dollars.
How to Prepare Your Highschooler for College
- Encourage your teen to build an authentic digital profile on social media. LinkedIn and Facebook are used by colleges either by a human or during a Big Data search. Be sure your teen includes information about their talents, strengths, career interests, and goals. Add volunteer hours, summer businesses, and earned educational badges from platforms like Khan Academy.
- Coding is an important skill and students can learn for free from Code Academy or other providers for a small subscription fee.
- Your teen’s digital profile should match their college application. Colleges check to ensure students are authentic about their career and life goals.
- Add an SEO component to their digital profile by including words that describe career interests and goals. What will not work – having your teen post they are interested in an engineering degree earning $90,000. For teens that are unsure, then suggest posting broader career interests such as building freeways, developing new cars concepts, designing structures, or software.
- Online college and educational resources: Khan Academy, Code Org, Pathbrith, campus2careers, and Social Assurity.
I believe most students will benefit from the use of Big Data as the information is based on many factors, many which they can contribute and manage instead of standardize tests which focus on knowledge of specific information.
Students encounter a very different world from their parents; the Digital Workforce employment requirements are rapidly changing as companies use Big Data and gamification to verify skills and knowledge instead of a college degree.