What will higher ed look like in a century? Students predict the colleges of 2114

Automated major sorting, a guaranteed job, and 3D printed food

Journalism professor Dan Reimold, of Saint Joseph's University, shares the bizarre, offbeat, and insightful visions his students had of college 100 years in the future, in USA Today.

After screening a documentary about the challenges and trends in higher education today, Reimold asked students in his journalism class to imagine where education might be headed in the future—the far future.

"I asked them to think small, pitching a vision of how something specific might function on a college campus in or around the year 2114," he writes. Everything was open to speculation, from classes to the cafeteria.

While often outlandish, the students' visions for the future of education often connected directly to some of today's biggest trends. The EAB Daily Briefing highlights five of these student visions, along with some EAB resources that might help them become a reality.

Students' predictions of higher ed in 2114:

  • 1. Students will have the help of a digital "sorting hat" to choose a major—instead of relying on trial and error. Sensors will monitor a student's "neuronal connections" to help them choose a course of study based on "their personalities, skill-sets, and personal interests," writes senior Leigh Anne Tiffany.

We don't have a sorting hat yet, but innovators can check out the Next-Generation Advising Resource Center for tips on how to personalize advising services for maximum impact.

  • 2. College admissions will have done away the SAT and every other vestige of the test-based admissions process. "Students will be judged solely by their Facebook profiles—from the seriousness of the news they share on their feeds and the types of pages they like to the intellectual aptitude of their Facebook friends and the quality of their profile and cover photos," writes senior Denise Sciasci.

The admissions process is certainly changing fast and incorporating new technology. Learn more from the EAB Daily Briefing: The changing role of social media in college admissions.

  • 3. In 100 years, "terrible food will be banished from college campuses" and will be replaced by personalized meals from 3D printers, which "will allow students to choose exactly what they want to eat and even upload their moms’ recipes to be replicated in seconds," writes senior Emily Heitzman.

It's hard to argue with 3D-printed, home-cooked meals, but this vision likely needs a few generations of engineers to make it a reality. Consider reading our brief on promoting interest in STEM among current and prospective students to help get things started.

  • 4. The college graduation ceremonies of the next century will end with employment offers. In fact, "representatives from established and start-up companies and organizations will be waiting at the end of the stage students walk on to receive their diplomas," wishes junior Olivia McEachern.

Colleges are working on it—and getting closer every day. Explore EAB's State Market Demand Dashboards to see what skills and jobs are most in-demand by region.

  • 5. College campuses in 2114 will have nap pods. "In between classes or before big exams, students can sneak into a pod for a 20-minute nap—rejuvenating their brains and bodies without being forced to race back to their dorm rooms," writes junior Mary Kate Viggiano.

Nap pods are already a reality on some campuses! Learn more in the EAB Daily Briefing: Nap rooms could lead to happier students and better grades.

(Reinmold, USA Today, 12/8).

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