The Columns

W&L Entering Students Continue Trend Toward Apple

— by on September 24th, 2012

An annual survey of the entering students at Washington and Lee University has shown that the shift from Windows-based computers to Apple Macintosh has continued to grow.

The survey, conducted the W&L Office of Institutional Effectiveness and Information Technology Services, found that 70 percent of the respondents brought Macintosh computers with them as opposed to 30 percent who are using Windows-based machines. That represents a 10 percent increase in the number of first-years with Macintosh computers in the past four years.

More than 98 percent of the entering class completed the survey, which identified the types of electronics the students brought to campus with them when they arrived earlier this month.

When it came to telephones, all but one of the 471 respondents to the survey brought a cell phone to campus, and the vast majority of those (89 percent) were smartphones. That is up by just less than 13 percent from a year ago.

IPhones were the dominant choice among smartphones with almost 70 percent. By comparison, three years ago only 43.7 percent of the cell phones that the entering students brought with them were smartphones.

“These data confirm trends we’ve seen regarding increasing use of mobile devices,” said Jeff Overholtzer, manager of strategic planning and communication with Information Technology Services.
”We’re committed to supporting students’ use of these devices through  continuing to expand and enhance our wireless infrastructure and providing services that are accessible and easy to use by mobile devices.”

Tablet computers and e-readers like Kindle and Nook also increased in usage among the first-year class this year. More than 16 percent of the class brought a tablet computer, and the overwhelming majority of those were Apple’s iPad. Most tablet owners also had a laptop computer and are not relying on tablets as their sole computing device.

The percentage of students who brought televisions, personal printers and digital cameras continued a steady decline from four years ago.

Asked how they were using their smartphones, the variety of ways in which the phones are used has increased dramatically. While phone calls and text messages are the most prevalent ways in which the devices are used, more than 70 percent of the respondents reported that they used the phones to take photos, send and receive email, check Facebook, check sports scores and weather, and shoot video.

News Contact:
Jeffery G. Hanna
Executive Director of Communications and Public Affairs
jhanna@wlu.edu
(540) 458-8459