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W&L Students Trending Toward Macs, Smartphones

When they arrived on campus this fall, members of Washington and Lee University’s entering class of 2015 continued the recent trend toward a preference for Macintosh computers and smartphones, according to a survey by the W&L Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

More than 97 percent of the entering class completed the survey, which identified the types of electronics the students brought with them.

According to the data on computers, 67.1 percent of the students brought Macs, compared with the 32.9 percent who brought Windows machines. The vast majority of those computers were laptops.

That represents a significant shift from 2008-09, when a survey found that 68 percent of the student body at W&L owned Windows-based computers, while only 34 percent had Macs.

Meantime, 98.4 percent of the entering class brought cell phones, with 76.8 percent of those being smartphones, including iPhones, Android-based phones and BlackBerries. By comparison, two years ago only 43.7 percent of the cell phones that the entering students brought with them were smartphones.

“There is little doubt that smartphones will approach 100 percent with next year’s entering class,” said Jeff Overholtzer, manager of strategic planning and communication with Information Technology Services.
Tablet computers began to make their presence felt for the first time with this entering class, leapfrogging the e-readers like Kindle and Nook. Almost 10 percent of the class brought a tablet—the overwhelming majority have Apple’s iPad—which represented a 400 percent increase over last year. Most tablet owners are not relying on them as their solo computing device; only four of the students who brought tablets did not also bring a laptop computer.