Most college students these days take a computer to college. Not only is a computer essential for doing assignments but it can also be taken into lectures and used for note taking. It’s hard to believe that not so long ago, people actually used notepads and pens!
Choosing the right computer to take with you is important. You will likely want to take a laptop, as laptops are portable and take up less space, but what things should you look for?
Don’t start looking for a computer until you know exactly how much money you have to spend. That way you won’t waste time looking at models you can’t afford.
Mac Vs PC
The second decision to make is whether you want a Windows computer or a Mac. There are also Chromebooks, but these may not be powerful enough unless all you need a computer for is general internet use, word processing, and media streaming.
Mac Vs PC is a personal choice. Some students won’t look at anything else but a Mac, but for those on a budget, Macs are very expensive to buy and difficult to upgrade, but tech support is good and there is a certain degree of kudos associated with all Apple products.
Windows PCs are available at all price points, from budget to high performance Lenovo PCs. It’s easy to upgrade a PC if you later decide to add extra RAM or a bigger hard drive.
Before you make a decision, check whether there is any specific software you need for your course and if so, what operating system it is compatible with. There is little point splashing out on a Mac if the software you need for your engineering course only works on Windows. There are workarounds, of course, but not without hassle.
Note that the subject you study will impact the computer you need. For example, if you will be doing video editing or graphic design, a Mac is essential, but programming is best done on a PC. Gaming is also better on a PC.
A student with enough money might decide to invest in a PC and Mac, so they have the best of both worlds.
What Brand to Buy?
Unless you are fixed on Apple, the next stage is to choose a brand of PC. There are lots to choose from, including Lenovo, HP, Dell, Acer, Asus, and Microsoft. Read reviews, ask friends and family for advice, and consider any computers you have had in the past and whether they were reliable. Remember that cheaper brands might seem good value but often it is at the expense of reliability and customer support.
See Your School’s Recommendations
A lot of colleges make recommendations about what devices students should buy, down to the exact make and model. This is handy, as it saves you from wasting days or even weeks browsing random sites searching for inspiration.
Finally, check with your department whether there are any programs available to pay for or loan technology equipment such as computers.