Tech Stuff to Bring to College

As the impending arrival of college draws near to many seniors, the question of what sort of technology to take to the new campus should start stirring in the heads of prospective students. Everybody should have a laptop, right? What about smartphones? And what about iPads and other assorted tablets? Should I take a take a printer with me if I’m living on campus?Every day, technology becomes more and more an integral part of the college classroom experience. Look at any picture of a modern college classroom and you will see row upon row of students typing notes (or, more typically, browsing Facebook) on their fancy, expensive laptops. But are laptops necessary?

Well, allow me to put it in perspective. The average human hand can write between 22 and 31 words per minute, while the average person types at around 35-40 words per minute. What does this mean? It means that a person with a laptop is at an advantage for typing notes in a classroom setting compared to a similar person with a notebook and pen.

Also, colleges and universities seem to be posting more and more information online and through email, making at least some form of computer (either desktop or laptop) necessary. Unfortunately, a decent laptop tends to be kind of expensive (a “mid-range” laptop is usually in the ballpark of $1000), but a halfway-decent desktop tends to be a much more affordable $500.

But this brings me onto my next point. With the insane popularity of Apple’s iPad, students are starting to takeĀ them to class instead of laptops. Is this a good idea? Well, the new iPad starts at $500, half the price of a laptop. However, the touchscreen makes it harder to type than a physical laptop. There is a solution to this, however: many companies make keyboards for iPads and such, and they only start at around $40. As you can see, the cost savings are enormous. A laptop is $1000, an iPad (with a keyboard) is $540.

Smartphones really aren’t necessary for college. Any task that can be accomplished on one can be accomplished on a computer or a tablet, making them only useful if you like to browse the internet with a device that can fit in your pocket. Really, a normal, so-called “dumbphone” will serve you just fine, and will be less expensive.

Finally, printers. Most universities these days offer free printing or cheap printing in their computer labs, possibly making the costs of a printer, ink (did you know ink costs more per liter than blood?), and paper an unnecessary expenditure.

The “too long; didn’t read” version is essentially that laptops are really helpful, tablets can do most of what laptops can do for half the cost, and smartphones and printers are a waste of money. Hopefully, these tips will help you become successful in college