Going Back to College-best Laptop?

Updated on February 07, 2011
R.C. asks from Oak Brook, IL
12 answers

I'm going back to college in the fall--what are some things I would need? Like what kind of laptop would be best for college--or do i really need one? I do have a PC at home but it's old-windows 2000 and no printer--should i just buy a new PC w/printer? What else should I buy(besides books for classes,backpack)? Or does anyone have advice on how hard/easy going back to college is? Any advice ? Thank you!

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So What Happened?

after thinking about it-i'm going to buy a new desk top computer w/printer. I will be doing some courses online and i'm afraid my old computer will die on me. I'm going to get a HP touchSmart ###-###-#### all in one desk top. It has good reviews on amazon and is easy to set up--Thanks for all your input:)

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answers from Chicago on

I love my MacBook Pro and you can get a discount if you are a student. I really don't know how to do much on computers but it powers up real fast.

Congrats on going to school.

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answers from Dallas on

A light weight college friendly laptop would be ideal. Apples (like a Macbook Pro) are great, but often pricey and take some time getting used to as they are a different interface than the PCs we are all used to. If you'd like something small and light to take with you to class and take notes on, consider getting an Acer.. they're pretty reliable and not that expensive. The best deals tend to come out in April/May for buying laptops and alot of times they'll be bundled with things like printers and ipods.. just keep an eye out!

I've owned a Compaq (dont recommend for college..), HP, Toshiba, and Dell. Of those the Toshiba and Dell have worked great and very durable! Check with the school a lot of times they have special deals w/ manufacturers to get extra discounts too!

If your classes arent recorded, you might want to get an electronic recorder (but make sure the prof is okay with it) in case you need to go back and listen to something he said. Someone in class had one of these and it was pretty cool! (http://www.livescribe.com/en-us/)

Good luck!!



answers from San Francisco on

I use a lot of programs that can only be run in Windows but everyone I know who has a Mac, Loves it. I have had a few Toshiba laptops and my husband does too. I really like it and Windows 7 has been a very stable platform for me (compared to Vista) There are also backpacks that have slots for your Laptop. Just make sure to back everything up! Take care and the best to you on your new adventure!



answers from Kansas City on

I love my Dell Inspiron.


answers from Dallas on

I wouldn't know how hard or easy it would be going back to college. I'm sure is has some stresses but at the same time it must be exciting for you as well!!

I do think you need a laptop with wi-fi capability. We have 3 Dell laptops between hubby, me and 16 yr old. We love them. Our daughter uses her laptop A LOT for school research, projects, etc. It has been well worth the expense. Since the time I got mine almost 4 yrs ago it was $3000, then a year later we got daughter's around $2000. We bought directly from Dell and have top of the line warranties, etc. When we have used the warranty, the rep comes to our home to do any repair.

Hubby got his Dell at Best Buy about a year ago for less than $1200 with a Black Tie warranty service that covers EVERYTHING. It did not have a cd drive and that was separate but still included in the cost I quoted.

We each bought Seagate hard drives (about $99 each) for our backups. It is easy to use. We backup a lot because we run our business on these little machines.

We have a wireless Epson Workforce combo printer, fax, scanner, copier and love it. We don't have to hook up to the printer.It is fantastic!

GOod luck



answers from New York on

Mac, Mac, Mac!!! I can't stress enough how great their labtops are. You will have to buy the Windows software, but that's not a big deal. I have had mine for 6 years now. Last year, my old one shorted out after taking it to the apple store to get worked on, and Apple resplaced it for FREE! I NEVER get pop-ups and don't have any anti-virus software on it even. They are hands down the best. I had a Dell before my Mac and it died in 1.5yrs. Mac is the best.



answers from Boston on

I absolutely love LOVE L O V E my MacBook Pro. It takes a licking & keeps on ticking. It's less prone to viruses and runs quicker than my PC. My daughter is in college and really loves hers as well.

Check with your school's IT department. Sometimes they have recommendations about laptops and some even offer good deals that they've arranged through a particular manufacturer.

BTW -- about the only thing that comes to my mind after a computer, books and a backpack is a good portable calendar/planner or some good time management software for your computer. Staying organized will be a good part of he battle.

Good luck to you!



answers from Oklahoma City on

If you have the money get a MAC, they don't get virus'. Most virus' are written for Windows compatible computers so they don't effect MAC's. If you can't afford a MAC be sure and install the best virus protection you can find on any computer you have or buy.

I would think if you have time that you can do without the computer and use the ones at the college. They won't have a lot of extra programs on them and they won't be configured for games and stuff but more for producing papers and taking notes. They should have a bunch of paper writing programs on them.

I took notes by hand and carried a tape recorder to every class. That way if I was confused about something I wrote down I could listed to the lecture and get it right. Then while I was cooking dinner or studying I could put the tapes on and listen again.

I also bought a pack pack to carry everything in, purse included. I could put my purse stuff in the backpack or could just plop my purse into the middle part. That way I didn't have to deal with 2 straps going over my shoulder. I had to take my stuff out when I was going somewhere with friends and not carry the back pack but that's pretty easy once you get the hang of condensing your stuff down to basic stuff you might need during the day. Brush, small mirror, sunglasses, wipes for glasses if you wear them, extra pens, extra paper, that kind of stuff.

Have fun and take lots of good classes along with some stress reducing classes. At Junior College I took about 6-9 hours of solid core stuff and then took cooking, weight lifting, fitness, aerobics, water exercise, tennis, choir, piono lessons, etc...I made almost all stright A's and really enjoyed school. I also got a full scholorship to University based on my grades and the extra curricular classes I had taken. They said it made me a better rounded student. At the Unverstiy I still took some fun classes too, ballroom dancing, my legs are short and it was not fun so dropped it, drama classes, just one to two fun classes a semester. I would enroll in 2-3 core classes (6-9 hours) and then pick 1-2 hour credit courses from my fun list to make up to full time (12 hours).



answers from Great Falls on

I was just making the rounds visiting colleges with my HS senior and most of them recommended NOT getting a printer at all, because of the printing services they all have in their computer labs, libraries, etc. Many even said that bringing a laptop wasn't necessary. However, since you probably aren't going to live on campus, I would certainly get the laptop. I would definitely check on the printing services to see if you would need a printer, thoug. Sometimes you'll get a bundle when buying a laptop anyway, but if you don't, maybe the printer is something you can do without.



answers from Pocatello on

My husband is super-computer-nerd and he has taught me a lot. He had a huge laptop that he hauled around to school for about 4 years and it killed his back. So he bought a Eee Asus Netbook, super light and small but he loves it. It is very easy to carry around and easy to boot up and use. I even convinced my sister to buy one for her to use for school. It is a great secondary computer to take places but it wouldn't replace a desktop. Good luck!



answers from Seattle on

For most degree paths any old internet / email capable, word processing computer will do. A printer is useful, but if you have a 24hour copyshop you can pay to print out your papers.

For certain degrees you'll need something heftier (CS degrees, certain Arts degrees, etc.) but mostly all you need is a glorified typewriter that lets you keep in contact with your professors.

Personally, I have a MacBookPro... but I did 5 years with a PC run by gerbils.



answers from Denver on

I can tell you that it is very difficult but if you are determined you can do it. I have and now after being back in school for over 5 years I am finally almost finished. About the computer inquiry, are you actually attending class or taking online classes? If you are the type of person that likes to type and take notes then I would say get a laptop. However if all you are going to be doing is work at home for homework and such I would upgrade the PC you currently have and get a printer. Most likely you will have to turn in papers. With the other supplies just get your basic supplies. Notebooks, pens, backpack, etc. You don't need to go all out. As you get futher into your classes you might have to get things to fulfill certain class requirements, i.e. a scientific calculator for college algebra. Hope this helps.

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