Laptop for 8Th Grade Graduation

Updated on June 05, 2013
K.S. asks from Chicago, IL
19 answers

Hi, my son is graduating 8th grade on Friday and we want to get him a laptop for his graduation gift. He will need one in HS and we have been saving up. Those of you with high schoolers, how much laptop do they need? We were looking at Macs because that is what we already own. The Airbook has no DVD drive, do they need one? He is not a gamer so doesn't need a ton of processing power? Thoughts? What do your high schoolers need and use? Thanks

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

Featured Answers



answers from Honolulu on

The reason for a DVD drive in a computer, is also not only for games, but some people still save things on it etc.
There is no drive in the Airbook. So to save things, he needs to use a Thumb-drive etc.
For serious gaming anyway, its best to just have an Xbox etc.
Not a computer.
A DVR drive anyway, is getting outdated. Computers nowadays will not or do not, have it.

Anyway, yes, a MAC. But, think ahead too. He will use it for: 8th grade, then 9th, then 10th, then 11th....? and so forth?

My Mom has the Macbook Pro.

Go to an Apple store, and ask them, what is good enough for a High Schooler.
Or what is better... for a High Schooler.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I don't have a highschooler, but the school may have a list of the specifications that they actually need and you can build from there.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers


answers from Danville on

I agree with mamaBadger

I spoke to some of the AP and honors teachers before we made a choice.

And...once in college...some of my kiddos have had VERY specific computer requirements...based on their respective majors.

I would suggest...if you need time to figure out what he needs...wrap a picture of a 'generic' computer...and invite HIM to help pick one out!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

A good rule of thumb is to find out from the school what types of programs, etc he needs.

My daughter had a Dell Latitude (still have it and it still works, just old) from about 7th grade through 10th grade. She did a lot of projects on Power Point.

In 11th grade, we got her a MacBook Pro and she still LOVES it. She graduates this year and the MacBook should get her through college just fine with the system it has.

She is in 4 AP classes which all require a lot of work, projects, etc. They have made films up to 30 minutes using laptops, editing, etc and many presentations for Business Law and Virtual Business. Most of the time, she can upload the presentations and films to a specified spot the teacher has designated.. other times, she has to take it in on a DVD or saved on a removable file so she can present.

You can get the Microsoft Office in a student version which has much of what they need as far as word processing and presentations.

Good luck!!! Our graduation is June 12, today is her last day of "school" because the rest of the week is graduation practice and just showing up for attendance because she is exempt from exams. Time flies!!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from St. Louis on

You have to be careful you don't get something too stripped down because you will have issues with software running.

With my kids they keep getting my old laptops which are only a couple years old and very nice to begin with. If I were to buy them one new I would get it configured as I would my own because that is the only way they would last four years.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

I agree with the others. Ask the school what programs and requirements they might need to do the same work at home that is done in school. I'd go off of that and then build in any extra's you may want him to have.

Congratulations to your son!

(Oh - but be prepared. If he gets that as an 8th grade graduation gift, he'll probably expect bigger for high school :)...)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I would suggest contacting the HS and finding out what he may need. You want to make sure that his computer is compatible with whatever they are using in school. If he starts an assignment in one place and wants to finish it in the other, they need to "talk".

A basic laptop would be fine, whether you decide to go with a PC or a Mac. Remember that you'll probably need to get him another one to go off to college, so don't make yourself too crazy!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Probably doesn't need the DVD drive. My H just got a MAC and got a plug in one for it but we are oldish with lots of old DVDs. My college age kid had one on his Mac laptop but it's stopped working twice in 4 yrs. It doesn't hold up well in a laptop because of all the movement. He says the only reason you would need one is to burn music.

Most like likely he will just be doing papers and making videos that they send to the teacher by Internet now.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would talk to some of the teachers at his high school and see what they see in their classrooms. Also, find out what kind of work they assign that is done on a laptop and assess your needs from there.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

I would check with the high school he will attend. If I bought for mine, they would need the USB and DVD drive. They will have to make presentations for their classes.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My son's girlfriend has used a mac forever, and she is having issues with her college courses not being compatable with her current laptop. Since I know nothing about computers, I can't explain the problem, but she's really struggling and can't afford a new one.



answers from Chicago on

get something with a DVD drive, trust me I didn't and am mad that I can't use the laptop when someone hands me a DVD to watch. It's just something you can't easily get around sometimes. What if he needs a certain program and you go to buy it, how do you load a program on a disc to the computer ? They do not sell most programs on a flash drive or as downloadable.

Just watch what you give or do as a graduation present from 8th grade, cause you have to top that later,



answers from New York on

Both of my children received laptops when they entered high school, and they are used constantly. Many high school teachers require students to type their papers, especially in higher level classes. They also frequently e-mail homework and papers to their teachers.

Both my daughters have used power point many times.

A DVD drive is not necessary. Students use flash drives.



answers from Chicago on

An Airbook will be just fine. It will have enough power to do anything he will want to do. Mostly he will need word processing, maybe spreadsheet and power point. It will also have the ability to make short movies so that will be useful.

He won't need a DVD drive, he can save things to a flash drive. You can buy external DVD drives--but if he really needs to do something, can't he just burn it on one of your computers? I have a MacBook Pro with a DVD drive and I only use it to make movies and burn CDs for work.

My SD's mom bought her a PC for Christmas and every day I wish it was a Mac. Your son is lucky!


answers from Washington DC on

Have you contacted his gaining high school to see what they recommend or what system requirements would be needed?

I would start there first, then go see what we can afford within their system requirements.

He'll need MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint most likely. Find out what they will be expecting work to be done in.

Have fun!



answers from Washington DC on

Depends on the school. My sks did just fine with basic computers. You might want to look at a refurbished one. I think for classes, he will mostly need word processing. SD made a short video and did some Power Point type presentations, but her computer through HS was nothing fancy. It was a handmedown. The one we got her for college was a lot pricier but it needed to last 4 years (and she is a klutz) and run her business programs.


answers from Los Angeles on

It really depends on the school.

All our HS age kids just got me and hubby's old hand me down laptops for HS and then a Wicked cool new one from The Grans for a HS graduation gift!

My 18y/o senior (Who got accepted at WSU, GO Cougs!) is getting a seriously sweet top of the line AlienWare Laptop that he is going to be OVER THE MOON for!

Cant wait for him to open it! Seriously, this thing cost more than my first car...and his, for that matter! Ha!



answers from Las Vegas on

You may need a Windows OS. I have found that a lot of the education based programs require Windows. You can get a windows OS with MAC...not sure how or how much.


answers from San Francisco on

I'd ask one of the guys at the Apple store if you could attach an external DVD drive to the Airbook. If so, then I'd just get that. If he ends up needing to use a DVD for some reason, it would be easy enough to get the external drive and hook it up. We are thinking about getting an Airbook for the kids to use (letting them use my MacBook Pro makes me nervous ;). He would probably also need the Microsoft Office suite (Powerpoint, Excel, and Word), so you can add that cost into your calculations. Your school may actually have a program set up with Apple where you can get a discount, so it's definitely worth asking the school prior to buying the laptop.

Oh, also, if he needs to be able to run Windows for some reason, you can just get Parallels and Windows for the Mac. I have this on my MacBook Pro and on my iMac, and actually Mac runs windows faster than PCs can run it. :) It's very easy to set up and run.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions