There’s always a level of uncertainty for parents and kids, alike, when a young person is ready to go off to college for the first time. The process of enrollment can seem very overwhelming and complicated at first. Then there’s also the question of, “What do I need?” Unfortunately, many students come to find out that they didn’t purchase what they needed for their classes and, sometimes, they’ve purchased more than they needed.
Technology has become a necessity in the modern college environment. Almost every university has a student email system in place, text message alerts, and grade postings online. It would be a very grave mistake to enter the campus world without any form of technology. A student without the necessary tools will be unable to know what’s happening around campus when classes are canceled, what their grades are, and they will likely be unable to complete their work.
So what kind of technology does the average student need for college? We’ll start with the hardware. The most important piece of equipment for a student to have is a laptop. There was a period of time a couple of years ago where many college students were trying to get by with a tablet, but a tablet is very limiting and there is a possibility that it won’t be able to handle the kind of assignments you may be given. A laptop is really a necessity. They can handle any kind of program, software, or website that your instructors ask you to use. Laptops are also fairly affordable. Unless a student is majoring in a degree like graphic design or video production, a mid-range laptop will be fine. A mid-range laptop is typically around $400-$700. While there are cheaper laptops available, it’s best to spend a little bit more and get one of decent quality. Many of the $200-$300 models you can find aren’t going to last for a student’s entire college career. Remember, these machines are being constantly carried around campus so build quality does matter.
Another important piece of technology that students need is a smartphone. Most colleges offer free wifi access to students so most won’t need a massive data plan. But a smartphone will allow students to stay up to date with what’s happening on campus, let them receive text alerts in case of an emergency at the school, look up events and information, and keep in touch with fellow classmates.
As for software, the main thing that students will need will be Microsoft Office. The vast majority of college papers are typed in Word and some classes also demand Excel and Powerpoint presentations. Of course, there are alternative third-party program options for all of these but it’s honestly a lot safer to stick with the brand name programs as they will always be reliable. This is another reason why you should bring a laptop to college instead of a tablet. Yes, tablets do have access to a variant of these programs, but a laptop is easier to back up, hook up to school printers, and type on. Thankfully, most colleges do offer heavy student discounts on software like Microsoft Office.
Ultimately, a reliable smartphone and laptop are the two most important pieces of tech for a college student. Fortunately, PTCI has some great offers on our cellular service and some helpful accessories that are perfect for college students. PTCI also has some great products like backpacks that can charge your cellphone and a variety of durable cases.
We hope that this article has been helpful to parents and college students preparing for the next stage of their lives and provided some useful information concerning the most efficient tech to invest in for the school year.