We asked our intern, Chelsea Merget, a junior at Boston University, which technological device is critically important to her day-to-day life as a college student.
With 75% of students, ages 12-17, reported to own cell phones, we expected Chelsea to lay claim that her phone was indispensable, but she surprised us by saying: My Computer.
As you probably already know, computers are not just for word processing, though writing papers in college is, perhaps, one of the most important activities, Chelsea also uses her to connect with the outside world: "I keep in touch with so many people via Skype and Facebook. I read my news headlines via Twitter and NYTimes.com. My computer is the one thing I COULD NOT live without."
Phones, iPods, cameras, etc. can be easily replaced, but when your PC represents your life's work as a college student, it really does become the college-critical device to have.
"If my computer was stolen, I would be at a loss. Every document I have worked on through my entire college career is on this computer. Bottom line: I am attached to my computer, more so than my phone."
So what does this mean for college-bound teens?
When touring colleges, you may want to ask these questions about computers on campus such as:
- Do you require personal computers?
- When are specifications made available?
- How much computer theft do you have?
- What happens if my computer is stolen?
- Is WiFi available in the dorms or on campus?
- Is there a way to backup my data files to a campus computer system?
- Are there computer labs open 24/7?
Chelsea also recommends giving some thought as to how else will you use your computer–will you edit video or create web sites? Is word processing and Facebook all you need? You major may impact what you ultimately need, so be sure to check with the department for that particular major about specific computer requirements.