Buying a Computer for College

Trying to figure out about buying a computer for college? One of the things I did not realize we’d do at my son’s college orientation was buy a brand new laptop. But following a session on student life, we were ushered off to a special room set up with various laptop models configured to meet the needs of future engineers, business students, artists and architects, and those had not yet decided on their choice of major.

My son was majoring in business. We found the table for business students and explored the four recommended configurations, choosing mainly between brands and screen size. Keeping in mind he’d be carrying his laptop with him to most every class, he chose a 13″ screen instead of a 15.” Smart move.

Since we were purchasing through the university’s bookstore, we could order the computer with the software required by his major. Really, they made it easy for us. Even though my normal approach to buying a computer would have been to agonize and research every detail, there was no time. We had to make a decision, buy, and move on to the next orientation event.

The benefits turned out to be more than just convenience. We also bought an extended warranty which included repairs due to any damage or problem, and insurance which covered theft.

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We also learned that there would be computer helpers in the dorms during move-in to help students setup their computers and get connected to the university Wi-Fi.

My Takeaways

  1. Follow the university’s recommendations regarding purchasing a computer.
  2. Come to Orientation prepared to buy a computer or upgrade to the software needed.
  3. Get the extended warranty.
  4. Buy renters and/or theft insurance — usually this includes a full replacement if your computer is stolen.
  5. Buy the student edition of the software you need — usually there is a student discount.
  6. Read all of the information the university provides regarding the computer requirement specifications and any on-campus computer support services.
  7. Decide with your roommate if you want to bring a printer. Many schools now suggest printing at campus print locations.
  8. At move-in, don’t forget to bring a surge protector power strip. We like the Cable Matters (2-Pack) 6 Outlet Surge Protector Power Strip. It comes with USB Charging Ports and has an 8 Foot Power Cord.
  9. Take a picture of the laptop’s serial number sticker. This is usually on the bottom or back. Parents, write the number down somewhere, too, along with make and model.
  10. Bring a ream of computer paper and an extension cord. If you ever HAVE to print something quickly, someone on your hall should be able to help you out.

In the end, both my student and I were happy with the way all of this turned out. And ultimately, we were relieved someone else had figured out what was needed.

What did you end up doing for your first year of college, computer-wise? Did your high school computer pass muster or did you too end up buying a computer for college? Did you use a printer in your room? Tell us on our social media, either on Facebook or Twitter!



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