It’s the end of summer and most kid’s are dreading back to school, but we hope this list will give them something to be excited about. Here are our computer recommendations for student’s heading to college from our recent college grad Katie.
Heading off to college you’ll want a computer with 3 key features:
- Long Battery Life – Not all lecture rooms have outlets, and you can’t always secure a spot by one (trust me). If you take notes on your computer during lectures you’re going to need at least 1.5 to 3 hours of solid battery life. Add on the time you have between classes in the library, or the time you’re browsing the web before class starts, and you’ll want a minimum of 4 to 5 hours of battery life.
- Lightweight yet Sturdy- A lot of college classes require books (unless you’re lucky enough to get digital versions) you’ll be carrying those books around to class either to follow along or study between classes. The last thing you need is a heavy computer adding more weight to your back and shoulders, especially if you have a large campus. Don’t sacrifice quality for weight, you still need a computer that can survive banging your bag in a doorway as you squeeze by, or even the floor if it falls off your chair. Finding the perfect compromise is key.
- Performance – Nobody wants a computer that freezes when opening Microsoft Word.
Alright, so now that we have the basic requirements I’ve outlined what I think would suit each major best. Personally, I have a Computer Science degree, so I needed a computer with a decent amount of memory and a good processor to execute my code and multi-task. But if you’re a Business major or Liberal Arts major you may not need all of that processing power. Choosing the best computer for your major can you save you money upfront.
Computer Science and Engineering:
If you’re a comsci major you’ll be on your computer all the time, it’ll essentially be glued to your hip, so honestly just get the computer you really want. Something that will last you 4 years and a keyboard that can withstand hours or coding, and a couple frustrating slams when you’re debugging.
I have used multiple computers to code and my favorites have been the Dell XPS 13 and the Macbook Pro (great processing power for my web and graphic design and development).
We recommend – Dell XPS 13
Great processing power, portability, and battery life. Can keep up with Photoshop, Android Studio, and Eclipse. Nothing is worse than your computer freezing when you try to open the android emulator…with XPS 13 you won’t have to go through that frustration.
*You can get a touch or non-touch version of this PC – either one is a great choice, but most computer science/engineering student’s might not find use for the touch feature. Engineering may find more use for it if they’re using AutoCAD software.
Business and Health Sciences:
Most Business and Health Science majors rely on word processing and basic computer tasks. Some business majors, such as Accounting & Finance, may need a computer with decent processing power to run their Accounting programs. So a good mid-level computer can handle those tasks without breaking the bank for both majors.
We recommend – Asus X551MA
Creative Arts :
Depending on the media of art you work in you may need not need a top-of-the-line computer. But if you work in Illustrator, do animation, graphic design, or any digital art, you’re going to want a computer with some processing power. And let’s face it- what do most artist’s want for their laptop? A Macbook. The Macbook may be the stereotypical art student’s computer, but trust me it’s for good reason. The Macbook is equipped with great power and processing, a beautiful Retina Screen, lightweight and small size, and the sleek look an art student can appreciate.
But- if you don’t want to carry around a drawing tablet to every class and would prefer to draw whenever you have an idea then the Microsoft Surface Book is also a great option! You can use it as a laptop or tablet, and can draw right on the tablet! I have used a Surface Pro for my design work in the past and it’s amazing how well the pen draws! You may be spending more on these 2 options, but they are both choices that will last throughout and past college, while helping you create the best art for your portfolio.
We recommend – Apple Macbook or Microsoft Surface book
Liberal Arts & Education:
Most liberal art and education majors do not need to access “heavy processing programs” and only require their computer for web browsing, organization, and note taking – Basic computer operations. That is why I recommend something simple that will get the job done .
We recommend – Samsung Chromebook
Lightweight, great battery, and ultra portable. This laptop is perfect for students taking quick notes and streaming Netflix between class. It also comes with Google’s suite of apps and 100GB of Google Drive Storage, so you can access your files anywhere, anytime.
Hopefully this list will help you determine what computer fits your needs and budget best. Good luck with the new school year!