Having a laptop for school allows you to go from the classroom to a study group to working on a project in your room. Buying a laptop is an investment in your educational success. Before deciding on a specific laptop, you need to understand certain requirements from your school, your budget and your personal preferences.Budget ConsiderationsLaptops have a rather large range in prices depending on features. The key to finding a laptop to fit your budget is to understand what your needs are. The more expensive computer may not always be the goal. For example, a laptop with a larger display and keyboard may weigh several pounds that you must carry from class to class when a lighter, smaller laptop would give you all the functionality you need.
A primary connectivity consideration is connecting to the Internet or school intranet. You may be familiar with using a wireless (Wi-Fi) connection, but your school might not have Wi-Fi set up in all locations. If this is the situation, you need an Ethernet port on your computer or you will need an adapter to convert a USB port for Ethernet use.
How you will use your laptop is key to determining the right computer for your needs. For example, if your primary activity is graphic design or video editing, you will need a laptop capable of processing large data files. You will want a fast processor such as an Intel Core i7 processor. Alternately, if you will be writing articles such as with a journalism focus, you likely do not need as much processing capabilities. Check into all of your school’s mandatory requirements such as the operating system and maybe even the version such as Windows 7 versus Windows 8. If the requirement is for a Microsoft Windows operating system, you may not be allowed to use an Apple MacBook. Also take note of any required software that may be required on your laptop. You will need to make sure the laptop you purchase is compatible with the software.
Specific hardware requirements can be a combination of personal preferences and school requirements. You may not require a fast processor, but you may need a lot of storage if you need to save large files. Consider a 128GB hard drive compared to 500GB. Although you can add external storage or create cloud-based storage, you should be aware of the choices. Other considerations for the hardware, for example, can include the number of USB ports or the size of the computer screen. A computer with one USB port can make connecting devices difficult. A small 14-inch display may create eye strain when performing detailed tasks such as accounting or formulas.
Once you understand the school or field-of-study requirements for a laptop, you should also look at your personal preferences. The appearance, such as a design pattern or a vibrant silver color, may be important to you. For long days of classes, the battery life may be a vital personal need. Finding an outlet may not always be convenient, so a laptop with a battery that lasts around eight hours might be a requirement.