Personal Computer for College

A personal computer is something that no college student should be without. You'll use it for writing papers, preparing presentations, and checking your email. You won't need a fancy computer, but you will need one.

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Very few schools require students to bring a computer to campus. In fact, your school will provide you access to a computer cluster. These clusters are typically located in libraries, classrooms, or dormitories and are useful for doing research, surfing the internet, or checking email. However, computer clusters may not be convenient for working, especially if it is late at night or the cluster is crowed or located far from your residence. Having your own computer gives you flexibility to work in the comfort of your own room and at the hours that are most convenient for you.

Choosing a Computer

There are two models of computer for you to choose from: laptop and desktop. Each model has its own advantages and disadvantages. Consider the pros and cons of each model, as well as how you plan to use your computer, before deciding what to bring with you to college.

Desktop Computer



Laptop Computer



What we Recommend

The creators of this website have spent many years teaching college students and have seen firsthand what works and what doesn't. Therefore, we'd like to extend a recommendation to students considering purchasing a new computer for college: Buy a desktop computer rather than a laptop.

Laptops have their place, but we don't think they are the best choice for a college student. Here's why:

Laptops can be useful for taking notes at class, but we find that pencil and paper are still a better tool for note-taking than a laptop. It is just easier to use the old-fashioned pencil and paper to write equations, draw graphs, or sketch pictures that will help you remember the material presented in a lecture. Students with laptops tend to struggle when it comes to recording this kind of information.

At the end of every semester things get stolen. Students are leaving for the break or graduating and an unguarded laptop can sometimes be too much of a temptation. This disadvantage is listed above, by we'd like to reemphasize that a laptop's portability makes it especially vulnerable to theft.

Finally, by the end of your college career, your computer will have become obsolete. We think it makes more financial sense to have purchased a cheaper desktop computer than a more expensive laptop. If you really want a laptop, wait until you have graduated and then you can treat yourself or ask for one as a graduation present.