Computers are so ingrained in campus life today, it's hard to imagine a student who doesn't have a computer. In high school, the demands are less rigorous and a student can get away with using the family computer or the computer in the library to do assignments. In college, however, computers are an essential tool, so you owe it to yourself to have one of your own, preferably one that is relatively new and will be able to handle a heavy workload.
Computers Are Fundamental
Taking notes, writing assignments and communicating with faculty and other students are some of the routine tasks that make a computer essential. Asking if you need your own computer is much like asking if you need your own textbooks. You may be able to borrow a friend's computer or use a computer in the library or computer lab, but waiting around for a computer to be available -- not to mention being limited in how long you are able to use it -- is not a wise way to spend your time, especially during mid-terms.
Old Computers Can Become Problematic
Before making the decision about whether to buy a computer or not, find out what your college recommends or if it has specific requirements for computers connecting to its network. This information is usually listed on the college's website. If your old computer doesn't have a relatively modern operating system or if it doesn't have the processing or memory requirements for recommended software, you may not be able to connect to the campus network or use campus IT resources. In addition to these requirements, an old computer that crashes while you're writing a term paper or slows down when you are writing an online test won't help your grades.
Work Anywhere with A Laptop
Even if a college doesn't require students to have laptops, some programs and courses do. Without a laptop, you may not be able to access online tests and projects required during some classes. Your college's website and course descriptions should tell if laptops are required or not. The portability of a laptop or a tablet PC also makes them convenient for taking notes in class, bringing to the library, or even taking outside to work on a warm sunny day.
Add a Tablet
Having a tablet can be a great supplement to a computer. Tablets are highly portable and can be used for a variety of functions from taking notes in class to reading e-books. However, most tablets on the market today won't replace a computer because they can't use the same programs as a PC. The exception to this are tablet PCs, which use the same operating system as a PC. Tablet PCs also convert into a laptop when coupled with an external keyboard, which usually doubles as a protective case for the screen while you're between classes.
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