Essential Tech Gadgets for Getting Through College

Published On March 7, 2014 | Electronics

Attending college can be one of the scariest yet most exciting times of your life. You’ll develop new relationships, experience new things, and prepare to enter the workforce.

But getting through college can be a struggle if you don’t know which tools to use. Here are some essential tech items you should have by your side to help you get through the school year.

A Good Laptop

A good laptop is absolutely essential when getting through college. You’ll need a laptop to take notes, perform research, write papers, and depending upon your major, edit videos or use for graphic design.

When it comes to picking the right laptop there are three big factors to take into consideration:

  • Weight
  • Size
  • Battery Life

Since you’ll be carrying around your laptop on a consistent basis, the weight and size need to be appropriate. You’ll also want a computer with a good battery life so you don’t have to charge it in between classes.

You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on a laptop. Consider your needs and pick something to fit. You want quality, but you don’t need to go all out with the extra features.

A few great places to get good deals on laptops are the tech sections of college bookstores, Office Depot or BestBuy. If you’re looking to buy a used laptop you can always shop around on sites like eBay and Amazon.


You’re going to need the right software to complete your papers and other assignments. If your laptop didn’t come equipped with Microsoft Office, you’ll most likely need to purchase it. OneNote is a popular note taking program that comes with Microsoft Office.

You can also take advantage of the many free and discounted software programs offered to students. Beyond the student bookstore (which has education pricing for most software programs), check out your favorite software sites (Microsoft, Adobe, Apple), and scroll to the bottom to look for “Education Store” or “For Students and Teachers.” That’s where you can find the best deals on software for students.

Beyond paid software, there’s a ton of free software that you can take advantage of as a student:

  • Gmail
  • Google Docs
  • Evernote

A Smartphone

A smartphone has become an essential part of the way we live today so of course it makes it on the list.

There are so many things you can do with your smartphone besides communicating with others. If you forget your laptop you can take notes on your phone. You can use your phone as a digital reader and even perform research on the go.

Having a smartphone really comes in handy on the days that you’re running late and forget your laptop.

Digital Reader

Not every textbook is available for a digital reader but as time progresses this is becoming a more popular option.

By downloading textbooks to a digital reader you won’t have to worry about carrying around the weight of traditional books and you’ll always have easy access to your materials. Digital textbooks are usually less expensive than standard textbooks, too.

Digital readers can also be great devices to take along on days when you don’t feel like carrying around your laptop. You’ll be able to take notes, read, and perform research conveniently.

A laptop, the right software, a smartphone, and a digital reader will all come in handy as you make your way through college. While these items are all essential for a student, the specifics will depend upon your chosen major.

What tech items do you think are essential for going to school?

– By Robert Farrington

This article was written by Robert Farrington from The College Investor, a personal finance site dedicated to helping millennials get out of student loan debt and start investing.



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