26 Jun 2014
26 Jun 2014

The Do’s and Don’ts of Purchasing a New Computer for College

hand hold graduate from laptop vector iconWhether you are a current or soon-to-be college student looking for a computer to fit your social, err, academic needs, or a parent planning to buy a new laptop for your son or daughter before sending them off to the crazy world of university life, following these tips will help ensure you get the right computer to fit your needs.

DO decide what you’ll be using your computer for?

Let’s pretend for a minute that you plan to use your computer for actual school work, and not just ordering subs from Jimmy John’s or Facebooking with the cute co-ed down the hall. Done laughing? Okay, let’s move on. Are you planning to major in a specific field where advanced hardware and software is required, e.g., audio/video editing, or graphic design? If so, you’ll want a computer that features fast, high performance components. The basic, bargain system won’t cut it. Take a look at your course requirements. Is there specific software that you’ll need to install and run? Will these be compatible with your new computer? Does your department suggest a MAC or a PC? Do a little research in advance, and then purchase your computer accordingly. It also can’t hurt to email your professors directly to see what they recommend. This could also be a good way to get them to remember your name—just don’t be overly annoying in your email!

DON’T walk into a computer megastore and buy the first laptop a salesperson pushes on you.

This may seem obvious, but once you decide what type of system you’ll need shop around and read as many online reviews as you can consume before making your buying decision. Don’t just walk into Best Buy and take the guy in the blue shirt’s word for it. This reminds me of a quote from the movie Tommy Boy, but I won’t go there. Do a Google search for the specific model you want, and also look on Amazon and Ebay to see who has the best price. In addition, contact the school to see if they offer any deals for students. Some schools offer special packages that come with excellent warranties and repair policies. Which brings me to my next point…

DO buy a warranty for your new computer.

According to our unknown source, college students are 68% more likely than average folk to destroy a computer in one of the following ways:

  • Beer, err, soda spill (most likely from having a beer-a-mid with unfinished cans get knocked over on it)
  • Roommate(s) throwing up on your keyboard
  • Being dropped from a 4th story window (“Dude, I bet you $5 it won’t break”)
  • Leaving it at a party and forgetting which party you left it at
  • Unprotected browsing
  • Getting trampled by a farm animal

This is just the tip of the iceberg on ways a computer can get destroyed at college. DON’T take any chances. DO buy a warranty that covers damages.

DO go portable!

Small, lightweight computers make the most sense for college students. They don’t take up a ton of space on your desk, allowing you to take notes during lecture without cramping your neighbor’s style. And, they don’t take up a lot of room in your backpack, which is essential since you will already be overloaded with giant, expensive text books that you’re going to have to read. Have fun!

DON’T forget to have a back-up plan.

It’s imperative that you purchase a cloud-based backup service plan, or an external flash or hard drive, and that you back up your system each day. I’ve had papers disappear into thin air after spending days researching and writing them. There isn’t a worse feeling than having to start all over again. Plus, as I mentioned above, there’s a good chance your computer might get destroyed during your college career. You must back up your work!

DON’T be afraid to contact Pat’s Computer Rescue if you have any questions.

All joking aside, a computer is an important investment for your (or your son or daughter’s) future. Feel free to stop by one of our stores, or call or email us any time, and we’ll be happy to recommend a computer for you.

Pat-roundHappy (and Safe) Computing…Pat

Owner, Pat’s Computer Rescue www.patscomputerrescue.com