When you are preparing for college, the question of whether or not to get a computer will likely come up. This is an important decision and there are many things to consider.
First, you need to decide if you need a computer. For many reasons, it is a good idea to buy one if you can afford it. While most colleges will have many places with many computers, using those computers can become difficult and inconvenient. During busy times, it might be hard to find a computer that no one is using. Then there are the times that you need to use a computer and the labs are closed. What if you need to work on your term paper that is due the next day until the early hours of the morning? If you have your own computer, you will be able to work on your homework any time you need to. Also, you will not have to find a way and find time to travel from building to building looking for a computer to work on.
Another reason to get a computer is for easy access to the school’s network. Many professors have been using their college’s network more and more for their classes. These teachers will place materials such syllabi, homework assignments, and PowerPoint presentations on the network where students can access them. So, if a student wants to view these materials often without going to a lab every time, a personal computer can be a life-saver.
If you decide to get a computer, it is best to check with the school to find out their guidelines. Some schools now give computers to all incoming freshman. On the other side, some colleges do not and have strict guidelines about what type of computer you may have. These two extremes are not the norm, and it is likely that your school will fall somewhere in the middle. There will probably be some very loose guidelines as to the computer’s processor speed, RAM size, brand, and so on. While many students will probably bring computers outside the rules and have no problem, it is best to stay within those guidelines. This will help tremendously if you need any assistance from the college’s computer support staff.
One thing you should take seriously from the school’s recommendations is the suggested type of network card. The first thing that you do with your computer when you arrive is attempt to connect with the school’s network. This is the only way you will be able to use the Internet and gain access to your student account that includes folders for your classes. If you have the suggested network card, connection should be very easy. If there is a problem, the help staff will have an easier time hooking it up. Having the wrong network card and trying to fix it can be time consuming and expensive.
So, if you are able to buy a computer, you should definitely do so. It will save you time and trouble, and it will make your college experience much more enjoyable.