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How to Choose a Laptop for College

Whether your son or daughter is bound for an ivy league or a local community college, invest in a solid laptop computer to stay ahead of the technology curve.


  • Step 1: Add other accessories such as a wireless mouse, a cooling pad, and a memory stick as needed. A cooling pad is a good idea in hot, steamy weather to keep your laptop from overheating.
  • Step 2: Consider style choices last. Don't sacrifice looks for security and needs. No-frills black is nice for professional students, while younger kids can get away with something a bit more colorful.
  • FACT: In 1975, IBM released the first portable computer. It was the size of a small suitcase and weighed approximately 55 pounds.
  • TIP: A good laptop bag will protect the computer from dust and dirt as well as rain, snow, and even ice.
  • Step 3: Protect the outside of your new laptop with a laptop bag or sleeve. A messenger or backpack style is perfect for the on-the-go student wanting to express their individuality.
  • Step 4: Think about the ease of portability. A 13-inch laptop is lightweight and easy to carry but a 14- or 15-inch machine works just as well and may offer more bells and whistles for tech-savvy students.
  • TIP: Netbooks are the ultimate portable office, but need to be upgraded every year to keep up with advances in technology.
  • Step 5: Secure your laptop with a good internet and virus protection software. File-swapping college kids can spread a virus quickly and ruin a laptop in minutes.
  • Step 6: Check with the school first by logging on to their website or calling the IT department to find the most compatible laptop. Some professional schools may have specific power and software requirements.

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