The world has changed and the needs of the college student have changed as well. It used to be that plenty of paper, pencils, notebooks and highlighters were all that you needed to be prepared for college. But in today’s fast paced technological world much more is needed to be successful. You need the right technology.

So here are a few suggestions on what you will need.

Laptop Computer

Today’s college student needs the portability of a laptop, the desktop just doesn’t cut it anymore. But, many of the features included in a laptop are not absolutes and are negotiable. Different students will require different memory, graphics and accessories.

One feature that is negotiable is the memory. In most cases, the standard ram and hard drive will be more than sufficient for the average college student. However, if your major is in computer graphics or programming you might require a more advanced memory system. Call your advisor or someone in the computer department and ask about your computer needs.

The following are features that you definitely want to include in your system:

  • DVD R/RW
  • CD-RW
  • Wireless
  • 4 – 6 USB Ports
  • 1 SD Port
  • 1 Fire wire Port

Preferred brands: Compaq, HP, Dell and Toshiba.

Recommended stores: Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max, and online.

Price Range: $399 – $1299

1 – 8 GB USB Drive

Although the USB jump drives don’t have to be 8 GB, it’s a nice convenient size. The USB drive is going to be very useful for transferring data from one place to another and will allow you to take information without taking the whole computer.

Preferred brands: Lexar, Kingston, SanDisk, and Ativa

Recommended stores: Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Office Depot and Office Max.

Price Range: $29 – $79

MP3 Player or iPOD

An mp3 player can be a great success tool with many uses. The most important use being the ability to record lectures and then listen to them anywhere. You can also download music, data and videos. The possibilities are endless.

If at all possible purchase a player that accepts micro SD cards so that you can store even more information on your MP3 or iPOD.

Preferred brands: Sansa, Apple iPod, Samsung, Phillips and Zune.

Recommended stores: Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max, and Circuit City.

Price Range: $29 – $349

Note: If the budget can afford it, go for one that can download videos.

2 – 4 GB SD Memory Cards

Invest in a couple of SD memory cards to store your information on for easy access and portability. SD cards take up very little space and can be transported very easily from one place to another.

You might even consider getting a micro SD with an adapter so that you can use it on your laptop, your mp3 player and your digital camera.

Whatever you decide you’ll be glad you invested in some SD memory cards

Preferred brands: SanDisk, Ativa and Kingston.

Recommended stores: Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max and online.

Price Range: $4.99 – $79.00

Graphing Calculator

If you are going to study science, mathematics or pre-med you will need a graphing calculator. Don’t waste your time with plain calculators or other scientific calculators. You need a graphing calculator. The best graphing calculators for the money are the TI-83 Plus and TI-84 Plus. I prefer the TI-84 Silver Edition.

Recommended stores: Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max, Staples and ebay.

Price Range: $79 – $189

Wireless Printer

Although most colleges will have printers available, the convenience of having a wireless printer in your dorm room is worth the investment. You can pick up a good inkjet printer or even a laser printer for a very reasonable price. Just shop around and compare.

TIP: If you share your printer with dorm mates have them help buy ink refills.

Preferred brands: Dell, HP, Lexmark, Epson and Canon.

Recommended stores: Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Office Depot, Office Max and online.

Price Range: $69.00 – $299.00


The above items will also require certain accessories such as blank CD’s and DVD’s. You will want to get a good laptop case or carrier for transporting your computer. Also, you may want to get a laptop mouse if you have trouble using a touch pad.