Laptop Shopping Tips For First-Time College Students

Whether you’re heading to a physical university or attending college online, you’ll need a laptop to keep up with your studies. Technology in classrooms has evolved so much that educators use it for lectures, assignments, file sharing, communication, and more. Students without an efficient laptop will ultimately find it difficult to complete their coursework. Yet with so many options available, finding the appropriate laptop isn’t easy.

If you’re a first-time college student searching for the best laptop for college, here are a few shopping tips to keep in mind.


College students are often working with a tight budget. As laptops can cost several hundred or thousand dollars, you must set a limit to avoid overspending. You can use cash gifts from loved ones, your income, money from your checking or savings, or other financial sources to pay for the laptop. If you’re going to borrow the money, ensure that you can repay the loan to avoid going into debt.

Service Provider

When shopping for a laptop, where you choose to make your purchase makes all the difference. You want to find a service provider that offers an array of options in multiple price ranges. They should also incorporate other services like equipment protection plans, which can save you money if something happens to your device.

Payment security is another factor to consider when buying technology. A reputable service provider will have multiple payment options for their customers. If you’re buying the device online, ensure that they offer security protection for secure online payments. If you decide to buy in person, make sure you know how to fill out a check or use a credit card prior to making the purchase to avoid complications later.


You’ll need to have your laptop with you during class, so portability is a key factor to consider. You want a device that has a large enough screen but doesn’t weigh you down. Fortunately, there are newer models that are sleek and light in size but durable enough to work as efficiently as a larger laptop or desktop computer.

Battery Life

The last thing you want is for your laptop to run out of power in the middle of class or an assignment. That’s why it’s important to consider battery life as a factor when shopping for a laptop. You want a battery that can last at least 10 hours or more to get you through the school day (or at the very least, to an electrical outlet).

Random Access Memory

College students will spend a lot of time working on multiple applications or platforms during class. You might have to log into a chatroom, open your word processor, and surf the internet at the same time. That’s where Random Access Memory (RAM) comes into play. RAM determines how many programs your computer can run at the same time. Ultimately, the higher the RAM, the more efficient it is for college.


The processor of a computer is similar to the brain of humans. It is the central unit that provides instructions and power for a device to complete tasks. The higher your laptop’s processor is, the more quickly it can complete functions. If you’re using your device for general coursework and tasks, you can opt for a mid-level processor and do just fine. However, if your major will require you to work from advanced platforms and applications, you may want to consider getting a laptop with high processing power.


Last but not least, students are encouraged to factor in storage. You need enough space on your computer to house data, documents, images, and other assignments. Your laptop’s hard drive also needs to be spacious enough for the many applications you’ll need to download. If you can’t afford a large hard drive, there are other options for storage like USB drives and cloud storage accounts.

Of the many things you have on your shopping list for college, a laptop should be a priority. As you’ll need a laptop to complete coursework, you’ll want to invest a significant amount of time and money into making the most efficient purchase. By using the shopping tips listed above, you’re sure to find a laptop that meets your educational needs and budget.