A College Student’s Guide to Buying a Laptop

April 26, 2023
By AdmissionSight

A College Student’s Guide to Buying a Laptop

Going to college can be an exciting and challenging time for students. One of the essential tools that college students need today is a good laptop with several options and brands available; deciding which of the many laptops to buy can be challenging.

Understanding the needs of a college student when buying a laptop

College students have different needs depending on their course of study and personal preferences. Before buying a laptop, it’s essential to consider the student’s needs and priorities.

Balancing budget and performance

Many students are working with limited budgets, and the cost of a laptop may be a significant concern. However, it’s important to balance the budget with the performance. When considering the device’s performance, looking at the processor, RAM, and storage space is important. A device with a powerful processor can easily handle demanding applications and multitask.

A laptop with sufficient RAM can run multiple applications simultaneously without slowing down. Storage space is also important, as students need to store documents, presentations, and other files. It’s also worth considering the durability. College students are often on the move, and it is essential to withstand bumps and knocks.

Prioritizing portability and battery life

Students are always on the go, and a laptop that’s easy to carry is essential. Portability is important, and laptops with long battery lives can be a significant plus for students who spend long hours at school or in the library.

When considering the portability of a laptop, it’s essential to look at the weight and size of the laptop. A lightweight laptop can be carried around easily, while a larger laptop may be more challenging to transport. Battery life is also crucial, as students need a laptop that can last through long classes and study sessions.

Considering the student’s field of study

The field of study can also affect the type of laptops needed. For instance, engineering students may need a laptop with a powerful processor, while graphic design students may require a high-resolution display and a dedicated graphics card.

For science students, laptops with high-performance processors and large RAM are essential. This will enable them to run complex simulations and perform data analysis efficiently. For liberal arts students, laptops with a comfortable keyboard and a high-resolution display are essential for writing essays and reading articles.

A woman typing in her laptop.

It’s also worth considering the software requirements of the student’s field of study. Some programs require specific operating systems or hardware specifications, and ensuring the device can support these requirements is essential.

The top laptop features to look for

When choosing laptops for college students, it’s essential to consider the following laptop features:

Processor and RAM

The processor and RAM are crucial components that determine the performance of a laptop. Laptops with a powerful processor and a large amount of RAM can handle multiple programs and applications without slowing down.

It’s worth noting that the processor and RAM work together to determine how quickly a device can complete tasks. A fast processor can only do so much if it doesn’t have enough RAM to store and access the necessary data.

For students who plan to use their laptops for intensive tasks like video editing or gaming, looking for a device with at least an Intel Core i5 processor and 8GB of RAM is recommended.

Storage options

Storage space is another vital factor to consider. Students need laptops with enough space to store their files, documents, and other coursework. Laptops with solid-state drives (SSDs) are faster and more reliable than traditional hard drives (HDDs). SSDs are also more durable than HDDs because they have no moving parts. This means they are less likely to fail due to physical damage or wear and tear.

It’s recommended to look for a device with at least 256GB of storage space. However, if the student plans to store many media files like videos or photos, laptops with 512GB or more storage may be worth considering.

Display quality and size

The display size and quality are also important factors. A larger display can make it easier to work on multiple tasks simultaneously, while a high-resolution display can provide clear and crisp visuals. It’s recommended to look for a laptop with at least a 1080p resolution display. This will provide sharp, clear visuals for reading, writing, and watching videos.

For students who plan to use their laptops for graphic design or video editing, a device with a 4K resolution display may be worth considering. This will provide even more detail and clarity for precise work.

Operating system preferences

The operating system preference is mainly based on personal preferences. However, some programs and software may work better on certain operating systems. It’s essential to consider the programs and software the student will use regularly.

Asian beautiful woman thinking idea with laptop computer in coffee shop

For example, if the student plans to use Adobe Creative Suite for graphic design or video editing, it may be worth considering laptops with macOS. Adobe Creative Suite is optimized for macOS and may run more smoothly on a MacBook.

On the other hand, if the student plans to use Microsoft Office for their coursework, laptops with Windows may be a better choice. This is because Microsoft Office is optimized for Windows and may have more features on a Windows laptop.

Connectivity and ports

Finally, students need laptops with good connectivity options and ports. Laptops with HDMI and USB ports can conveniently connect to external displays and devices.

It’s also worth considering laptops with Thunderbolt 3 ports, which give faster data transfer speeds and can connect to external graphics cards for improved performance in tasks like video editing or gaming.

For students who plan to work on the go, a device with built-in 4G LTE connectivity may be worth considering. This will provide internet access even without a Wi-Fi connection.

Popular laptop brands for college students

Choosing the right laptop is a crucial decision for college students. It needs to be reliable, durable, and capable of handling the demands of coursework and research. With so many laptop brands available, choosing the right one can be overwhelming. Here are a few top brands that are ideal for college students:

Apple MacBook

Apple MacBooks are popular laptops among students because of their sleek design and high-end performance. They are generally more expensive than other laptops, but their reliability and durability make them worth the investment. The MacBook Pro is a favorite among students in design and media fields, while the MacBook Air is a great option for students who need a lightweight and portable device for basic tasks.


Dell is a popular brand among college students due to its budget-friendly options and reliable performance. Its XPS series is known for its fast performance and excellent battery life, making it a great choice for students who need a device for long study sessions. Dell also offers a range of gaming laptops for students who want to unwind with some gaming after a long day of classes.


HP laptops are popular for their affordability and excellent value for money. They are also known for their sleek design and high-end performance. The HP Spectre x360 is a popular choice among students who need a device to convert into a tablet for note-taking and drawing. HP also offers a range of gaming laptops for students who want a powerful device for gaming and coursework.


Lenovo laptops are recognized for their durability and excellent keyboard design. They are also light and easy to carry around on campus. The Lenovo ThinkPad series is popular among students who need a laptop for programming and other technical tasks. Lenovo also offers a range of gaming laptops for students who want a device that can handle intensive gaming and coursework.

Male Student Working At Laptop In College Library


Asus laptops are known for their high-quality displays and powerful processors. They offer excellent value for money and are popular among students who need a laptop for intensive tasks. The Asus ZenBook series is a favorite among students in the design and media fields. In contrast, the Asus ROG series is an incredible option for students who want a powerful gaming device.

Budget-friendly laptop options


Chromebooks are affordable devices that run on the Chrome OS. They are an excellent option for students who need a device for basic tasks such as browsing the internet or using word processing applications. Chromebooks are lightweight, easy to use, and have long battery life. They come with built-in virus protection, and you can access Google Play Store to download apps and games.

However, Chromebooks rely on an internet connection to function, so they may not be the best option for students who need to use software or applications unavailable on the Chrome OS.

Refurbished laptops

Refurbished laptops are a cost-effective option for students who need a better laptop but can’t afford to buy a new one. These laptops have been restored to their original condition and have a warranty. Refurbished laptops are an excellent way for a person to get high-quality devices at a fraction of the cost.

They are eco-friendly as they reduce electronic waste and are a sustainable option. However, buying refurbished laptops from reputable sellers is essential to ensure they are in good condition and have a warranty.

Student discounts and deals

Many brands offer student discounts and deals, which can significantly reduce the cost of buying these devices. It’s essential to research the different values and deals available before making a purchase. Some brands offer discounts on specific models, while others provide discounts on all devices. Some brands also offer free accessories, such as headphones or a laptop bag with every purchase. It’s essential to read the terms and conditions of the student discounts and deals to ensure you are eligible for them.

Laptop protection

Buying a laptop is a significant investment, and protecting it from damage and theft is crucial. Here are some essential tips on how to protect your laptop:

Laptop warranties and insurance

Buying laptops with a warranty or insurance can protect them from damage and defects. You must read the terms and conditions of the warranty or insurance to ensure it covers any accidental damage.

When it comes to warranties, there are two types: manufacturer warranties and third-party warranties. Manufacturer warranties are usually included in purchasing such devices and cover defects in materials and workmanship. Third-party warranties are purchased separately and can cover accidental damage, spills, and drops. It’s essential to compare the costs and coverage of each type of warranty before deciding.

a male student carrying a laptop while standing

Insurance is another option for protecting your laptop. Many insurance companies offer policies specifically for laptops and other electronics. These policies can cover accidental damage, theft, and loss. It’s important to read the terms and conditions of the policy to ensure that it covers your specific needs.

Essential accessories

Accessories such as laptop bags, carrying cases, and screen protectors can help protect devices from scratches and damage. It’s essential to invest in high-quality accessories that are meant for your specific laptop model.

When it comes to bags and carrying cases, there are many options available. Some are designed for specific models, while others are universal. Choosing a bag or case that fits your device snugly and provides adequate protection is essential. Look for bags and cases with padded compartments and sturdy straps.

Screen protectors are another essential accessory for protecting laptops. They can prevent scratches and cracks on the screen, which can be costly. Many screen protectors are available, including clear films and tempered glass. It’s essential to choose a screen protector that is compatible with your model and provides adequate protection.

Security and backup solutions

Security software and backup solutions can protect your laptop from malware and viruses. Regularly backing up your data can also protect you from losing critical files.

Security software is essential for protecting your laptop from malware and viruses. Many types of security software are available, including antivirus and anti-malware programs. It’s essential to choose a program that is compatible with your laptop and provides adequate protection.

Backing up your data is also essential for protecting your investment. If your laptop is lost or stolen or the hard drive fails, you could lose all your important files. Many backup solutions are available, including cloud-based storage and external hard drives. Choosing a backup solution that is easy to use and provides adequate storage space is important.

Tips for maintaining laptops

Regular maintenance can extend your device’s life and ensure it performs optimally. Here are some essential tips for maintaining your laptop:

Regular software updates

Software updates can fix bugs and improve the performance of the said device. It’s essential to update your operating system and other software programs regularly. In addition, software updates can add new features and enhance security. Keeping your software up-to-date can help protect your laptop from viruses and other security threats.

Cleaning and care

Regular cleaning and care can prevent dust and debris from building up and damaging your device. Use a soft cloth and mild cleaner to clean the keyboard, screen, and other parts. In addition to preventing damage, regular cleaning can also help keep laptops looking and smelling fresh. Clean laptops are not only more pleasant to use, but they can also help you make a good impression in professional settings.

Battery maintenance

Proper battery maintenance can be a big help in extending the life of your device. Avoid letting your battery drain completely, and try to keep it charged between 20-80%. In addition to extending your laptop’s life, proper battery maintenance can help you avoid unexpected shutdowns and other battery-related issues. If you’re unsure about how to properly maintain your laptop’s battery, consult the manufacturer’s instructions or seek advice from a professional.

Data management and organization

Good data management and organization can prevent laptops from becoming cluttered and slow. Deleting unwanted files and organizing your files and folders can improve the performance of your device. In addition to improving performance, good data management and organization can help you stay productive and focused. When your files and folders are organized, finding what you need and avoiding distractions is easier.

Hardware maintenance

In addition to software and battery maintenance, taking care of your laptop’s hardware is important. This includes regularly checking for and repairing any physical damage, for example, cracks in the screen or loose hinges. Ensuring your laptop is properly ventilated and not overheated is also essential. Overheating can cause severe damage to your laptop’s internal components and make it uncomfortable to use.

a top view of a person holding a coffee-filled mug and a laptop on their lap

Buying a laptop for college students can be a challenging and complex task. However, by considering the student’s needs and priorities, students can find a perfect laptop. As you decide on your laptop it is also important that you learn how to enter the school you want. At AdmissionSight, you will be guided as needed in that step. You can get all the right guidance from experts at AdmissionSight. Start your journey today with an initial consultation.


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