Fall is approaching rapidly, and besides the wonderful weather, falling leaves, and shorter days, it also means that students are returning to school. In that spirit, we have compiled some of the best tech for college students. We are not going to talk about dorms or apartments–these items are a matter of personal tastes and so many articles have covered them it is unlikely we could break new ground. Instead, we have spoken with college students and ascertained what tech they cannot live without. In other words, if you only buy a few things for your student this fall, these are the things to purchase.
Backpacks. No matter where you send your child to college, whether it be an urban campus like NYU or Georgia State, or a more traditional, insular college like Carleton College or Cornell, they are going to need a way to tote their books, notebooks, laptop, and tech to and from classes. Today’s backpacks aren’t like the old-school rucksack made of canvas and straps. The best backpacks need to have compartments for cords and tech, need to be water-resistant, and need to be sturdy enough to protect the contents should the bag fall or drop. Some of the higher end versions can even charge devices and include a hard drive. Here are the picks from the students we surveyed. Co-alition and AMPL are both gadget-oriented picks if a bit on the pricey side. Herschel backpacks are the college-student gold standard, and at a price of less than $100, can be replaced easily should they tear. The North Face also has a wide variety of sturdy backpacks at all price ranges.
Laptop. Forget the tablets. They are hard to type on and remember that this list is about absolute necessity. A well-made laptop with plenty of memory, options for gaming, and high functionality is a must. Students will be doing everything from taking notes in class to researching term papers and coordinating their social lives on this machine. Even if money is tight, there are great options for every budget. If portability is the most important issue, look into an Apple MacBook Air. For creative types, the 2017 MacBook Pro, with its gorgeous display, is a great option. For a durable, powerful option with great features and 8G of memory, the Asus ZenBook UX330 is a fantastic option at a great price. If the price of tech is overwhelming for you, eBay has a great site with refurbished technology.
Headphones. For parents, this may seem frivolous. They managed to get through their 4 years of college without them. Bear in mind that Millennials and Generation Z are used to a barrage of constant white noise, what with people on their phones, typing on laptops, and watching videos. Every student we spoke with said that the ability to be able to block out distractions and listen to music or podcasts while they study is imperative. Headphones offer a portal to focus on the task at hand. Audio-Technica has a great wired version at a good price, while wireless fans can find quality, bargain-priced versions through BeatsX or SkullCandy.
Apps. Many apps that are helpful for students are free, but if you do want to purchase one that you can be sure they will use, Amazon Prime for Students is probably the best choice. They have great deals on items that students would want, including textbooks. It also gives your student an option for entertainment when they need to unwind, because Amazon video has a staggering choice. For on-campus safety, Circle of 6 is a great app to reassure nervous parents. To make the deluge of group projects easier on your student, try GroupMe. To help with studying, Brainscape offers a nifty app to create flashcards. To facilitate and encourage your student to call home more often, make sure to install FaceTime or Google Hangouts. The list is endless, and many apps are either low- or no-cost, which is great for students (and parents) on a budget.
If you are a college student and need to amp up your resume and earn a bit of pocket money at the same time, Commercient is offering paid internships in a variety of positions.