OPINION: Laptop buying can be overwhelming, here are some tips

Students use both laptops and traditional paper and pen to take notes in Mass Communications in Society in Umberger 105. (File photo by Hannah Hunsinger | Collegian Media Group)

Buying a laptop can be overwhelming, and there are certain things to keep in mind before purchasing one.

Laptops are an investment. Depending on a student’s major, something more advanced might be needed to succeed in classwork. In that case, going for something that’s more expensive makes sense.

Katie Zey, junior in marketing, agrees that each major comes with its specific requirements.

“I’d say it definitely depends on your [major], so architecture, engineering, those are more Windows geared,” Zey said. “Definitely look into what programs you’re going to need and what software is compatible with what operating system.”

Kayla Hughes, junior in architectural engineering, knows her classes will require specific software.

“I see myself using [my laptop] to do 3D modeling for buildings a lot. As soon as I get heavier into my classes, that’s all I’m gonna be doing,” Hughes said. “We’re required to have a certain strength of computer.”

For discussion posts and the occasional paper, avoid spending big bucks. Look for something reasonably priced with a lengthy lifetime. Not all students need the highest quality laptop available.

Hughes said she thinks seven out of 10 students need a quality laptop in college, and nine out of 10 need a laptop in general.

Most students aren’t using their laptops for classes alone. There are plenty of fun parts to having a laptop, as well as possible work obligations.

Zey uses her laptop in a variety of ways outside of class.

“I definitely stream Netflix [and] YouTube. I have my Spotify on my laptop,” Zey said. “I [use] Facebook for another business I work for. I do social media marketing through Facebook on my laptop.”

Hughes does her fair share of streaming as well, along with some light gaming.

“I also play Minecraft. So a lot of little games, fun games,” Hughes said.

While laptops are great for entertainment, they are a tool, not a toy. Even the cheapest laptops can cost a pretty penny. It’s not a purchase to take lightly.

“Ask around, email professors, because you don’t want to spend that much money and then realize you don’t have everything you need,” Zey said.

“Make sure you look into your major as to what the standard is. Like, do you use Windows? Do you use a Mac? What will you use later on in your industry?” Hughes said.

Investing in an insurance plan is a good idea. Better to spend a bit more upfront than have to buy a new laptop after spilling coffee all over the keyboard.

Kansas State offers a wide variety of technology resources that many students aren’t even aware of.

The Office of Student Financial Assistance recently announced specific funding set aside for needed technology and software.

Students needing a new laptop or any sort of software should visit the Office of Student Financial Assistance web page and fill out the Technology Assistance Referral Form.

Office Suite 365 is also available to students at no cost. The IT Help Desk in Hale Library or the Division of Information Technology web page is available for students that need help accessing and installing the programs.

Jared Shuff is a junior in secondary education. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.