Should you bring a computer to college? The answer is so simple, yet so complex.

Technology and our access to technology are constantly changing. Throw in a young person’s first foray into college, and questions are sure to arise.

Should you bring a computer to college? The answer is:  it depends.  Let’s break this down:


To me, the biggest benefit of having your own computer is the convenience factor. When a class assignment is due and you feel like you need to hole yourself up in a dark corner of the library, then it is useful to have your own computer to use. If you are the type of person to think clearly during the early morning A.M. hours, then it may be convenient for you to have your own computer.

Mobile Devices

Sure the majority of your internet usage is probably done on your smartphone or tablet, many college classes will require that you type a paper or post comments on an online discussion board. Going back to convenience, it’s easier to have a laptop or keyboard to engage in such exercises.

What type of college are you attending?

There are different types of colleges out there such as trade schools, community colleges, and four-year universities. As you tour the campus that you’re planning to attend, pay attention to the following items:

  • Do they have a strong wi-fi for student use? Many larger colleges do but double-check for your own peace of mind.
  • Do they have conveniently located computer labs? Labs can be found in shared areas like student unions or within the residence halls (if you’re living on-campus).
  • Is there free printing or printing-for-a-fee? If so, how much does it cost?
  • Is there a service to rent a laptop when needed?
  • Is there a service for hardware repair & software support if you need assistance during the school year?

What classes will you be taking? What’s your major?

If you’re signed up for freshmen English class where you’ll be submitting printed pages frequently, consider the convenience of having your own computer and printer.  This too is compounded if your major is something that will likely mean printing and submitting pages throughout your college career. Then again, in today’s virtual world, many classes now ask that you upload your document through an online student portal account. Perhaps that printer is not necessary, but the computer will be useful.  Also from an artistic side of things, having your own computer may be convenient for you to work on a project on your own schedule.

Bring yours vs buy a new one

If you plan on bringing an older laptop or computer to college with you, keep in mind a few things:

  • You may have to download/update special software (such as virus protection) in order to connect to the college network. Make sure your computer has enough processing power and storage to be able to connect to the college network and if necessary, download the required software or virus protection.
  • Invest in a good carrying bag/backpack to easily transport your computer around campus.
  • Make sure you have a proper battery and charger (just in case!).

Buying a new computer? 

Many retailers will have a variety of promotions aimed at college students. Yes, back-to-school sales are a real thing. If you’re willing to be patient, you may even have better luck finding a deal during a Black Friday or [insert holiday] sale event. In addition, some colleges may even have deals with retailers which may offer you a student discount on computers and/or software. Ask your college admissions representative for more information.

Should you bring a computer for college? They are convenient to have when classes require them. However, many colleges do a great job of providing access to computers. Give it some thought, and pick what is best for you!

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