You will be redirected to the page you want to view in  seconds.

Gearing up for college - what you really need

Jun. 26, 2012 - 10:06AM   |   Last Updated: Jun. 26, 2012 - 10:06AM  |  
  • Filed Under

Do you really need an iPad for college? Is it better to skimp and go for a netbook, or should you invest in a top-flight laptop? Technology has become necessary for students heading to school, but it's easy to spend too much or buy overly elaborate or redundant gadgets. Our picks for getting your gear on a budget:


You can get a fully serviceable PC laptop from a variety of makers for about $500; a Mac laptop will run you $1,000 or more. Netbooks cost $200 to $300 but have a bit less functionality (no DVD player, for instance).

An English major who plans only to type papers may be fine with a netbook, but an engineering student will need the juice a laptop provides. Film or art students likely will favor a Mac because Apple offers the best editing software.


These can be helpful educational tools, with alarm clocks, dictionary apps, apps for flash cards and much more. And they're getting less expensive thanks to prepaid data plans. Virgin Mobile, Sprint and T-Mobile offer prepaid plans that work out to $30 or $35 a month for unlimited talk, text and data about half the monthly fee for a contract, as long as you buy the phone.


Many professors accept assignments by email some even require electronic submission to facilitate plagiarism checks and many campuses have printers that students can use, so you likely can make do without a printer of your own. But it's still a good idea to bring one, particularly because many can be had for cheap.

A combination printer, scanner and fax runs about $100.

Flash drive

At about $1 or $2 per gigabyte, a USB "flash" drive lets you easily to carry files and data back and forth to class or to a printer.

Answers by RallyPoint

Join trending discussions in the military's #1 professional community. See what members like yourself have to say from across the DoD.

More In Education

Start your day with a roundup of top defense news.

VA Home Loan

Search By:

Product Options:
Zip Code:

News for your in-box

Sign up now for free Military Times E-Reports. Choose from Money and Education. Subscribers: log in for premium e-newsletters.

This Week's Army Times

This Week's Army Times

CrossFit vs. unit PT
Troops will do the training plans in a $2.5 million study

Subscribe for Print or Digital delivery today!

MilitaryTimes Green Trusted Classifieds Looking to buy, sell and connect on Military Times?
Browse expanded listings across hundreds of military installations.
Faces of valorHonoring those who fought and died in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom.
hall of valorThe Hall of Valor is a searchable database of valor award citations collected by Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran and Military Times contributing editor, and by Military Times staff.

All you need to know about your military benefits.

Benefits handbook

Guard & Reserve All you need to know about the Guard & Reserve.

guard and reserve handbook