School may just have let out a few weeks ago but those who are starting their first semester of college in the fall are already getting their back-to-school supply lists together. While traditional notebooks are welcomed, most students and educators who agree that the digital kind are more preferred. To learn what items you should add on your child’s back-to-school list or perhaps get some inspiration for a really neat (and useful) late graduation gift, continue reading below.
Laptop. That’s a given. Students need portable computers to take into class and write notes, scour the internet for research papers, read PDFS and slideshows, and communicate with family back home—so make sure whatever computer your child wants has a web camera. Some students might beg for a Mac (like the newly anticipated Mac Book Pro coming out later this year) because they’re slimmer, faster, lighter and have higher resolution screens—which will come in handy touting around campus in their backpacks. But unless your child is pursuing a degree in graphic art design or web design, a Mac may not be all that necessary. They tend to be on the pricier side anyway. A PC could be more affordable and come with some perks. For example, Microsoft is giving away free X-box’s to students who purchase PC laptops valued at $699 or more at participating retailers. Your child’s student I.D can also be a gateway for more discounts, such as Microsoft’s Office Student Edition. There are some really great deals that are exclusively offered to students this season, so make sure to pay attention to circulars.
Backup Data Devices. Sometimes accidents happen and computers crash or worse—get stolen. Thus it’s important that you provide your child with data storage devices where he or she can save college memories such as music, photos, and of course term papers and notes. An external hard drive can get expensive—about $100—but is an investment well spent. If that’s too out of your price range, at the very least get your child a USB flash drive and tell them about free remote data storage services, such as Drop Box and Google Drive.
Smartphone with GPS. If you’ve limited your child to a “dumb” phone because data plans are too expensive or you really don’t see the necessity, you should really think about upgrading your child’s phone— not for aesthetic purposes, but for all of the features it provides. For starters, your child will now have access to an array of study and subject apps that can help him or her excel in class. Newer smart phones come equipped with superior cameras. And of course they have GPS—something your child will cherish and depend on if he or she is moving away to a foreign city for college.
Other gadgets to consider: a new MP3 player or even an iPad/tablet—especially for those wanting to save on textbook costs.
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Samantha Gray is a freelance writer based in Houston, Texas, who offers college advice to those interested in furthering their studies and careers. She can be reached for questions or comments at email@example.com