Is a laptop necessary for college?

Discussion in 'MacBook Pro' started by UnknownMacNoob, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. UnknownMacNoob macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    I'm starting college in the fall and I just wanted to know if it was a necessity to get a laptop. I originally planned on getting the 24" iMac 2.93 Ghz because refurbished it is 1550 and I don't want to spend more money on a laptop I possibly don't need. But lately I have been noticing friends/classmates are all getting laptops. Not knowing exactly what I should expect in college I'm wondering, will laptops be a necessity or just make things a little easier?
    I'll be going to community college and its not far from my house at all so if need I could just use my iMac (if I got it).

    Sorry for the retarded question and I didn't know where else to ask.
  2. spaceballl macrumors 68030


    Nov 2, 2003
    San Francisco, CA
    When I started college in 2001, pretty much nobody had laptops. Everyone came with their brand new desktops and that was that. By the time I graduated, pretty much everyone had laptops. People took them to class, the library, etc.

    I graduated four years ago - I'm sure pretty much nobody brings a desktop.

    And as a former college student, I'd recommend the laptop.
  3. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I found it useful most of the time. It also allowed me to study anywhere, take notes, etc etc. There was still a need for pen and paper, but the laptop did wonders.
    I would highly recommend a laptop, a external display for when you're "home", and keyboard and mouse combo for the "docking" of your mac.

    To spaceball's point, as an undergrad I saw fewer laptops than I did as a grad student. This was in 2006-2008 (grad school).
  4. UnknownMacNoob thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    I was gonna use to iMac for video editing (large screen and fast processor/4gigs of RAM) and use my PC for internet, Word and crap like that (I can't edit or anything on this POS cause its a crappy emachine).
    But it seems like I should suck it up and save more. Thanks for the fast responses.
  5. ppilone macrumors 6502

    Jan 20, 2008
    IHMO I'd say that a laptop is definitely the way to go. I'll be a senior this fall ( go Hokies! :D ) and a laptop is pretty much de facto now. The only time I see a desktop anymore is those that use them for server and media center purposes (me included).

    Its still a personal preference (unless your major requires it) but if you ever plan on doing work outside of your room (this includes group projects) or plan on following lectures online you should go with a laptop.
  6. miles01110 macrumors Core


    Jul 24, 2006
    The Ivory Tower (I'm not coming down)
    Depending on how far you have to travel to college, transporting an iMac can be a real pain.
  7. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    Well wait, if you have a PC laptop to use in college for word processing and such that should suffice. That wasn't known at the time. The iMac may suit your needs better then. College ... internet, word processing (excel may also be needed and probably powerpoint), and what else? e-mail? heck, an iMac with a netbook would suffice for your needs.
  8. UnknownMacNoob thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    O I wasnt planning on lugging the iMac around, it was gonna stay at my house. I was just saying if I needed a laptop or could just deal with pen and paper for the first 2 years and be alright. I own a desktop currently, no laptop at all.
  9. spillproof macrumors 68020


    Jun 4, 2009
    It really depends. I say yes because I'm going to be a sophomore this August and they are everywhere! You can take your laptop to class to take notes, go to the library or other place to study alone or with a group, watch a movie in bed, use your computer anywhere is the basis of what I'm saying. You don't want to be tied down to your room or crowed library computer centers to use a computer do you? Laptops are the way to go for college students. Your school should have a computer store. Check the website or call because they give great discounts on new laptops to students. As far as size, 13 or 15 inch. (PS get a Mac)
  10. H$R macrumors 6502


    Apr 1, 2008
    I use my MacBook as my main (and only) machine. So I take it to classes if it's useful to have internet and word processing and I leave it at home if I won't need it at home.

    Though I realised, that last semester I used it much more often at school as this semester. But it really depends on what your studying.
    Oh yeah, I study civil engineering.

    My sister for example doesn't use a computer all day until she gets home and she's studying economics.

    Sometimes it's really useful. I know other people who have a desktop at home and take a netbook to classes for just the basic stuff.
  11. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    at least at my uni, about 99% have laptops for 3 main reasons:

    1. you can take your computer to class/the library/etc
    2. when you go home for the summer, etc it is a lot easier to just bring it on the plane than try to transport everything home
    3. takes up less space than a desktop in a small dorm

    you can use a desktop, but laptops are more practical
  12. buckeye17 macrumors member

    Jun 11, 2008
    I'm in my 4th year of mechanical engineering at Ohio State and the most laptops in a class at one time that I've ever seen is one. One laptop.
  13. UnknownMacNoob thread starter macrumors member

    Jun 10, 2009
    Its stuff like that that makes me wonder if I actually NEED it. I didn't explain it well enough (sorry guys), I just want to know if I can get by without it until I get out of community college.

    Sorry for being retarded but thanks for quick/helping information guys!
  14. spillproof macrumors 68020


    Jun 4, 2009
    You do not NEED it, but will all your gen eds and making new friends your first year, it would be BETTER if you had a laptop rather than a desktop.
  15. Freyqq macrumors 601

    Dec 13, 2004
    depends on your major. A math major, for instance, would have no reason to bring a laptop. A history or political science major, on the other hand, would be able to actually take notes with a laptop due to the nature of the material.
  16. cu2010 macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2009
    new york city
    laugh a lot!

    well, i don't live in a dorm but still frequently carry my 15" to school, because 1) computer labs on campus are often full.
    2) sometimes i desperately want to stay connected with the rest of the world. while i'm away from home, that is.
    3) can do last-minute homework anywhere
    4) it's the best way to kill time in a boring lecture
    5) even watch a dvd, time permitting

    you don't see many students using laptops in calculus or german as opposed to in comp. science, for instance. some take notes in history, philosophy, etc.

    that said, it's not necessary at all, so long as you have a computer at home.
    i'm a rising senior but had never used my laptop at college until last semester.
    i bet almost everyone living on campus has laptops in their rooms, but the majority of people don't bring them to classes every day.
  17. macDonalds macrumors 6502

    Jun 8, 2007
    I was in college 99-02 and we all had desktops. If I was in college today I would defintely be using a laptop.

    Laptops have come a long way in 10 years. They're much more reliable, portable, and affordable.
  18. rwilliams macrumors 68040


    Apr 8, 2009
    Raleigh, NC
    Times have definitely changed. I started college in 1995, and nearly everybody used the campus computer labs (95% of the labs had Sun machines running Solaris, and the other 5% were Windows 95 labs). Those that did bring computers all had desktops. My ex had an all-in-one Mac that crashed all the time.

    I bought my first computer, a CTX laptop, in 1999. That beauty had a massive 2 GB hard drive, 24 MB of RAM, ran Windows 98, and was a CHAMP. To this day, I'll never understand how I made it on a machine like that, but it handled web browsing, Napster downloads, programming, Microsoft Office, etc. all without a hiccup. To me, it's a little odd to see every student bringing laptops to campus (or being issued laptops, as is the case here at the college I work for), but we've come a long ways since the mid-90's.
  19. wingnut8 macrumors 65816


    Jun 8, 2007
  20. juanster macrumors 68020


    Mar 2, 2007
    I think it also depends on the program you are taking...some programs you will definitely need a laptop most you wont NEED one...but it would make your life ohhhh so much easier...
  21. lixuelai macrumors 6502a

    Oct 29, 2008
    You can get an iMac and a netbook. Desktop + netbook is a good medium.
  22. King James macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2008
    I originally took a desktop to college when I started in 2006. I very quickly got a macbook and haven't regretted the decision since. From being able to work in the library at areas besides where the university provides computers and taking notes in class (or going on the web if class is boring ;) ) I'd say having a laptop is a great choice to make.
  23. Demosthenes X macrumors 68000

    Demosthenes X

    Oct 21, 2008
    Do you need a notebook? For most courses, no. I do have friends who have been forced to buy specific hardware, e.g., on friend is taking Civil Engineering and had to buy a tablet. But for the most part, no, you do not need a notebook.

    Now, will you appreciate a notebook? I think so. As others have said, they make group projects, note taking, presentations, etc. a lot easier. You can study at the library, or work on assignments between classes, etc.

    That said, I have a notebook and rarely take it to campus, so your mileage may vary.

    I think an iMac + netbook, as another poster suggested, would be a great idea. I would buy the iMac, and then wait a while and see what your needs are like. If you find yourself thinking "Darn, I wish I hate a notebook", you can always buy a cheap netbook later. Win-win.
  24. harcosparky macrumors 68020

    Jan 14, 2008
    My daughter will be starting at a Community College this fall.

    The college is 1.4 miles from the house.

    Originally we were going to get her a 13" Aluminum Macbook, now it looks like it will be a 13" Macbook Pro.

    From what I understand some colleges, and universities are requiring laptops. Heck for that matter we have 2 private High School in the area that require students have a laptop. They have added the cost of the laptop to the tuition so it's not an option. Unless I guess you buy your own.
  25. the vj macrumors 6502a

    Nov 23, 2006
    A laptop is usefull

    It saves space specially when moving and if you have to study or has a problem printing something you can take your laptop with you.

    Now, do not take the laptop to the classroom, that is only a "show of" and is useless, paper and pen.

    Then, you do not need the fastest laptop neither.

    In my experience you are gonna use the Office (Exel, Word), Messenger, Skype, Photoshop and you are gonna be printing things. Then you are gonna have your pictures and music as well.

    And... you do not need the latest and most expensive laptop. When I was studying multimedia back in 1997 I had a Powerbook G3 500 with 8MB of ram... sorry, I had one slower than that one, and I was just fine.

    I believe a 13" mac book pro is just perfect. Today I have 3 12" Powerbooks and 1 17" Mac Book Pro. I bought a 20" screen to the 12" powerbooks because I used to do video editing with them. But for the rest of the thing I was just fine. a 13" or 15" would be perfect specially because for todays needs (unless you are gonna do HD editing) the cheapest Apple computer is way too powerful.

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