Lets just be clear for college students

Discussion in 'iPad' started by macguy360, Apr 4, 2016.

  1. macguy360 macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2011
    If you are a current college student or future college student and you are wondering whether the iPad can replace a laptop as your only device for college, there are a few huge shortcomings you have to be aware of.

    1. Referencing software. The iPad cannot do referencing via zotero, refworks, endnote like a laptop. I believe endnote is available for iPad, but due to the nature of apps not working together like on a full OSX device (i.e. in office zotero has a plugin for doing references) you will not be able to do those things. This is a big deal for anyone needing to write research papers with 20+ references. In the current college environment of writing referenced papers, referencing software is a must.

    2. Statistics Software. There is no SPSS for iPad and probably won't be for a very very long time. If you need to do research and crunch numbers for statistics using legitimate collegiate research software, you will need a laptop.

    3. Math/chemistry Software. Many colleges have math and chemistry classes that require downloading and installing software for completing homework. You will not be able to do your homework using your iPad because this software will not be available on IOS.

    So lets just be clear. All these people spouting off about replacing their laptops with iPads for college are maybe just taking notes, writing english papers, and making power-points. If you think you will be taking a math class, chemistry class, or class that requires research into literature with referencing, do yourself a favor and have a laptop.
  2. EatingApples macrumors member

    Mar 8, 2011
    Very good argument! Kids, pay attention and read OP ;-)
  3. Newtons Apple macrumors Core

    Newtons Apple

    Mar 12, 2014
    Jacksonville, Florida
    I hear many of the schools are "giving away" good grades without hardly trying! So maybe the iPad will do.
  4. hiddenmarkov macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2014


    For some education this stuff can work. I know from science and stats studies one will hit quite a few applications that are CLI based. Cool thing is many can be native to Mac OS CLI if lucky. Or you muck about a little with build/make to install.

    Know what your needs will be really. I have an iPad (mini 4) for use...but tbh they are just where i jot notes down. the work gets done on the MBP later.

    Also OP may I guide you to R to save some cash. One day the student discounts go away....CRAN repo's also say hi. Lots to find there to save time.
  5. macguy360 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2011
    What in the world are you talking about?

    Also, let's be clear. Any college student seeking a Bachelor's of Science/Master's of Science will be taking math and science courses. You cannot take those courses without using math and science software and writing papers with references.
  6. sjleworthy macrumors 65816


    Dec 5, 2008
    Penarth, Wales, UK
  7. hiddenmarkov macrumors 6502a

    Mar 12, 2014

    R, open source statistics program. Gaining in popularity over the years. When some don't want to pay for SAS anymore...R is where many wander to. CRAN is where people submit theory packages for reuse by others in R. They can have the benefit of being well written and tweaked for efficiency over revisions. Running some analysis on bulk data something in CRAN could be what you need to do and does it faster.
  8. Cascades42, Apr 4, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016

    Cascades42 macrumors 6502

    Jan 25, 2016
    That is 100% dependent on your university. At mine we need no special software for the maths courses, the problem sets are PDFs which we can download to do on a tablet (and I do on my iPad Pro), or we can print out. In fact most of my courses are like this. Naturally visual computing needs things like Blender and MATLAB but this is all mentioned in the syllabus for our degree program and all the special software can be used in our computer labs. So for computer science here you absolutely could use just an iPad Pro. (Personally I wouldn't recommend it, but you could do it.)
  9. bensisko macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    Maybe, but there are ALWAYS alternative ways of doing things. Collages have computer labs and where certain software is "required" for a class, there's a computer lab with the required software - this may not always be true, but it has been in any of the colleges/university's I've looked at. Worst case? Get the iPad for your main stuff and buy a cheap PC to do the rest of it.

    I think you raise some good points, and it's always a good idea to check course requirements before registering. I have a hard time thinking that a Liberal Arts college that requires Math and Science would REQUIRE specific software for those level of courses (maybe if you're a Math/Science major...).

    Absolutely agreed.
  10. dannyyankou macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2012
    It's not good if you're taking an accounting class. Income statements require double underlines, which Excel for iPad doesn't have.
  11. bensisko macrumors 65816

    Jul 24, 2002
    The Village
    Depends. If you're an accounting MAJOR, then a Surface Pro or a laptop with Excel is probably better. If you're just taking one class, then there's the computer lab for anything your iPad can't do.
  12. Aluminum213 macrumors 68040


    Mar 16, 2012
    If I'm a college student and had to pick between a macbook air and iPad, i'm suggesting macbook air 10/10 times
  13. stulaw11, Apr 4, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016

    stulaw11 Suspended

    Jan 25, 2012
    If you can only afford 1 device an iPad isn't always the best solution for someone in college. There will always be specialized apps for classes that change every 6 months, and even for taking exam essays that will only run on a Mac/PC. But remember those classes end eventually and you're stuck with what you buy too

    Once in the "real world" you kind of know what capabilities you need for your job/career, or run your own business and get to decide that however you want. So an iPad can in fact be made a primary device.

    if you can afford a cheap laptop for those specific uses and an iPad then case closed. But this is again a very niche exception to the total iPad sales.
  14. dannyyankou macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2012
    Yeah, I guess I could work on my iPad and use Onedrive to open it on a pc for any necessary edits.
  15. lewisd25, Apr 4, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016

    lewisd25 macrumors 6502a

    Jul 6, 2007
    Let's be clear: I've taken gen chem, organic chem, and biochem classes, and not a single class required you to install software. Any homework was done online through the school's ELMS, or through the publisher's website.

    And what ever happened to tracking references the old fashioned way? Why do we need to use software to do something as simple as tracking references? Academic research papers have been written for decades. No one has ever had a problem with keeping references then, why now? I'm a big fan of technology, but this is a little ridiculous. Learning how to properly cite references is a necessity for any professional. Relying on software does not help a student in the long run.
  16. stulaw11 Suspended

    Jan 25, 2012
    Depends on the school and what classes. I know in law school (and the state bar exam) we had to use installed Examsoft for essays; this was only 5-7 years ago. It was a desktop app only as it locked you out of the rest of the computer so you could't cheat or use notes. iPad wouldn't work for that.
  17. Macalway macrumors 68020

    Aug 7, 2013
    I agree with the OP. The iPad is a secondary device for education purposes. Unless you know what you are doing, it could really make things very difficult, needlessly. Make sure your not deceiving yourself due to technolust
  18. stulaw11 Suspended

    Jan 25, 2012
    That depends if you have access to any type of desktop/laptop, even an older one, to do the very few tasks you could only do on a real computer.

    Otherwise, the iPad is just as good for note taking etc that you would do on a laptop though and general usage.
  19. mildocjr macrumors 65816

    I'm going to go off topic for a second then bring it right back.

    First off, I hate high schools using computers, the kids aren't learning anything, especially math.

    Ok, on topic.

    As far as iPads replacing computers in college... I pity whoever tries. College is way to much for an iPad, first you have Statistics, yes this can be handled with 3rd party applications, but holy Jesus those equations are long, I like math, hate statistics.

    When it comes to reports, I'd much rather type up my 25 pager on a computer than on an iPad any day.

    Let's see here, hmm, the only other things I can think of is ethics, psychology, and project management, none of those have solutions for iPad that make iPad valuable to a college education.

    If you are getting ready to go to college for anything other than multimedia, get a Windows PC, otherwise get a Mac. You'll save yourself the money going with a PC when possible and heartache of bringing an iPad to college.

    I'm a Mac, but I cannot justify spending $1200 when all you need is a $350 computer that will handle all of your assignments and have better support for .edu websites. (Spoiler: most .edu sites require ActiveX which is only available in Internet Explorer on Windows)
  20. macguy360 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 23, 2011
    Tracking references the old way by hand? How about we go back to doing math problems by hand without using a calculator. How about we go back to using a typewriter to type up papers instead of using a computer.

    It is important to know how to write references by hand on lower level bachelors classes in which you only write 5-10 references. In upper level college classes with 20-50 references, it would be ludicrous to even consider writing references by hand, especially when it comes to rewriting papers which usually involves reorganizing the order of references as well.

    As to the people who say "Well you can just use the school's computer lab." You do realize that if you are stuck using a computer lab to get your work done, then the iPad has not fulfilled your needs as a personal computer. Then consider that a typical 20k person university has maybe 50-100 computers available and you could get stuck putting your name on a waiting list and spending hours extra of your time just to complete a task that could have been much shorter if you had your own laptop.
  21. fuchsdh macrumors 65816


    Jun 19, 2014

    I have never had a website incompatibility since doing college applications more than a decade ago. IE's stranglehold is long-dead, and if a college hasn't figured that out it's probably a warning to the student. A great deal of college students are going to schools with Macs these days, and they clearly aren't having issues.

    No doubt depending on your options and college requirements you can get a cheaper computer and be fine, but interoperability concerns are highly variable and for the vast majority of people irrelevant.

    As for referencing... writing three or four term papers a year I've never felt like I needed separate reference software. The bigger issue is how you're going to type everything quickly. And like most issues, the web probably obviates the need for standalone software in that regard (plenty of online ref formatters.)
  22. Ghost31 macrumors 68000


    Jun 9, 2015
    Ok I'll bite. And with a question that is sure to get someone replying:

    If there isn't X software for iPad and universities and others know that there are literally hundreds of millions of tablets out there, why don't they...I don't know. Make a tablet version for people to use? Seems almost silly at this point with the ascendancy of tablet computing to be so limiting. But I could be talking out of my butt here

    I can only speak for myself and computer science here, but using an iPad hasn't been a problem for me as most of the work we actually need to do on a computer can be done in a computer lab. Most people wouldn't think it, but most of your lectures and classes are you taking handwritten notes and figuring things out. A computer for a big part of the time is actually not even needed at all. And even then, my work tends to go: use iPad for notes, looking things up, annotating, etc. Then remote into my Mac if I need to do a little coding (or if it's really light, I can use editors on iPad like pythonista or coda) and with larger projects, either remoting into my Mac at home or computer lab works great. So for me and my time, I have been doing just dandy with the iPad.
  23. jamesrick80 macrumors 68020


    Sep 12, 2014
    Are u sure about that? Some students can Google there way out of anything no need for software unless you are doing something like engineering with lots of math...I know I can and I'm working on my doctorate lol....
  24. e93to, Apr 4, 2016
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2016

    e93to macrumors 6502a


    Jan 23, 2015
    Although almost like stating the obvious, OP does have good points...

    I'm engineering student, and I agree there are certain softwares that would be needed for assignments/labs. However, this can be done of school computers, so I don't consider to be an issue. Different courses have different requirements. Even the same CIV classes dedicated to building bridges/structures had different methods - one required computer software while another required actual notebook & pen.

    However, I really recommend notebook computers for university students. Learning environments at uni are not yet optimized for tablets. You will be shuffling between lots of different documents, word processors, etc. for research/assignments/labs, and tablets are not suitable for this. And school portals may not work properly on tablets. This is where you get past exams, new lecture notes, etc. And, more importantly, you also submit assignments and reports through school portal. Again you can submit your reports on school computers, but when deadline is approaching, every second counts, and you won't have time to walk to school computer labs.

    Furthermore, these days iPad tablets cost more than most Windows notebooks at Bestbuy stores (with keyboard AND pencil). You don't want this to be a $1000+ mistake. Also, don't forget certain courses allow written notebooks during tests/exams. These courses require you to buy special notebooks at school stores, and ONLY these notebooks are allowed during tests/exams.

    However, different programs have different approach to learning. But at least for science/applied science, notebooks should be more useful for education.

    EDIT: tablets have one major advantage for engineer students - equation input. Typing up complex equations on computers is a PAIN! But on tablets with stylus, you can just write the equation, and import the image to the word processor.

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