Going back to college can be a difficult process. Purchasing school supplies and equipment to help with school work can be a very difficult process. Getting the right gear can be a big help for going back to college.
1. Mouse : Even for those who own a laptop, an external mouse is and excellent idea for school. External mice are easier to use and more reliable than finger pads and pointing sticks. They also require the student to sit at a desk and sit up straight instead of lounging on a couch while doing homework, which is never a good idea.
2. All-in one printer : Printer ink may be expensive today, but it is difficult to deny the convenience and versatility of modern printers. Printer malfunctions on shared printers are very common, and teachers are becoming less tolerant of printer malfunctions as an excuse for a late paper. Students who have their own printer can often avoid long lines, high costs, and malfunctions common on shared printers. Also, many printers can work as fax machines, scanners, and copiers. Having these tools conveniently at their disposal helps many students.
3. Backpacks : This is a very common and essential piece of gear students own, but there are many more options available than just color choices. Many backpacks now come with reinforced compartments for laptops, some come with security devices to prevent theft, and others have solar panels and charge removable battery packs when exposed to sunlight. Finding the right backpack is a choice that students going back to college should not take lightly.
4. Cooling Pads : Laptops are amazing tools for college students, but the can overheat with extended use. This can even prove a burn risk for those who rest their laptop on their laps. Cooling pads are a good answer to this problem, often powered by plugging into a usb port and providing extra fans to keep the computer from overheating.
5. External Hard Drive : It's critical to keep a back up of your files. Laptops can be easily stolen, computers can crash, and files may be lost or deleted by accident. Keeping a backup of your most important files on an external hard drive can be a student's best friend. Also keeping large files such as video clips on a hard drive can free up memory on a computer ensuring better performance.
6. USB Memory : Sometimes files need to be transferred from one computer to another, and are too large for transfer by e-mail. USB memory, most often known as flash drives, are a quick way to transfer files. In a classroom setting they are indispensable, as many professors may not allow students to attach laptops to projection equipment for presentations but allow flash drives to be inserted into the classroom computer. These drives come in many forms, most are small "sticks" that can be kept in a pocket or purse, but some come in more unique forms, such as key shaped memory designed to go on a key ring, or bracelets and watches that house detachable USB memory.
7. USB Hubs : USB devices have quickly become the standard in today's computing world. Keyboards, mice, webcams, even phones connect to computers through USB ports. Often, the number of devices outnumbers the ports on a computer, or the ports are located in inconvenient places on a computer making quick attaching and detaching of USB devices difficult. To solve this problem there are USB Hubs, these can turn one usb port into many more ports and the hubs can often be placed in convenient locations. Sometimes computer desks have USB hubs built into the desks.
8. Portable Power : Those who use their laptops to take notes in class can often find it difficult to go through and entire day of classes without having to recharge their computer's batteries. A computer that runs out of power in the middle of class can mean lost notes, or the student will not be able to take notes if they quite exclusively on their laptop and do not bring a notebook to class. Portable power packs can allow an alternative to fighting for the few spots in the classroom that have access to a power outlet.
9. Laptop Locks : Laptops are clearly one of the most important tools a student can have when they go back to college. Unfortunately, laptops are an easy target for thieves, waiting for that one moment you are not looking or turned around to run off with your computer. Laptop Locks are important tools in preventing this kind of theft. They are designed to attach a laptop to a table and make quick theft much more difficult and they typically cost under $ 100.
10. Apple Converters : If you own an apple laptop, this is the one accessory you should not be without. Most projectors do not have cables that can attach to an apple laptop, but there are apple approved adapters and cables that will allow apple computers to interface with these devices. It is a small white cable that attaches to a laptop then attaches to a projector cable. If you have an apple laptop, or are planning on buying one for when you go back to college, get one of these adapters. In fact, get two or three, put them in your backpack, your purse, laptop bag, wherever. It's amazing how often these adapters are needed in college classrooms.
Accessories and gear can not make a bad student a good one. They can however, make the life of a good student going back to college much easier and the college experience much more enjoyable.