Computers and laptops were once simply a useful commodity for college students, but today, they are absolutely essential. If you are about to start an online degree in operations management, you’re going to need a laptop to be able to study, attend virtual lectures, access learning materials, submit assignments, and more.
As the learning environment moves more online than offline, students are in greater need of reliable, trustworthy laptops that they can use throughout the years that they are studying for their degree. But many students are still relying on older laptops that are more likely to run into issues, and lower-income students might struggle to afford one at all.
Not having a laptop can be a major problem when you are taking your degree online. You might be able to use computers provided at a public library or an internet cafe, but this isn’t always the most convenient option.
Before you start your online operations management degree, getting a laptop is an investment that you probably can’t escape. And, buying a potentially expensive new device can be daunting; you might have many questions, like what is the best option for your program? What laptops are good for students on a budget? Which technical specifications should you look for? Which brand of laptop is best?
In order to pick the best option for you, carefully weigh up factors such as price and performance. Also consider things like the physical weight, battery life, whether or not it has a webcam, and whether it’s ideal for using outside of college study, such as for listening to music or streaming TV shows. We’ve put together some tips and tricks to help you find the right laptop for you.
Top Features and Specs to Look Out For
Processing Power: The processor controls how quickly a laptop can run programs or complete tasks. A faster processing speed often leads to a more expensive laptop, but paying the extra can be worth it since you can be sure that your device will be more efficient. Processing speed is one of the key specifications to consider when purchasing a laptop. You should also consider the RAM (memory), as the more there is, the more your laptop will be able to handle.
Third-Party Applications: You will usually need to find a laptop that can be used to download and install outside applications. As part of your college degree studies, you might need to download a range of applications to help you learn and complete assignments. Google Chromebooks are a cheap, efficient and easy to use option, which makes them attractive to college students, but they come with a downside – you’re unable to install any software that isn’t available on Google’s online store. If you’re considering a Chromebook, it’s worth finding out first if you are going to be able to get all the software that you need.
Your College’s Requirements: Most of the time, students will be free to choose whichever laptop is the most suitable for them. However, it’s worth double-checking if your college degree requires your laptop to fit certain specifications, or if it’s easier to use one platform over another due to the kind of technical support that your college provides. Requirements may also vary between subjects; for example, as an operations management degree student, you probably won’t need as powerful a graphics card as students majoring in film or design.
How to Get Discounts on Your New Laptop
Student Discount: Perhaps the easiest way to get a discount on your new laptop is to use your status as a student to take advantage of any discounts that are available to you. You can usually do this from as soon as you are enrolled in the program; there are apps that you can sign up to once you have a university email address to verify your student status and provide you with access to discounts on a range of different products. Click here to find out more about studying operations management and enrol as soon as possible so that you’ve got time to shop around for your new laptop at a discount in time for the semester beginning.
Campus Bookstore Discounts: It’s not uncommon for campus bookstores to offer seasonal discounts on new computers, and depending on the laptop that you choose, a 10% discount could amount to some big savings. Get in touch with the campus bookstore at your college and ask if any discounts are available on laptops. If you are studying online and unable to get to the bookstore in-person, most will have an eCommerce store that you can use as a student in order to pay for your new laptop online. But don’t jump to buying a laptop simply because there is a discount available; shop around and figure out if it’s actually cheaper to buy here as you might find that you can get a better deal from retailers with your student discount applied.
Buy Used or Refurbished: Finally, don’t think that you have to purchase a brand-new computer. In fact, manufacturer refurbished laptops can mean you get a great computer at a hefty discount, and usually, they look and perform just as well as brand new. Check out refurbished products at manufacturer websites so that you know they have been restored to a high quality and come with a warranty should anything go wrong.
Other Options to Consider
Don’t think that you have to get the latest laptop release as an operations management student; in fact, some brands like Apple make such reliable, long-lasting products that you can easily purchase a model from a few years ago that will serve you well. You might also want to consider purchasing your laptop with a financing plan if it is too expensive for you to pay all at once. Not only will this help you spread the cost, but if you make payments on time each month, it will benefit your credit score too.
The laptop you choose for your operational management degree studies will affect everything from studying to writing essays, so keep these tips in mind and choose wisely.