If you’re the right age to have children bound for college, it’s likely you remember quite a different high school or college experience than kids today. Instead of books, notepads, and folders, today’s students often need materials a little more modern. Tech is pretty much essential for a student to survive and the right tech can make getting those high grades a little easier than it used to be.
Here are some devices that can give the modern college student the edge they need:
Chances are good any given student has one of these anyway. They make for handy GPS navigators, cameras, note taking devices, recorders – and they can be used to make phone calls, as well. But the most important thing about a smartphone is not what it is, but rather what’s in it.
Apps like Grubhub mean food on delivery, for when the college cafeteria is just not available. Don’t have a car? Uber is just a few screen touches away in most locations. A dictation app can allow you not only to record spoken speech, but to transliterate it into writing – instant notes!
This has many of the same functions of a smartphone, but its larger size gives it more options. In the past, more than one class during the day meant carrying around a number of thick, heavy books. Today, it’s easy to rent most texts at relatively low cost and have them available on a tablet. It’s every book on the syllabus, in a package that weighs less than 2 pounds.
On the student’s downtime, it’s perfect for streaming movies or TV shows, browsing the net, or playing games. And naturally, they can use it to call home via Facetime, Skype, or some other video chat app, depending upon the tablet being used.
3. OtterBox Charging Case
A college student with a smartphone is probably going to drop that phone at least once. There’s a lot of moving from class to class across very large campuses. Phones get knocked off desks, dropped down stairs, or even stepped on. Often, these devices have a student’s entire life on them, from photos to contact numbers to appointments.
Something like an Otterbox charging case is the perfect accessory for the phone-toting college student. Not only does it protect the phone from inevitable bangs and dings that would otherwise crack the screen, it gives the battery extra life for those days when there’s a full class load and no time for the charger.
4. Scientific Calculator
This is an old one, actually, but still a good one. It’s likely there’s an app to simulate it on any smartphone. Whatever the case, it’s always good to have one around, even if your kid happens to be a math genius. This can handle all the trig functions and advanced calculations that would make a regular calculator choke.
Access to the internet is a very important part of the study process, but sometimes college access isn’t all that reliable. Not every student has the time to hang out at Starbucks or some other place with free access, and not every place has accessible Wi-Fi. This is where MiFi comes in, allowing a student to take the internet with them wherever they go.
These ultra-portable devices come with a month-to-month service plan, just as with a phone. They also come with touch screens, so you can not only configure them, but so whoever is using it can know how close they are to their monthly limit.
Everyone’s getting them, and it’s not only for more mature people trying to regain their youthful shapes. The dreaded “freshman 15” is no myth, and the chaotic lifestyle (and eating habits!) of the average college student can really take their toll. A Fitbit will help keep a student’s general fitness under control. (And it also comes with a silent alarm, which is something their dorm mates will really appreciate.)
7. External Hard Drive
No data is perfectly safe from corruption or accidents, which is why a place to back it up is so important. An external hard drive is a convenient way to back up all the research and notes that are sure to be needed later. 2TB options are relatively cheap right now, with the prices on higher volume drives dropping steadily.
A USB drive can do, if the amount of information that needs to be stored is relatively small, but these are growing in capacity year by year.
8. Digital Photo Frame
Homesickness is also a part of the college experience, especially for those students on their first year away from home. A digital photo frame can go a long way toward relieving that. A digital picture frame with wireless capacity can even update with new pictures from home, allowing the student a view of what he or she has to come back to at the next break.
Naturally, this can work both ways. Parents and loved ones back home can have their own frame to see whatever snippets of college life and new friends their student wishes to send along.