Exams are over. Prom has come and gone. Now your baby is all grown up and graduating high school. So what does your free-loading son or daughter need to survive post-secondary education when it comes to computers?

1. Laptop

Most students now are leaning towards laptops for their obvious portability. Whether a group study session in the local Starbucks or taking notes in class, laptops are the most popular. We recommend ASUS laptops with 500GB hard drive, Intel i5 processor, and 4 GB of memory.  Our ASUS laptops come standard with a built-in webcam so that your baby can Skype you when they run out of money. Now you may see Best Buy toting less expensive notebooks, but this is yet another case of “you get what you pay for”. More often then not we see Acer, Gateway and “E Machine” laptops bite the dust a year after their purchase with only a limited warrenty.  Our laptops will last your grad all the way through school with FULL 3 year warranties. Even if it gets accidentally dropped, you’re covered.

If your grad is of the “Apple” persuasion and are heading for a career in design, then there’s good news for your wallet: Mac offers student discount programs.

2. Dropbox

Dropbox is a free service that lets you bring your photos, docs, and videos anywhere and share them easily. You can always get more free space if you have lots of data too; Dropbox offers lots of ways to add on space simply by exclaiming your love for them on Facebook or Twitter.  This awesome service has saved me from a stolen laptop, many apartment moves and sticky-fingered roommates who “borrowed” my USB key.  For more info watch the video: https://www.dropbox.com/

3. Antivirus & AntiSpyware Programs

If you have a computer, then you need an antivirus and anti spyware program. ‘nuf said. Check out Gimme Shelter for more information.

4. Peripherals 

A wireless mouse is always a good idea with a laptop. Prof’s still like you to hand in physical sheets of paper when your project is due, so your grad will need a printer as well. Ink can get expensive fast so research what type of ink your printer will need and the re-occurring costs. If you can get it on campus or if there’s an office supply store that offers student discounts, bonus. External hard drives are popular with students as well, but if they use Dropbox there’s no risk of forgetting to backup your data or any physical damage to the actual drive should it get dropped as well.

5. Software

Many different post-secondary programs will require their students to purchase specific software. This should be researched before making any purchases to see if there are any required hardware specs (Processor, RAM, Disk Drives, etc.). The most standard program is Microsoft Office which includes Excel, Word and Powerpoint and Adobe Creative Cloud. Now you have the option of purchasing the entire license once, or subscribing to “Software as a Service” which allows you to pay a less expensive monthly fee and have the latest & most up to date version. This is obviously easier to budget than forking over a huge chunk of change for a one-time license.

If you have any questions or comments, you know where to find us. Stop by the shop at 62 Maple Ave, post a comment below, send me an email [kait@mysolidstate.ca] or a tweet us @mysolidstate.