Were you embarrassed by the flip phone you carried around last semester? Struggled with a cheap laptop that always seemed to lose power at the most inopportune times? Well this year is going to be different.
As you head back to college this year, there are a few things you can do to stay up-to-date with the latest tech trends without breaking the bank. With a few simple tweaks in your lifestyle and a few more resources at your fingertips, college, at least technology-wise, will be a breeze.
- Take Advantage of Student Discounts
Apple, Microsoft, Barnes & Noble, Amazon and more all offer major discounts to students. Apple offers a brilliant student package while Amazon lets students use Amazon Prime for free! Take advantage of these discounts to score deals on the best technology gadgets including laptops, tablets, phones, external hard drives and more.
There will never be a time when so many tech discounts are offered to you (except maybe in the military), so use them while you can!
- Compile a List of Tech Resources for Your Gadgets
At some point or another, one or more of your tech gadgets is going to have a breakdown. There will be viruses, flickering screens or complete shutdowns all together that could greatly hinder your ability to succeed in class. Take the time, before school starts, to compile a list of technical resources, such as websites or hotlines, that can help with your device-specific questions and concerns.
While Google is a great overall search engine, knowing exactly which websites will offer the most help will save a lot of time and frustration when you are on a deadline.
- Rent or Buy Digital Textbooks
With the practically infinite amount of resources online, it is highly likely that you will find the textbook you need online or in a digital format. Many companies including Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble offer textbook rental programs. Also, don’t forget about the trusty public library e-books section!
Once you’ve tracked down the book, use apps such as iBooks, Kindle or Google Play Books to access the book and download it directly to your tablet, phone or computer.
- Purchase an External Hard Drive
Everyone is jumping on the cloud bandwagon, and while the overall concept is great, it never hurts to have a physical backup of absolutely everything just in case. We recommend buying a 1 or 2 terabyte drive as this will get you the most bang for your buck. But if you prefer the more economical route in terms of space, having a numerous amount of USB drives is helpful too.
- Search for Free Software
Microsoft Office and the Adobe Suite is extremely expensive software, especially on a tight college budget. Before you jump back into the lecture hall, shop around for free alternative software that still gets the job done without having to spend next week’s food budget.
A great place to start the search is by inputting “open source” in a search engine. This will give you access to companies who offer their software for free and for the greater benefit of giving everyone the ability to accomplish tasks on a budget.
So whether you are attending school on campus or participating in GW online, be smart about what technology you decide to use this year.