To go to college? Here’s why you don’t have to buy a MacBook to be a proper student.
Congratulations! You have the grades you need to take the next step and go to college or university. Chances are you’ve been busy preparing for the big campus move by buying everything you need.
If you haven’t started already, don’t worry, we did the hard work and found the best back to the school offers (Click here if you live in the UK). When you arrive on campus, you will notice a sea of glowing apples. Granted, that doesn’t happen that often these days as Apple ditched the backlit logo, but you get the idea.
You’ll see lots of MacBooks in classrooms and feel the FOMO-esque temptation to get your own. But take it from me, don’t do it! Yes, the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro are fantastic laptops, but you really don’t have to spend that much on a notebook to get through school and your first full-time job.
Speak from personal experience …
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)
Here was my whole pride: the plastic MacBook. It was a damn good laptop with decent battery life, good durability, and a nice keyboard. The specifications included a 2.4 GHz Intel Core Duo CPU, 2 GB RAM and a 250 GB HDD. When I think back to those days while I was working hard on my flash M1 MacBook Pro makes me feel ancient! Oh and yes, despite my advice in this comment, I currently own and love my MacBook.
Most people who pick up a MacBook do so for two reasons: it was the de facto choice for creative professionals, and they were drawn to the bright logo and simplicity of macOS.
But what did I use mine for? Typing essays, going through Spotify and YouTube rabbit holes. I could have done this on laptops that were a fraction of the price, and even after I finally taught myself to use Photoshop, working on the Adobe app didn’t require the most expensive notebook – cheaper options would have been perfectly fine.
Still, I had to buy one. I fell for marketing. I collapsed under peer pressure. The 10% student discount was more tempting than the price, and of course I’ve had a lot of fun with it over the years, but the purchase flushed my bank account and kept me permanently in my overdraft, compounded by Freshers’ Week and the week ahead Rush of nights.
(Photo credit: Jason England)
Most of you are likely to have jobs identical to mine or, if you need a little more, access to machines on campus with the necessary electricity. Aside from paying off the university loan, it took me a long time to get my finances back into the black after paying off the bite.
While choosing the right laptop is important for every student, it doesn’t mean you have to pay for a laptop beyond what you actually need.
What would I recommend instead?
Good question! I can’t just tell you not to buy a MacBook and then give you no buy recommendations. If you live in the UK I have a list of them The best laptop deals for back to school.
And yes, there are two MacBooks on this list. You deserve the freedom to choose one when you have the money to afford one or when you have use cases beyond what a cheaper laptop can do.
(Image credit: Laptop Mag)
But if I had to get out of it best college laptops As for myself, you could get away with a decent Chromebook for the bare minimums. On the Windows side, HP Envy 13 or Envy x360 13 are ideal options when you need an ultra-portable device with versatility.
My advice? Do not do it
What I am saying here comes from my personal experience. For others, even some Laptop Mag employees, these alternative laptop recommendations may look different. And of course, many people absolutely loved their time with a MacBook over the years in education, and that’s absolutely fine!
But most of the people who go to college are on a budget. There is lots of fun to be had during your college or university time, and much of that fun requires money – from dinners with friends to club nights. You don’t have to follow the herd and waste all that money on an Apple laptop unless you can seriously prove you need one. If you decide to do something else, do not burden your bank balance any more than in student life.
So take my advice on three things. Smoking a pipe doesn’t make you the most interesting guy in the smoking area, it makes you look like an idiot; If someone is attracted to you, they will not care about your braces, which you should wear as a token of pride; and a MacBook isn’t essential for a fulfilling student experience.