Which laptop to buy daughter for college?

strayerdarbMay 6, 2014

Hello, I need some help figuring out what to get my daughter for college. She'll be a music composition major and also getting at least a minor in business.

Recently she had to audition for a scholarship which meant presenting her work. She gave the judges printed scores, but also had to figure out the best way to let the judges see/hear the works. One was a piece for a ballet so she wanted them to see and hear that one. One was a live performance of someone singing an art song so she wanted them to see and hear that one too. And one was just a recorded piano piece, not video.

She borrowed a friend's tablet and presented the pieces that way. It was really effective. The judges could see everything well and the sound was good without having to have an external speaker. If there had been a bunch of judges or an audience she would have needed a projector and speakers, but they were close together so it worked well.

She's about to leave for college, and I think this kind of small group setting is going to happen a lot such as in weekly composer forums, and when she has to present her work to pass juries every semester.

At the same time she needs a laptop that can do all the other things she'll need to do such as English papers and such. She doesn't want a tablet, but if there was a laptop that was sort of like a tablet but also had a keyboard (maybe one that can either fold away or be removed?) and had the power and storage of a regular laptop that would be great. I could see her using it with the keyboard for a lot of things, but for presenting, I could see her using it more like a tablet.

I'm not that familiar with what's on the market these days. I'm still using a very very old laptop and it's fine for me. But I'd hate to carry this around. I am hoping there are some good choices that aren't that heavy.

For her actual intense composition work she's got her studio set-up which she really won't be able to bring to campus until the second year when she has a student apartment and there is more room than a dorm.

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If you're able to talk with faculty or other students in the department she'll be attending I'll bet you'll quickly learn what's best. I have little doubt such an environment involves frequent sharing and presenting and she'll surely want to be able to participate fully.....which, to some extent, will mean wanting to have a device like everyone else's.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2014 at 6:50PM
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Yes, need to discus with the school she'll attend. Some schools require the students purchase computers from them as the computers are pre-loaded with the school's preferred software.

And some schools give good discounts if you purchase from them.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 1:20AM
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Checking with the school or the major department (to see if there is a specific reason for or against a particular choice) is a good idea.

My own family's experiences, which includes a total of 6 undergrad and grad program starts, was that

1) Not surprisingly, all schools and programs could accommodate and provide tech support for both Mac and Windows machines. All 6 could provide software either for free or with heavy discounts and left the choice of flavor up to the student with no specific recommendation, and

2) While all schools offered "special pricing" for purchases from the school/student store, none required it. None of the school "deals" we encountered were ever particularly competitive, I was always able to get more value for money from normal sources.

I wouldn't be surprised if there were some photo/graphics or art programs that may be Mac only. You'll learn if one of those special situations applies by asking.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 2:39AM
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My son graduated from RIT last spring and he just needed a normal laptop. Any of the CAD programs he needed they had on laptops in class to use. I asked all this when we took the grand tour to make sure. The college will answer any of that stuff when you take the tour. I wrote a notebook of stuff ahead of time I wanted to ask so I was prepared. Most of his books he was able to buy as downloads so that saved a lot of money. Mary .

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 11:43AM
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