What Do I Need To Participate In An Online College?

One of the most important aspects of attending school online is owning a good computer, which you’ll use for homework, completing assignments, attending virtual lectures and communicating with your classmates and professors. But you probably have questions when it comes to technology. Is there a better computer for online students? What type of computer should you get? Here are some tips for choosing the right computer to attend an online school.

Laptop vs. Desktop

Before you start debating over specific features, you’ll need to decide on a laptop versus a traditional desktop. Both offer advantages, and the kind you choose depends on your budget and needs. With laptops, you’re not confined to a single space and can work on your assignments virtually anywhere. They also tend to be cheaper now than desktops simply because a desktop includes the tower and monitor whereas a laptop is an all-in-one device.

Many students choose laptops over desktops because of the mobility and versatility, but if you plan to attend your online classes and complete assignments largely at home, then a desktop offers some benefits. They generally house more internal memory and can be customized more easily than a laptop. Performance-wise, desktops run more efficiently, and if they break down, you’re more likely to find an inexpensive repair solution than if you laptop dies.

Portability and Mobile Access

If you decide to buy a laptop, then you need to think about its functionality. While all laptops can be carried wherever you go, not all laptops are created equal. Laptops World, a blog dedicated to outlining the best laptops on the market, offers a list of the best laptops for 2014. As an online student, you’ll probably appreciate having the versatility of a laptop. Many models these days come with a large amount of storage, which you’ll need to complete homework and save files. Plus, their internal processors run more efficiently now than they did years ago, which means you can count on them to last longer.

Software to Consider

The computer you choose needs to come with the appropriate software for your online program. For instance, those majoring in accounting online will need a computer that can handle extensive financial software. You don’t have to purchase large word processing suites to attend an online school, but your laptop or desktop should be capable of running complex software especially as your degree program progresses.

Extra Features and Add-Ons

Many people choose to sacrifice extras to save money when it comes to buying a computer. As a student who will be attending an online program, you’ll need to splurge a little on extra features. At the least, you’ll need a quality webcam and a few external drive plug-ins. Because you’ll be attending virtual lectures, a quality webcam is essential so that you don’t miss out on key information. Extra drives for things like USB cables and external hard drives will come in handy when you need to transfer important files between computers.

In 2009, The New York Times reported that students who participate in online education perform better than those who attend traditional schools. The story was based on a study conducted on behalf of the U.S. Department of Education, and it shows the growing trend in online education around the world. If you’re interested in jumping aboard the online education bandwagon, then you’ll need a quality computer to get started.