It’s nearly the most glorious time of year. As summer blends into fall, we parents get to send our kids back to school. This release of our offspring into the brick-and-steel fortresses of higher education comes with a sigh and a lot of cheering in the inside.
The silent celebration aside, your child is going to need some new back-to-school technology and appliances to help them to keep pace with the speed of education in the 21st century. From laptops and tablets to mini-fridges and musical equipment, student requirements have changed.
While a high school student’s needs are often limited to a working laptop, college-bound kids are going to need a bit more than that—whether they live in a dorm or an apartment. As I prepare to send one of my own off to college (at the same time that another one returns), the following items are a solid shopping list for back-to-school and home appliances.
HP Pavilion X360 Convertible 15-Inch Laptop
One of the first things my son asked for was a new laptop. While he’s got a functioning model, for the program he’s going into, he’s going to need something with a bit more juice, like this HP Pavilion X360 Convertible 15-Inch Laptop. It’s under $800 with 8GB DDR SDRAM (Double Data Rate Synchronous Dynamic Random-Access Memory), which isn’t the fastest on the market, but certainly fast enough for his needs and a step up from the 2GB he’s running now. With dual drives including a 128GB SSD (and a 1TB SATA drive), it has the storage space to fill up with all the music and film he’ll be producing. It’s also convertible, which means it has a touchscreen and hinges that flip it over into a notepad-style workstation.
Keurig K-Mini Single Serve Coffee Maker
One thing is certain as you send your child off to college: they are about to become a caffeine addict. Late-night studying (or partying) and early mornings will create a bleary-eyed monster if not properly caffeinated. You could order them a case of Monster Energy, or do the right thing and buy them a coffee maker, like this Keurig K-Mini. The Keurig K-Mini is designed for dorm rooms and college students on the go. It’s less than 5 inches wide so it will fit even in the most compact spaces, like on a stack of books or on top of a mini fridge. It also fits travel mugs, which is a key feature for the college student who doesn’t have time to sit and sip. And it’s a pod machine, which means K-Cup podswill have to be on the shopping list, but it’s a lot more efficient—and cheaper—than buying coffee by the cup every day.
Kuppet Retro Mini Refrigerator
Speaking of mini fridges, your dorm-bound child will probably need one of those. I’ve already posted a list of some of the best mini- refrigerators, but then I found the Kuppet Retro Mini Refrigerator. As long as you’re buying something functional, why not work in some style as well? The Kuppet Retro Mini Refrigerator has 3.2 cubic feet of storage, which is all one really needs for a college room in a facility that offers three meals a day with a meal plan. It has retro chrome handles and both a freezer and fridge. It also runs quiet, and rare for a mini fridge, it has interior LED lighting for the inevitable late-night snack—or munchies.
USB Flash Drives
More and more professors are asking for assignments turned in on flash drives. While some return them, the expectation is that your student is going to need a pile of USB flash drives throughout the year. While you could buy them one-by-one as needed, it’s much easier to buy in some bulk. These Vicfun 8GB flash drives should do the trick. Sure, you’re inclined to wonder about the brand, but flash drives are not exactly complex technology in the grand scheme of things. These are basic flash drives for simple stuff like transporting Word documents and PowerPoint presentations. You don’t need to pay a premium for a brand you’ve heard of when it comes to flash drives. This is a ten-pack for $27.
BESTEK Power Strip Tower
My son is heading off to college with the following things that need to be plugged in: a television, a laptop, a keyboard, an amplifier, an Xbox, his phone, his vape (save your pearl-clutching for another day), a Keurig coffee maker—and who knows what else? The point is, between him and his roommate, how many outlets are available in the room? Probably one or two. Which is why I’m getting him this Bestek Power Strip Tower. Despite the name, it’s not just a power strip, it’s a surge protector, in case someone else on the floor trips the circuit. It has six USB ports along with eight outlets, so can handle all the devices. And because it’s a tower instead of a strip, it can be placed where it’s needed instead of just thrown on the floor to be tripped over and stepped on.
Samsung SSD 860 EVO
This is either a no-brainer or something you just haven’t thought of yet. College is a great time for the next generation of office drones to start getting in the habit of backing up their work. External solid-state drives are coming down in price, like this Samsung SSD drive.
The 1TB version is only $129.99, which should be enough space for any student to make sure they don’t lose any work. While it might not suffice for everything your kid is downloading (hopefully through a VPN) at college, it does come in a 2TB and 4TB version, but the price jumps exponentially for both. A 1TB SSD external drive is almost a necessity in a time when Windows updates themselves have the potential to brick a laptop.