College Prep: 5 Tech Tools an Incoming Freshman will need for 2013

College can be a nerve-racking time for any student, let alone an incoming freshman. An entirely new level of academics in terms of workload and intellectual challenge awaits them as they begin their transition to adulthood.

Today college utilizes a mass of technology some students never even get a chance to use before they enter their first lecture hall. In order to keep pace with the strenuous workload many students should go in prepared with the proper tools to help them succeed. Here is a handful of tech tools that a college student will want or need to make their freshman year as smooth as possible.

Two Minds

1. Laptops/Netbooks

Every college you could imagine has at least a handful of courses that require some form of online collaboration. Even the most responsible student procrastinates at some point and when they do the computer lab or library isn’t always open to put together the power-point presentation you have due in the morning. All things aside, Microsoft Office is absolutely essential for a college student as it is the active directory tool they will use most throughout their university tenure. Ultrabooks, Macbooks, laptops, any type of computer that you can take with you will be essential as your entire academic college world will probably be in it. The prices of these computers vary but even the cheapest one pays for itself in convenience and productivity within one semester of college.

2. Printer

A printer is one of the most undervalued tools to have in college. Printers are the key to hard evidence of your produced work and like using a computer, it is not always convenient to travel to campus or to a building across campus from your dorm to print papers every week. A color printer is not essential but encouraged in case you are taking some sort of graphic design or art classes that require you to dress documents up a bit. A black and white printer will more than likely be fine for a freshman and like the laptop, become a much appreciated piece of technology.

3. USB Storage Devices

In college, the whole “My computer just deleted all of my work for no reason”, or any other variation of it, will not fly with most professors. The need to backup and store important projects and assignments cannot be overstated. USB drives can be bought at most office/electronic stores and are little life savers when it comes to unplanned mishaps. USB storage devices can allow you to store documents, power point presentations, music files, you name it. These can even serve as a substitute for a printer if you are giving a presentation in a class that does not require hard copies of your work.

4. Cellphone/Smartphone

Communication is key in college. Phones are not the most essential tools for academic success but for surviving college life they are a must. Smartphones are more convenient than laptops as far as getting information on the go and communicating with classmates. The ability to send email through a phone is one of the most underrated forms of communication as they can alert classmates or professors of untimely inconveniences that prevent you from getting tasks done. If you are on the other side of the coin and require instant collaboration from a classmate or teacher, the ability to check email on your phone or text will allow you to adjust for mishaps.

5. Alarm Clock

Today there are alarm clocks that will not go off unless the person actually swings their feet out of bed and lands them on the sensory mat next to their bed. An alarm clock is a basic piece of technology for anyone with real responsibilities. It is rather how it used or forced to be used that guarantees its effectiveness. An alarm clock that allows a snooze option or forces a person to do more than just slam their hand down on it to make it stop will force even the least ambitious person out of bed. If your student to be is not a morning person, get a clock that forces them to actually move out of sleeping position to turn it off. Carpet alarm clocks are becoming very popular amongst college students for a reason.

Roger Firman is passionate about the latest – most advanced technology. He is a blogger and writes about Tech Toolbox, a web-based I.T. management software company who specializes in web active directory.