Now is that time of the year when college students prepare for that exciting and terrifying process of going to college for the first time. In case you’re wondering, higher education requires much more independence than high school, which means there are a variety of pieces of tech that will help you toward your goal of not flunking out of school.
Here are five pieces of tech that we’d recommend you picking up before you pack your bags and head off to college:
5. USB battery for your phone
If you don’t already have one, it’s pretty smart to get a USB battery for your phone. If you’re doing college life right, you’ll spend of your time outside of your dorm room, whether that’s in class or just out on campus.
That means regardless of what smartphone you have, you’ll probably be running through that battery more than normal—and might not have access to a wall port. Picking up one of these cheap USB batteries is a great, affordable solution that you’ll be really happy to have in emergency situations.
4. A pair of headphones
Will all the walking around on campus and studying you’ll be doing, you’ll definitely want to make sure you get a decent set of headphones. While those iPhone headphones everyone has will work just fine, if you’re a music lover or a gamer, you owe it to yourself to invest in something better.
There are a ton of great options out there, ranging from wireless Bluetooth headphones to headphones built for exercising—or even ones made with audiophiles in mind. Depending on how loud and annoying your new roommate is, you may also want something noise-canceling.
3. Printer / scanner
The amount of things that are done digitally in higher education has definitely diminished the need for a personal printer / scanner.
However, if you don’t want to have to trek to the library every time you want to print out an assignment or form, having your own printer is pretty helpful. Having the built-in scanner is pretty useful as well, which pretty much all printers now have. Just get ready for people in your hall to start asking if they can borrow it.
2. USB stick / External hard drive
Regardless of how much better cloud storage options like Dropbox or Google Drive have gotten, there’s still nothing more convenient sometimes than a USB stick for sharing files—especially for large video or audio files.
Even if you opt for sticking with cloud storage, you’ll definitely want a hefty external hard drive for backing up files for large projects. The best part is that because hard drives keep getting cheaper and cheaper, picking up something like a 1TB hard drive isn’t a huge investment anymore.
1. Dependable laptop
Your laptop in college will be your most important piece of technology. You’ll take it to class, take it to the library, and probably take it to bed for endless Netflix binging. A lot of people’s first laptops are bought when going to college, so it’s important to pick one that will be able to handle everything you throw at it, as well as last you through your college career.
There are all sorts of great options out there, whether you’re interested in Macs, Windows, or Chrome. There are also lots of great options at a variety of price points, so check out our laptop buying guide and recent list of the best college laptops to ensure you make a good choice.