Considering that you are now the one footing the bill, back-to-school shopping as an adult might not have the same appeal as when you were a kid. However, while a new backpack and binder may not be necessary purchases when you’re starting your school year in the online environment, there are still a few items of a technological nature to add to your supply list.
- Laptop/ Desktop- Your computer will be your lifeline throughout your online education, and it’s essential that you have one you can rely on. If your current PC is three or more years old, it might be time to purchase an upgrade. To ensure you are able to complete all of your course requirements, invest in a computer with standard RAM, business application packages (such as Microsoft Office), and antivirus software. A webcam or microphone capability might also be something to consider.
- High-Speed Internet- A strong Internet connection will not only make your life easier, but is critical to your academic success. Online courses require you to logon almost daily and most course materials (including textbooks) are usually only available through the school’s website. If you currently do not have high speed Internet through DSL, cable, wireless broadband or satellite, now is the time to get it. You might also want to opt for wireless capabilities to allow for mobility in where you choose to study, whether in your home office or on your couch.
Nice To Haves:
- Flash Drive- Relatively inexpensive, small, and portable a flash drive is a great way to save your files. As an online student, you may need to back up your assignments or transfer them between two different computers, making flash drives a convenient option.
- Organizer- Whether you prefer to keep track of your schedule on your cellphone, iPad, PDA or a hardcopy appointment book, an organizer is useful tool in assisting you with juggling all of your responsibilities. Between work, school, raising a family, and down time, an organizer can help you to make sure that none of your commitments fall through the cracks.
- Noise Blocking Ear Phones- A good pair of headphones can be key when it comes to blocking out distractions, such as your family, roommates, and neighbors. In addition to allowing you to concentrate on your schoolwork without extraneous noises going on in the background, headphones can often be used for your assignments. Many classes have an audio component, whether through video lectures or podcasts.
If you would like to learn more about what to buy before you start school, check out our article on the structure and technology requirements of online college classes.