Is Your Software Ready for College?

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  • These days, when you are getting ready to go to college, it’s all about technology.

    Long gone are the days of taking only a pen and a pad of paper to class.

    Now, everyone is bringing their laptops, tablets, and cell phones while looking for the best way to retain the onslaught of knowledge so they can pass the tests and find their dream career.

    However, you don’t just want to go in there with your old computer and the software that you downloaded five years ago. Instead, you want to be proactive about finding the most helpful and updated software that can put you ahead of the curve when you step into class. So, whether you are going to a traditional classroom or an online college, heed this advice on the best computer specs and software packages.

    First, a Capable Laptop

    Before you start picking out the proper software, you will want to buy a laptop that can stand the test of time and support the software you choose. At a minimum, you should choose a computer that has a reliable Intel Core i3 processor, at least 4GB of RAM, a minimum of 500 GB of storage space, and a four-year warranty to get you through your undergrad program.

    When you pick your computer, you will want to keep your curriculum in mind so you can choose a machine with the proper requirements for what you’ll be doing the most.

    If you will be using it strictly for note-taking during class, then you can settle for a basic model with the specifications listed above.

    If you are going into graphic arts or architecture, then you may need a computer with more RAM and an advanced video card.

    Of course, you will want a vivid screen so you can take proper notes and watch all the required presentations. However, keep in mind that devices with larger screens sacrifice portability for flair — and you don’t want to have trouble fitting your laptop in your backpack.

    Ensure that your computer has built-in Wi-Fi support. This comes standard today, but you may need to get an adapter if you are sticking with an older laptop. Remember that you can tether to a phone with a mobile hotspot in case you or your fellow students are without internet during an intensive study break.

    When you choose a laptop, you don’t just want to get one that will work for you now. You also want to think about the future. For instance, you might be limited to note-taking during general education, but once you transition into your major, will you need more power?

    You should also think well into the future as technology will inevitably advance, and newer software will involve things like artificial intelligence and augmented reality, and you will want to have a computer that can take on all new challenges.

    Keep Software Protected and Updated

    Now that you have a computer, you need to equip your machine with programs that can make it efficient and secure. You should always start with dependable antivirus software. Such programs scan your computer for viruses and spyware and get rid of them before they cause damage. Plus, it can scan the emails you get and warn you about potential phishing scams. The best thing is that many of these programs are free to use.

    The last thing you need during an all-important presentation is a loud, glaring, and potentially inappropriate popup making an appearance. To prevent that, download a program like Adblock Plus, which will take care of the dirty work behind the scenes.

    With all of this software, you will want to make sure that you have the most updated versions. Doing so will keep your computer working on all cylinders, and certain editions of particular programs might even be required by your professors. To check the version of your current software, you can usually check the program’s properties or help section.This is especially important for antivirus software as there are always new security threats, and you want your laptop to be able to handle the updated threats.

    Software You Should Have

    When you are choosing the programs for your college courses, you don’t want to use old software. In many cases, the most updated applications can work substantially more efficiently than older versions. For instance, the most updated version of LibreOffice combines all of the programs associated with Microsoft Office but adds a diagram drawing program and a math formula editor. WPS Office is another one of these all-in-one programs that also provides you access to cloud storage for securing that giant term paper.

    other valuable tips:

    When you are in class, taking detailed notes is key, and there are some updated software programs that can help with that. A program like Audio Notetaker takes the current lecture and transcribes it within colorful blocks so you can organize everything properly. If you need to supplement those notes with helpful articles, then ReadCube can scour the internet for relevant articles and present them in an orderly fashion.

    There are also many helpful software programs that apply specifically to your area of study. Those with a focus on science and anatomy might try Zygote Body, which lists all parts of the human body and provides 3D simulations so you can get a better idea of how they work. Anyone studying photography should try Polarr, which allows you to edit photos with advanced filters. Math can be a challenge for many students, so programs such as Maxima, GeoGebra, and Sage can break down complex problems and make it easier to understand.

    College can be daunting enough as it is, so an updated computer and trustworthy software can give you the leg up that you need to succeed.

    Image Credit: Pixabay

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