Back to School 2011: 'What to buy your kid for college' guide

Back to School 2011: 'What to buy your kid for college' guide

Summary: Back to School 2011: College is an investment, not just for those who go, but for parents too. Give your kid a helping hand with these tech essentials.

TOPICS: Apple, Hardware, Tablets

Back to School Guide

You all knew it was coming...

Each year I throw together a different slant on the 'back to school' tech stories that make their way around the web. The truth is, as a recently graduated student -- unlike most other journalists, I know exactly what students will need at college.

But the main drawback is that students-to-be, or students ready for their second or third years, often can't afford the vast majority of technology on offer.

I'm a strong believer that for college and university, buying the tech to keep a student going should be a two-part arrangement: the parents get the bare essentials, and the student maintains the necessary levels of tech awesomeness over the course of the year.

Gallery In this gallery, you'll see 20 bits of tech to buy your college kid. Of course, it's a guide and you don't have to buy everything there is. There's no point in buying a netbook as well as a MacBook, for example. From fun to productive, subscriptions and tech for on-the-go, here are the essentials for your college kid to get started in their new home.

Click here to go to the gallery.

But as you wave off your son or daughter for the last time, crying and sobbing into your partners shoulder as you drive away for the last time -- not knowing the next time you will see them sober, you should feel proud that you contributed to their college life through means of college tuition and technology goods.

You -- yes, you -- are a good parent.

I've been through the university experience. I know exactly what the new student will need, or if they are going into their second or third years, what they will need for that too. I've been there. I've made stupid mistakes buying junk I didn't need. But I've also made investments throughout -- things that will last me for the whole time in college, without need for replacements.

I declare the back to school report open!

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Topics: Apple, Hardware, Tablets

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  • RE: Back to School 2011: 'What to buy your kid for college' guide

    Normally I dislike your articles because they always seem a bit disconnected from reality, but this list is actually pretty good. There are still a few gimmicky items, but nowhere near what most of these lists seem to have.
  • I'm not a father...

    ...but I am old enough to be yours. The last thing my parents ever bought me was a plane ticket to the first day of school.....a one way ticket that is. After that I was on my own. So from my perspective if you want to help the kid with school, help him write a resume (CV for you Brits) and teach him some interviewing skills - cause he is going to need a job.
  • Buy them? why?

    Why buy them anything?
    This is how the false "feeling of entitlement" I constantly see being exhibited from that generation is fomented.
    Do like I had to, pay your own way.
    They'll appreciate it more.
  • What to buy your kid for college.

    Leaving the nest is pretty rough. I don't think it's a bad idea to help out some. Some people might become tremendously independent with tough love, but I saw a lot of kids nearly destroy their lives when their parents wouldn't help out much. IE. Going hungry for the next 12 hours when the dining hall closed, or when their meal plan ran out (a lot of the tough love parents' kids seemed to have meal plans that didn't really do the job). Another friend of mine started selling drugs because he had no money for a social life, and no time to have one while going to school full time and holding a job. A social life is important. You learn just as much there growing into an adult as you do in the classroom. It always seemed to me, the parents who forced their kids to stack up loans while working nearly full time through college were resentful, rather than supportive of their kid's accomplishments.

    Anyways, if you are shopping for your kid before they go to college, I found this website: to be pretty handy for finding stuff that was a basic necessity, as well as some extra stuff to spruce up my dorm room. They also have a dorm room checklist that was really handy.