If you are the parent of a college student, then when you were in college, laptop computers didn’t even exist. There was probably only one computer lab on the whole campus it was only open from 9 to 5 on weekends, and mostly the only people who used it were computer science students.
If you went to college in the 1990s, then every student in your university had an email address, but not everyone had a computer. There were a few professors who loved sending emails to students, but most of them just ignored the school’s email program. If you happened to have a friend whose geeky dad was sufficiently enthusiastic about the Information Age, as it was then called, to haul her clunky desktop computer to the dorm and configure its maze of wires, then you were always in that friend’s room typing your term papers as the end of the semester approached. When it came time to print them, though, you had to go to the 24-hour computer lab in the library and line up behind all the other students who were also trying to print their term papers.
Now a lot of universities operate on the assumption that all college students have laptop computers. Beyond email and Blackboard, some professors even create Facebook groups for their classes and ask the students to join. Students are expected to be able to pull out their laptop computers anywhere, connect to WiFi, and keep up with their class assignments. To operate in such conditions, college students need a laptop computer, preferably one for under 1000 dollars, that easily picks up on WiFi signals, even in places like coffee shops and remote parts of the university library. Depending on what the student is studying, it may be advantageous to have a computer with built-in audio recording capabilities or a webcam so that the student can record oral presentations, including in foreign language classes. The more compact the laptop computer the better; it should easily fit into the student’s backpack with all the textbooks and other things that students carry. Some laptop computers are so compact that students can even fit them into large handbags.
You may wonder, if computers are so small, why not just get a tablet instead? The advantage of laptop computers over tablets is that it is much easier to type on the keyboards of laptop computers than on the touch screens of tablets.