Although my children are still young, I have a few close friends that have just sent their kids off to college. I have listened to them weep tears of joy and sadness. I have also been here to give advice when it came time to shop. You want to make sure that your college student is well prepared to take on school and life. This means making sure that they can make the most of the technology offered to them. Instead of heading to the crowded computer lab like I had to do in college when I needed to use a computer, students now need their own laptop so that they can work comfortably in their dorm room or wherever they are. In most schools it is now a requirement. And things like USB keys, and smartphones can help students succeed by keeping them in touch and connected.

Here is a list of five items that your new on-the-go college student might need to succeed.

1. A Lightweight Laptop: Ultrabooks are all the rage right now. And this is for good reason. Many of us use lightweight laptops because they are light on the back. This is especially important for students. I can recall how heavy my backpack used to get when carrying just a couple of books. And back then we did not have cute little computers to carrier around. Add a laptop to your backpack and it can get heavy.

The Lenovo IdeaPad® U Series Ultrabook™ is a laptop with a lot of style. It comes in several colors including graphite gray, cherry blossom, aqua blue, sapphire blue, and ruby red. The top model also comes in clementine orange. Starting at just 3 lbs, it will not weigh down your backpack, or your shoulders. Besides being small and lightweight, the internals of the IdeaPad are good as well. With options like an Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB of RAM, and a 500gb hard drive, this little machine has enough power to handle it all.


2. Cloud Based Storage/Service: For this I recommended Google Services. If you are not using Gmail, you should be. Other than being the best email service out there for many reasons, having a Google account comes with many other pluses. One of those is the recently revamped Google Drive (formerly Google Docs). Google Drive is cloud based file storage and sharing service that allows you to keep photos, documents, and more in the cloud where they are easily accessible and backed up. You can install the Google Drive client on your computer to sync files. No matter where you are you can access your files from any computer with an Internet connection. And of course there is Google Calendar: Yes, another Google product. But as mentioned above their suite is a must have. My Google Calendar insures that I am where I need to be when I need to be there. And since you can have several different calendars, there can be a class for your school schedule and associated appointments as well as project due-dates. Never be late again. Plus you can sync with your mobile device.


3. Entertainment: Yes, you should be working all the time. But everyone needs a break. And chances are that you will not have Comcast Cable or DirecTV in your dorm, but you can still watch movies. As long you have an .edu email address as most university students do, you can sign up for an Amazon Prime Student account. The account starts out free, or you can choose to upgrade to the $39 per year account, which provides even more pluses. While this is not actually an add-on to your computer, it can help you get the most entertainment value out of your shiny new laptop. A Prime account not only enables you to place orders with free two day shipping, but it also allows you to watch thousands of movies at no extra charge.


4. Noise Canceling Headphones: If you are staying in a dorm chances are you will have a roommate. And while you will make friends and want to chat, sometimes you will want to listen to your own music, or watch a movie without disturbing your new friend. Or perhaps you want to focus and not be interrupted. Depending on how you work, putting on headphones with soft music could help this. I recently checked out the Philips CitiScape headphones, which are stylish, colorful, and they sound great.


5. External Hard Drive: Even though you will have your files in the cloud, you should always keep an additional backup. This could be for files that you do want to necessarily copy to the cloud like archived reports, or original versions of edited photos. You can back those up to your external hard drive and keep it in a safe place, or carry it with you for moving files. The Western Digital Passport series is one of my favorites.


These are just a few suggestions to get your busy college student started on the road to success.

See what you can do with the Book of Do, the IdeaPad® U Series Ultrabook™, at


Disclosure: This post is brought to you by Lenovo. All opinions are my own.