Forbes: '5 Tech Gadgets You Think You Need For College, But Don't'

Might I suggest an alternate headline to Forbes: "Here's an article for someone who just discovered the Internet today."

The only thing on this list that makes remotely any sense is a printer. Those are garbage and you don't need one. Not worth it. But the author, Maxine Joselow, makes some truly bizarre points throughout.

Brand name headphones

Headphones are a great resource for study sessions, letting students listen to their favorite tunes or block out unwanted noise. Apple sells its signature white EarPods for $29, colorful Beats headphones go for $100 and noise-cancelling Bose headphones go for $150 to $250.

But brand name headphones are hardly a bargain compared to other options on the market. CVS Pharmacy sells colored earbuds that are compatible with Apple products for $9.99. Amazon also offers new and used EarPods for $5 to $10.

Yes, please go buy some CVS earbuds, and then go buy them again in a month after they've fallen apart. I've had the same pair of Bose in-ear headphones for a year and a half. Larger up front cost, cheaper long-term investment. They sound great and are comfortable.

External hard drive or flash drive

Many parents think they need to send their children to school with a $60 external hard drive or a $13 flash drive. But free file storage platforms have made these devices unnecessary.

What. You're not backing up your entire computer to a 2GB Dropbox account. And what if, as Adi Robertson points out, school networking is subpar and you need to store and transfer large files? A flash drive or hard drive is still a relevant piece of tech that can save asses.

Also (emphasis mine):

The iCloud is also gaining traction among students as a means of backing up content on Apple devices, says Jerry Hyman, lecturer in philosophy at the University of Arkansas and coauthor of The Secrets of College Success. “A lot of people feel their data is safer on the Cloud than on an external hard drive,” he says.

Why does this article sound like it was written by someone who is 70?


I was partially on board with this point, but the example she uses to back up her assertion is bizarre:

A TV with a 50-inch screen, which would fit in a college dorm room, can go for $300 to $600. But the rise of streaming services has made it possible to watch shows online for much less.

Don't you think the point of that TV would be to watch those streaming services? Sure, you can watch your favorite character on Game of Thrones get beheaded right on your iPhone, but it doesn't quite hold the same appeal.

Some residence halls even boast TVs in their lounges. All freshman residence halls at Maryville College have TVs in common areas on the first floor, and many upperclassman buildings have TVs on every floor, says Kristin Gourley, director of campus life at Maryville College.

“It’s a great opportunity for students to build community,” Gourley says. “Students are going to leave their rooms, gather in those spaces and get to know people in their buildings.”

Great, can't wait to reenact living with my siblings at home and fight over what shows we get to watch.

Alarm clock

Waking up for morning classes can require a loud alarm. Instead of buying a $55 alarm clock or clock radio, students should simply use the clock app on their smartphones.

Oh, cool. I was going to buy a $55 clock to tell me how much time I wasted reading this Forbes article, but thanks to this list, I found out I can just use the free clock app on my phone.