Things to avoid: Don't buy these dumb things for your college student

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  • Incite Full Layton, UT
    July 17, 2013 6:18 a.m.

    Don't pay for a car either. Most campuses don't have room for it, and if they really want to go somewhere there are buses. A stranded student is also more likely to actually work on his schoolwork.

  • bolshaya_kartina Boise, ID
    July 16, 2013 9:42 p.m.

    TOO: You're going too far. There is a LOT of value in having a real education, even if you're "just going into Nursing". Broadening your perspective is about living a fuller life, and having the chance of being informed, and maybe thereby being empowered to make a difference in others' lives beyond your specialized occupation. Think of your future children (if that's in your future), and that's just the most obvious set of likely beneficiaries from YOU obtaining as much education as you can.

    Robin Hood has a point, but taken very far it loses its sharpness. Economizing time and money is important; living a full and enriching life needs to go beyond this, though.

  • Strider303 Salt Lake City, UT
    July 16, 2013 4:32 p.m.

    Folks, remember college/university education is a business! The more classes you take the more money the institution makes, and the longer you are matriculated the more money the institution makes.

    The idea of well rounded student may have some value but I bet it was bottom line first.

    The first rule of any organization is to grow. Two year nursing programs become three and then four years. Sure there are other classes in nursing that help you to be exposed to more skill sets and experiences, but it is funny how you can also gain those skills on the job.

    People in ivory towers tend to think nothing of the unwashed masses financial status nor their priorities, only their plan to expand or add depth to their kingdom or curricula.

    Not enough students at old State U.? lower the standards, get more unqualified students to enroll and voila you have a need for more buildings and faculty so you go to the legislature and beat the drums for more money and buildings and staff/faculty which forces you to enroll more students. You get the idea.

  • tholyoak Cedar Hills, UT
    July 16, 2013 4:18 p.m.

    I did lots of ironing in college (I guess the "average" college student doesn't go to church?), but there was always an ironing board and iron available to use where I lived.

    But the idea that you'll buy stuff when you get there is kind of dumb - if you know you'll need it, buy it in advance because it will be cheaper at Walmart than the college bookstore. Or better yet, get an Amazon Prime membership (it's something like half price for students) and order stuff online.

    And definitely wait to buy your textbooks until you find out what you really need. Your classes may not actually even use them. If they do, look online before going to the bookstore.

  • TOO Sanpete, UT
    July 16, 2013 1:11 p.m.

    I have also spent thousands of dollars on unnecessary classes. I went into nursing. What do my history, music, P.E., and humanities classes have to do with nursing? Nothing. How do they make me a better nurse? They don't.

    I appreciate big brother looking out for me and wanting me to be "diversified". But good grief, if I want to take those classes I would. I could have been done with school two years ago. But now, because of these extra moronic classes that I was forced to take, many countless hours have been wasted where I could have spent them reading nursing material and physiology books so I could perfect my skills and actually save lives like I'm supposed to.

  • bw00ds Tucson, AZ
    July 16, 2013 12:36 p.m.

    @Brave Sir Robin--excellent!

    As someone who has gone through a Bachelors, Masters, and now winding up a Doctorate, I add my voice to those who say buy a printer. A laser jet is the best buy. You can buy a cheap new HP or Canon laser and even cheaper used ones. If you use a company where you can buy toner refill kits, toner is really cheap and easier to replace than ink. I bought a Canon laser that is also a fax/scanner/copier and can duplex. It has saved me SO many times.

    To depend on a campus printing service is asking for trouble. Many times, it is not an issue of being a "responsible" student. Can't tell you how many times I've put in hundreds of hours to get an assignment done and worked all night to the deadline. Having my own printer saved the day. With printing services, you might be in a long line or printing queue, then what?

    As far as a tablet or expensive laptop, I agree a cheap one can do everything you need. Documents, spreadsheets, and research on the Internet is what's important.

  • Brave Sir Robin San Diego, CA
    July 16, 2013 12:04 p.m.

    The single dumbest thing you can buy in college isn't even on this list.

    The single dumbest thing you can buy in college is classes that don't get you closer to a degree.

    I laugh at people who take bowling in college. That's $1200 for one semester of bowling. Do you know how many games of bowling and private lessons you can get at any old bowling alley for that kind of money? If you want to learn to bowl, great...just do it outside of a university.

    Tuition is expensive. Only take classes you need to graduate.

  • The Rock Federal Way, WA
    July 16, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    Buy a used laser printer. I can purchase toner for my old HP LaserJet 4000 for under $25 bucks and it will print 10,000 pages. Then when everyone wants to print their stuff on their printer, charge them at least a nickel per page. You develop a revenue stream and reduce the free loaders.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    July 16, 2013 10:13 a.m.

    Seriously, just get the printer. I made so much money in the dorms selling use of my printer to students who didn't want to wake up early to go to the library :)

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    July 16, 2013 9:46 a.m.


    After 13 years of teaching, I'd say only 25% of freshmen students--at most--are "responsible adults." The rest are older teenagers struggling to balance school, freedom, jobs, relationships, and figuring out how to make something other than ramen noodles for dinner.

    For a lot of new college students, for whom this article is intended, most of this is rather hard.

    Parents, simplify your students' new adventure in college as much as possible. Maybe you purchase something that later proves unnecessary, but that's ok in the long run. I've seen students scrambling on the first day of class to buy all kinds of things they should have had already--groceries, cables for laptops, laundry detergent--and have an extremely difficult first week of class trying to get settled in and caught up. That early sense of failure tends to stick with kids.

  • OHBU Columbus, OH
    July 16, 2013 8:37 a.m.

    I agree with Mom of 8--the one I disagree with is the printer. Campus printing services aren't actually that cheap; your student will probably break even. But being able to print the paper in the dorm, and staple it is a plus. It's really annoying to teachers when students show up with un-stapled papers because they printed it in the library on the way to class and there was no stapler. Also, while students actually printing rough drafts is rare, the best way to insure that your child will not is to have them rely on printing in the library.

  • TOO Sanpete, UT
    July 16, 2013 8:22 a.m.

    Mom of 8

    Or the student could be a responsible adult and do the paper on time and print it before it's due and not sleep in until right before class. I haven't printed stuff on my home computer since I started college. I go to the library at school when it opens at 7 a.m. and print my stuff and work on my papers. Not that hard.

    I would also advice not buying all the text books until you are actually in the classroom. For my program, I spent $500 on books I didn't use or only used once or twice in two years. By then, the price had gone down and I only got about $100 for them when I sold them back. Now, I just wait until the semester starts, and within the first week or two I can tell if I will need the book or not. If it's just one that is "suggested" or I "might" use, I just borrow one from a classmate. Saves lots of money in my pocket.

  • Mom of 8 Hyrum, UT
    July 16, 2013 7:40 a.m.

    BUY the PRINTER!
    Sure, colleges offer printing services, but the way students work is this: they finally finish that paper for their 8am class at 1am. There ARE no printing services open at that hour to print up the draft the student needs to take to class for peer responses. And no, she's not going to get up early to get it printed. She'll sleep in until 7:50, then sprint to class.

    Printers are cheap--$45. Ink is cheap too--$8.

    Showing up to class without your draft will, at least in my class, cost the student a lot of points.

  • Max Charlotte, NC
    July 16, 2013 6:27 a.m.


    You don't need a credit card for those things, a debit card will work just as well.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    July 15, 2013 6:13 p.m.

    I have a fifteen year old laptop computer that does everything most most university students would need, at least from a scholastic standpoint. But it is less effective at the things that waste time and money that newer computers make possible.

  • Vladhagen Salt Lake City, UT
    July 15, 2013 3:24 p.m.

    I think that a lot of this stuff comes down to using common sense. I have a tablet, use it every day. Although tablets did not even exist when I started college. But as a grad student, I use one very single day. You need to have a cd it card if you ever hope to buy books, pay for gas.........just use it for those things and not much else. I have gone my entire life without an iPhone, however.