If you want to be productive in college, you should look at how businesses and work from home professionals setup their workspaces. While large companies have almost unlimited resources to determine the best setups to get the most productivity out of their employees, college students typically don’t have a similar budget. Luckily, you can implement may of the same practices while on a budget.
We also think that college students shouldn’t be entirely concerned with budgeting when investing in tools to be productive. Ultimately, students are spending tens of thousands of dollars or more to attend a university degree in search of a better career. By investing hundreds of dollars in quality equipment it can set you up to get more out of school, attain better grades, and have a better chance at achieving your long term career goals.
The following list of products are items that college students should consider for their dorm room, or apartment.
While we don’t include any items that will make your dorm room feel more cozy, we do include many items that make sense when you consider treating college like a professional workplace.
Our list focuses on boosting productivity and maximizing your return on investment for tuition.
Let’s jump in!
Professional businesses have professional computer setups
When looking at most large companies and how their employees are setup there are several items that you’ll notice right away. Not all of these are practical to implement
- Ultrawide High Definition or Dual Computer Monitors
- External keyboard and mouse
- Large cubicles with lots of desk space
- Well lit workspaces
- White noise machines
Not all of these are practical or useful in a college dorm, apartment or quad. However, we can take some of these principals and adapt them to your own personal living situation.
27in QHD High Definition Monitor
QHD Monitors provide a great tradeoff for users. They offer almost as much screen real estate with higher resolutions when compared to dual monitor setups, but they have a much more compact footprint. High resolution monitors also have the benefit of making it easier to play games, or watch streaming services when you’re not getting schoolwork done.
For even more space savings, this particular model has the ability to pair with a wall mount. Wall mounted monitors like these avoid taking up precious desk space that can be used for writing and reading while working on the computer. When coupled with a wireless keyboard it boosts productivity even further.
External Keyboard and Mouse
For business users, we typically recommend full-sized keyboards that you can plugin and have more key travel. For college students we like wireless solutions that are easily portable. As long as you have a decent sized backpack, you can fit a wireless keyboard and mouse combo into it and get school work done while you’re on trips, visiting your parents, or on a working vacation.
Lenovo makes some of the best keyboards in the business, and they’re well known for producing excellent keyboards on their ThinkPad line of laptops. This full-sized keyboard and mouse combination has a similar format and will make it far easier to type on than what’s available on even the best laptop computers.
Desk Light with Built-in Charger
When desk space is at a premium, combination items can be a great help A desk light that lets you place a phone on a built in charging pad or connect USB devices to it can serve multiple purposes. It’s also one less charger that you have to worry about, and your phone gets some extra juice without any additional thought of having to plug it in. Wireless charging is not available on all phone models. We recommend checking compatibility of the wireless charging specification between your existing cell phone and the supported specifications of a wireless charging device.
Wireless Active Noise Cancelling Headset
With 55 hours of playtime, these over the ear wireless headphones will help you study by playing some focusing music and blocking out the sound of noisy of roommates. Over the ear headphones are our preferred style of headphones for their exceptional sound quality and comfort when wearing over an extended period of time.
If you think that there is a chance you will be doing a lot of video conferences or Teams calls for remote classes, we would recommend an alternative model. The Anker Soundcore Q30 are an exceptional value, and come with a microphone that lets you work and talk at the same time, while also blocking out background noise when speaking.
Quality Laptop Computer
We’ll stop short of recommending specific laptop model but want to point out that many laptop manufacturers produce models that are targeted at college students. However, lower price points are often achieved by cutting costs. Manufacturers might skimp on build quality, offer poor screens that make it difficult to watch movies or exclude ports needed when working collaboratively or when plugging into a projector.
Apple MacBooks and Google Chromebooks are increasingly popular on college campuses. Before you purchase one, you should ask yourself how many of these devices you actually see in professional work environment prior to purchasing one.
Late nights and coffee go hand in hand. A good cup of coffee is a part of the classic American wake up routine. It is also a workplace staple of working late. Afterall, there’s a reason that so many businesses offer free coffee to their employees in the workplace. It’s a sure fire productivity booster.
This particular model comes with an insulated carafe that lets you brew one batch of coffee and keep it hot well into the night. Cheaper models have a glass carafe that must be continuously heated causing coffee to be increasingly burnt the longer it sits on a burner.
Couple this with some fresh locally roasted beans and a burr grinder for a super tasty early morning or late night caffeine fix.
USB Charging Station
This 160w USB Charging station has enough power for peripherals and people visiting that need a quick charge. It’s affordably priced compared to higher power models while still giving users plenty of ports to work with. An added benefit is the max 65w USB-C charger that has enough power to charge many laptops. The USB-A ports also provide a level of flexibility for people that use Android, or iPhone devices to plug in with their own cables.
Portable Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
We love Bluetooth speakers for the ease of use and ability to pump out sound in small spaces. When you make them extra portable and waterproof it makes them even more useful when you get off campus to get outdoors or float the river. This JBL portable speaker has the added benefit of being able to clip onto a backpack. Not that we condone blasting music while walking around campus in between classes, but it does make it really easy to take with you wherever you go with a 10+ hour battery life.
Meal Replacement Shakes
Being in college also means constantly being on the go. Some sacrifices often have to be made to get the classes you want and it can mean a tough schedule of running between classes across campus with a short period of time. Often, nutrition and meals end up taking a back seat to the realities of attending classes in person.
Thankfully, products like Soylent provide meal replacement shakes that strive to be nutritionally complete. They come in a number of different flavors to fit your taste preference and aim to be healthier than snacks that you would get at the average convenience store or pastry case of a coffee shop.
High Quality Pens
Writing notes is a staple of the college experience. Attempting to write down as much information as possible as quickly as possible during a lecture could mean the difference between grades. One of the challenges is mixing speed with a quality writing tool that allows you to actually read your notes later on after writing them.
These pens are highly reviewed on Amazon and are not only praised for their writing abilities but also have a great tactile experience. The pens are textured, grippy, feel solid in hand, and have a small ball on the clip that adds just a little bit extra to the experience.
Wake Up Daylight Sunrise Lamp
You can’t get to class if you can’t get out of bed on time. A lot of people swear by daylight wake up lights to get the job done. They slowly raise the level of light on a timer to gently wake you up in the morning. The concept is to artificially re-create the effect of being woken up by the sunlight naturally in the morning. Many people report waking up more refreshed and more energized compared to a loud buzzing alarm clock on your cell phone placed next to your bed.
Getting through college efficiently can be a challenge. There are hectic school schedules, and depending on your major there can be a lot of homework and reading assignments to juggle with work or other personal obligations. Hopefully with some of these productivity enhancing products it will make at least part of your college experience a little bit better.
As college tuition continues to increase in price, it’s even more important to get the most out of the experience as possible. Investing in some of productivity boosting products will help you get more of the boring stuff done in less time and also set you up for success when you transition to a professional workplace.
Corporations invest in setting up their employees to be their most productive, and students should take a similar approach to how they work towards completing a college degree.
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