Do High School Students Need A Laptop? (Explained)

do high school students need a laptop image

If you’ve ever wondered, do high school students need a laptop – while it’s not necessary for high school students to have a laptop for their in class studies, laptops have now become a must for homework and collaboration outside of the classroom.

A laptop is now a necessity for high school student homework. As technology evolves, so do learning methods and expectations from teachers. Since the pandemic, high school students have had to embrace a new way of working, learning, and collaborating using laptops.

A laptop has now become an essential tool for learning and collaborating amongst high school students.

In this article, I explore and answer the question every parent wants to know, do students need a laptop for high school.

Having access to a personal laptop or a Chromebook suited to everyday use can alleviate some of these pressures.

In this article, we explore topics like why do high school students need a laptop, why laptops are important for students, when should a student get a laptop and what kind of laptop does a high school student need.

Why Do High School Students Need A Laptop?

A laptop is invaluable when considering it as an educational tool for homework and has many advantages for a high school student. Two of those advantages are; it provides flexibility for quick research on the spot and affords portability for a student when on the go.

woman using a Windows laptop
Windows laptop.

The first thing to point out here is that high schoolers don’t need a laptop computer in the classroom per se. In my experience as a parent of two high school teens, the work that requires a laptop is assigned as homework, and if it’s not, most high school students will have access to a Chromebook cart or something very similar.

This lightweight all-in-one device typically comes well specced out these days with an array of features, including a battery that can usually last upwards of 8 hours and making Chromebooks perfect for any student who likes to learn away from their desk. Love it or hate it, technology is in the classroom but having a personal laptop isn’t necessary.

Lenovo Ideapad 3 (2023)

15.6 inch premium Full HD laptop, 6 core AMD Ryzen 5 processor, 4.0 GHz, 20 GB RAM, 512 GB storage.

At What Age Should A Student Get A Laptop?

There is no right or wrong answer to this question and in my opinion, age does play a part, however, there are other factors that need to be considered than just age.

For instance, is the student mature enough to take care good care of an expensive piece of tech like a laptop? Are they responsible enough and aware of the dangers online and able to practice online safety? These are all questions that need to be considered before splashing out on the latest laptop tech for your teen.

In a poll by PC Magazine of 1,000 parents with school-aged kids, 41 percent of the parents polled felt it was appropriate for students to receive their first laptop between the ages of 12 to 15 due to the increased amount of homework as they transition into high school.

I tend to agree with this poll. I found myself in a similar position with my kids as they moved from elementary to junior high then high school itself. Their homework increased substantially with classes requiring more and more online research and without them having access to a laptop it would have made homework so much harder for them and if I’m honest myself too!

HP 15 Laptop

11th Generation Intel Core i5 processor, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB storage, 15.6 inch Full HD IPS display.

What Kind Of Laptop Does A High School Student Need? (5 Things To Consider)

It can be difficult to decide which laptop is best suited for your teen if you don’t know much about computers in general.

Fear not, below I cover some of the basic features you should consider before buying the latest all-singing, all-dancing laptop on the market. 

Laptop Operating System

Deciding on the Operating System (OS) is the first decision to make. There are three popular choices to pick from, Microsoft Windows, Apple macOS and Chrome OS. Each OS has it’s strengths and weaknesses and choosing one is a personal preference.

Laptop Display Size

The next important thing to consider is display size. Laptop’s range in size from as small as a 11 inch screens to as large as 18 inch screens. Typically the smaller the display size the lighter and more portable the laptop will be. Just like choosing an OS, display size is a personal choice but do think carefully about how you intend using the laptop before finalizing your choice.

Laptop Specs

Ok, so this is where the fun begins if you are a tech enthusiast like me. For the non-enthusiast, picking specs can be a daunting process, so let me try and break it down and help you wade through the technical laptop jargon.

  • Laptop CPU: The CPU (Central Processing Unit) or the “brain of the laptop” is measured in Gigahertz (GHz). Typically the higher the CPU clock speed, the better the laptop’s performance will be.
  • Laptop RAM: RAM (Random-Access Memory) is another component that influences the performance of the laptop. Like CPU, the higher the amount of RAM the better the laptop’s performance will be at multitasking (running multiple software applications at the same time like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint and email).
  • Laptop Storage Drive: SSD (Solid State Drives) are typically faster at writing data than their HDD (Hard Disk Drive) cousins but are often smaller in terms of space. Keeping in the same vein around performance, SSD will out-perform HDD when reading and writing data.
  • Laptop Graphics Card: Unless you intend gaming with your laptop, it will typically come with a graphics card that will be more than sufficient to perform typically homework tasks for your high school teen. Those looking to game should consider buying a laptop that includes a high-end graphics card from the likes of AMD or Nvidia.
  • Laptop Connectivity: Most laptops will come well equipped with the latest Wi-Fi tech built-in, however not all laptops will come with Bluetooth. Bluetooth is quickly becoming a preferred connectivity choice amongst keyboards, mice and headphones for example. So keeping this feature in mind perhaps would be prudent.
  • Laptop Ports: Having a good selection of ports will serve you well. Most laptop’s will offer a variety of USB and HDMI connections for your various peripherals like monitors and printers. USB Type-C is also becoming increasingly popular across newer laptop models.

Laptop Battery

Battery life is important if your high school teen intends to be on the go a lot with their laptop. Typically you can expect your laptop’s battery to last around 8 hours. If that’s not enough computer time for your teen, you can purchase a larger extended life battery. However, there is a trade-off here. The battery will likely add considerable weight to the laptop.

Laptop Budget

You can expect laptops to start at around $200. If your laptop budget allows for a higher dollar spend, then you can expect to see an upgrade in terms of specs. For example, a larger display size, faster CPU with more GHz, a bigger SSD, a better graphics card, and more RAM included.

A higher laptop budget will also result in you being able to purchase a better well-known brand of laptop. But buyer beware, pay attention to the specs that are included. A better brand may not necessarily mean a better laptop when all said and done.

Dell Inspiron

Dell Inspiron 15 3530 Laptop – Intel Core i5-1335U, 15.6-inch FHD 120Hz Display, 16GB DDR4 RAM, 512GB


Frequently Asked Student Laptop Questions

Hopefully, I have answered all of your questions related to, do high school students need a laptop. However, you may still have other questions surrounding laptops. If you do, below I have answered some common frequently asked questions.

Should I bring a laptop to high school?

In my opinion, it’s not necessary. Most schools will offer some form of a computer cart with laptops, notebooks, Chromebooks or you will have access to a computer at the school library. If you’re in a pinch for internet access, you can always use your cell phone!

Do you need a laptop for university?

Yes, I would consider it a must have.

Are schools providing laptops for students?

Most schools have the ability to provide a laptop or Chromebook cart that students can access within the classroom. If not then check the school’s library for computer access.

Are laptops good for students?

Yes, laptops are good for students.

Final Thoughts On Do High School Students Need A Laptop

So, in conclusion, while it’s not necessary for high school students to have a laptop for their classroom studies, laptops have now become a necessity for homework and collaboration outside of the classroom and the consensus is that high school students need a laptop.

I hope you have enjoyed and found this article on do high school students need a laptop informative and useful. Check out further reading on the best antivirus for students.