Which Mac is Best for College?

So you’re about to start college and looking for a new Mac to help you continue your education. When buying a laptop, the product you choose will depend on your budget and what you need for your specific studies. Before making a decision, check with your school about the system requirements for your major. This will not only help you choose a Mac, but also the technical specifications you may need.

Which Mac is better to buy for college? Let’s see our options…

Best Mac for Most Students: M1 MacBook Air

The M1 MacBook Air debuted in 2020 and remains the best Mac for most students. Although the new MacBook Air M2 has just been released, many students do not need it. However, if you have the extra cash and want a newer product, go for it! This computer is the most affordable MacBook available, starting at $899 with a student discount. My favorite part of the MacBook Air M1 is its ergonomic design. The bottom half sits comfortably on your wrists, which feels like a dream to type on.

Thanks to the power of the M1 chip, the laptop can do everything you need for school. You can comfortably type paper, play games, edit photos, multitask and more. The battery life is also one of the best on a laptop. To learn more about why the MacBook Air M1 is still a great option, check out my colleague Filipe’s article.

Also keep in mind that some MacBook Air M1s have had a problem with the screen cracking on its own in the past. However, it’s not incredibly common and is covered by AppleCare+.

While the M1 MacBook Air is a delight, for some students they may be better suited to a different Mac model.

M2 MacBook Pro for students who need more power

The 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 has the same design as the M1 model, but has a more updated processor inside. It also has the Touch Bar which some people love and some people hate. The 13-inch MacBook Pro is just as powerful as the MacBook Air, but the Pro has fans inside to help the devices maintain performance under pressure. If there’s a suspicion that you could charge an Air, I always recommend spending a little more on a Pro just in case. This is a laptop of choice for students in creative studies such as graphic design, film, or other art-related disciplines.

MacBook Pro M2

The MacBook Pro M2 is not a computer that most people need, but it is suitable for those who need a little more power than the Air, but not as much as the high-end Pros.

The 2021 MacBook Pro (14-inch or 16-inch) is a beast

Some of the benefits of the 2021 MacBook Pros are that they come with more than just USB-C ports. Plus, the Liquid Retina XDR display is the most beautiful display ever seen on a MacBook. Web browsing and gaming are also better than ever, as this is the first in the Mac range to offer ProMotion, giving you an adaptive refresh rate of up to 120Hz.

There are two sizes to choose from; 14 inches or 16 inches. There are even two chips to choose from; – the M1 Pro and the M1 Max. While this laptop is a beast, it should only be bought if you really need power or have some extra cash to spend. Students studying engineering, computer science, and computer-aided design (CAD) can take advantage of the power of the 2021 MacBook Pros.

MacBook Pro M1 Pro

If you’re wondering whether you should buy a MacBook Pro or a MacBook Air, check out my colleague Michael’s guide on this topic:

M1 iMac is ideal for online students

If you’re an online student or just spend a lot of time at your desk, consider an iMac M1. The gorgeous 24-inch 4.5K retina display is a joy to work with, and the 1080p FaceTime HD camera is hard to beat. Plus, the great colors are sure to brighten up your workspace. It is a slim device, which makes it easy to move around your home if needed.

iMac M1 offer

It is also a great option for those who can use an iPad as a laptop and are looking for a more stable device for their work. Personally, I use an iMac M1 for school and love the big screen because I can split the screen without needing a second monitor.

Best Mac Accessories for School:

Education discount from Apple

Apple offers year-round education discounts for students, their parents, and teachers and staff at all levels. The discount offers $50 off the 11-inch iPad Air and iPad Pro and $100 off the 12.9-inch iPad Pro. For Macs, the discount varies, but starts at $100. You even get a 10% discount on accessories like an iPad keyboard, Apple Pencil, or mouse. Plus, you save 20% when you purchase AppleCare+ in full. You can receive the discount online or in-store.

Every summer, Apple holds a special educational promotion in-store and online. This year the promotion will run until September 26 and will include gift cards instead of AirPods as before. When purchasing a select iPad, students will earn a $100 Apple Gift Card. For Macs, students will receive a $150 Apple Gift Card. This promotion is linked to the year-round education discount.

Which Mac do you think is best for college?

Let us know your thoughts on our social media and share your experiences with others!


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