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Would it help me to have a laptop computer in medical school?

Discussion in 'Medical Students - MD' started by spacecadet, Aug 1, 2001.

  1. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member

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    Hi all,

    I'm applying for the 2002 matriculation. I am seriously considering buying a laptop, and I wanted to know your opinions about whether it would be useful for a student.

    I am an older non-trad and I'll be commuting from home about 45-60 minutes to med school. I'm thinking that the laptop would help me to write papers, organize my notes, look up stuff, study, etc. while I commute (bus) or while I'm on campus.

    There are two reasons I want to buy one soon. One is that laptop prices are about as low as I have ever seen them. I'm afraid that if the stock market comes back up, the prices will go up again. Secondly, I have money now, and I won't after I quit my job to start med school.

    However, I don't want to buy one if it's not going to be useful to me as a med student. I already have a decent desktop computer at home.

    Thanks!

    Pam
     
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  3. Djanaba

    Djanaba Senior Member

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    Hi there!

    I think you'll find that you actually write very few papers, and that what you do on computers is often internet-related (online journals and texts, tutorials, etc.). I think your commute time would be better served with flashcards, board review books, class notes, articles, or even recorded material to listen to. If you want the laptop, by all means go for it, but not for the commute reason. And you will likely have more than enough access to fast computers at your school, so mobility isn't even an issue, really. You don't *need* one, it will not help you that much as a med student per se, but if you want one anyways, then do it.
     
  4. NewAgeDO

    NewAgeDO RockstarDOc

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    Spacecadet,
    I would only recommend that you purchase a laptop if you know the school you're going to requires a laptop for educational purposes. WesternU (DO) utilizes laptops during class lecture and outside of class lecture. The professors have setup a program called "Blackborad" in which the students can download certain materials such as histology slides, extra notes, and so forth in addition to the notes that are already supplied. In all seriosity, a typical medical student only has time to study the professor's lecture notes, his/her own personal notes, and the text. In addition, unless there is material specifically set up on the laptop (such a Powerpoint presentations and Blackboard), there is not much time re-organizing/re-typing your notes on the laptop. Also, most medical school do not assign research papers and so forth. To give you an idea of what I'm talking about, the gross anatomy lecture notes I receive from the professor alone for the first semester fills up a 3in binder. That does not include referring to the Netter (Human Anatomy Atlas), the Powerpoint presentations that have been downloaded to the laptop, and other texts. So you can see that having a laptop is only useful if it is incorporated within the curriculim. Also, by the time you enter medical school, the requirements will change and you'll have to most likely purchase a new one. I just got a 1Ghz PIII and Intel just came out with the 1.13Ghz 3 days later. Just my two cents.
     
  5. BeckyG

    BeckyG Senior Member

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    Hi Pam,

    I think it's really up to you -- if you think you would like having a laptop and it will make life easier (commuting, etc), then go for it. I know that my med school (starting this Fall) is heavily relying on an "e-curriculum" as part of the overall teaching plan. We are required to have a computer and they highly recommend a laptop. However, our computer requirements are on the high end (e.g., at least 800 MHz, 256 MB RAM, 20-30 GB hard drive, 16-32 MB on the video card, DVD-ROM, Windows ME or 2000, 250 MB zip drive, 56K and 10/100 ethernet and wireless networking card) and will be more expensive for me (at least $2K to get a good one that can handle everything).

    If the school(s) you're planning on going to will require you to have a computer, you might want to hold off on getting one until you know what their requirements are. I have a laptop now, but it is nowhere near these requirements (it's about 9 months old) - so I have to buy a new one. Also keep in mind that if you buy a computer for med school, you can "get in" on the educational discounts offered by the major computer manufacturers for students. Anyway, I hope this is somewhat helpful to you. Good luck!

    -- Becky
     
  6. Dave2K

    Dave2K Member

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    For a quick two cents-
    Spacecadet, if your are planning on matriculating in 2002 and won't absolutely need a laptop (or any computer for that matter) until then, don't buy it yet! I can all but guarantee you that prices will go down, and you will get more "bang for your buck" this time next year. It's just the nature of the beast with computers. Always faster, better, cheaper the longer you wait. If you have money now, put aside the amount you would plan on spending in a savings account (or better yet a CD, where you're less likely to touch it) and then spend it on next year's improved and cheaper model!
     
  7. spacecadet

    spacecadet Senior Member

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    Thanks a lot for the input. I guess you talked me out of it. My husband will be happy to hear that. :)

    How do I find out if the school will require me to have a laptop? Actually, I'm still not accepted so I guess I'm counting my chickens before they hatch... I'm only applying to three schools - Baylor, UTMB, and UT Houston.

    Thanks again for your input.

    Pam
     
  8. Starflyr

    Starflyr Manic Faerie

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    Hi SpaceCadet,

    UTMB definitely does NOT require you to have a laptop - they're really not so focused on hi-tech doodads for students. In fact, they even discourage the use of palm pilots during 3rd and 4th year - something that my classmates found out during prematric, much to their dismay. I dont know about UTH, but I doubt that they require it, they didnt say anything about it at my interview there last year. I havent a clue about Baylor, though. Good luck with your apps

    Star
     
  9. jcd311

    jcd311 Member

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    Some schools don't have laptop requirements, but they do have computer requirements. When I went on tours of each of the schools, I asked the tour guide about this. Another thing to keep in mind if you do end up purchasing a computer is that the cost of a fully loaded laptop is only slightly higher than that of a desktop. If you think that a laptop will be more convenient, then why not spend a little more,
     
  10. yunbi

    yunbi New Member

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  11. ringo643

    ringo643 Senior Member

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    Star,
    Not to get off topic, but do you know why UTMB discourages use of palms during clinics? This is the first I've heard of it - I thought pretty much all schools were going more and more towards using those things on the floor.
    bstarr

    btw, what's your real name, if you don't mind? we've been talking on this board for so long, and we'll actually meet each other next week. (going to quest?)
     
  12. ckent

    ckent Banned
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    Laptop and computer prices will keep going down and better versions will always come out with time regardless of what the economy is doing. I don't think that you will need a computer 1st 2 years, most schools have sufficient computing facilities and you have already indicated that you are satisfied with your home desktop. You might want to get a laptop for 3rd year (some schools use them for powerpoints), but you should wait until then to get it and you should see if anybody else says that it would be useful. Good luck.
     
  13. Cobragirl

    Cobragirl Hoohaa helper ;)

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    I was considering buying a laptop myself, but ended up buying a Palm instead. UF uses a lot of e-based curriculum, but a laptop during lecture isn't really necessary...I can do everything I need to from my home PC. The Palm, however, is nice because it's small yet still has enough memory/power to store lots of useful medical/school programs. So far, I have study programs for Anatomy and another program called "medical mneumonics" that helps you remember all sorts of things! In addition, I was able to download the Merck manual (free, if you're an AMSA member)...and the Merck manual has EVERYTHING in it! Plus, I can write/receive emails, access the internet, etc, just like with a laptop. Not quite as big, fancy or powerful...but if you're just looking for something "gadgety" that will help keep you organized (plus study), a Palm is the way to go!
     

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