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13 August 2008

Printer for Daughter? Within a week, Daughter will be a dorm resident at SF State.[More:] Wife is thinking that we NEED to get her a printer to take down there. I don't know, but it's a stretch to think that EVERY student arrives with a printer, as well as a laptop.

What do you think? It seems that there will be ways to get stuff printed without having your own. But I really have no idea. . . .
I didn't have a printer in college, and I did fine- I would print out all my stuff at the computer labs in the library. Lugging a printer around and keeping on top of the ink situation would have been a pain.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero 13 August | 10:26
It can be nice to have a printer around, particularly depending on SF State's facilities. Do you have to pay over X number of pages? Are printers available 24 hours a day? Is there typically a wait?

Does she have anything like a new student liaison, or perhaps has her RA/CA already been in touch? They'd be a good person to ask.

No matter what, unless SF State has just awful computer facilities, she won't NEED her own printer. It's always nice to have, but odds are she won't miss it if she doesn't have it.
posted by SpiffyRob 13 August | 10:37
Oh, what a relief. When I first saw the title of your post, I thought you were looking to trade!
posted by BoringPostcards 13 August | 10:55
If you're prepared to buy her one, why not wait a while to see if the need arises (printing facilities on campus these days are typically good here in the UK, though she'd have to do the maths about per-page costs) and have a facility in place for getting either the printer-money or the printer to her later? If she finds she doesn't need one, it'll save her carting one back and forth to the dorm room between semesters (if she's like me and gets kicked out of her room three times a year so conference delegates can use it).

Good luck to Daughter - it's fun taking those first steps on your own!
posted by altolinguistic 13 August | 10:56
I had my own printer in college and it was awesome (HP All-in-One). It is basically a small self contained box (paper tray and all) and since I already had to lug my whole desktop around (because I have a violent hatred of laptops), it wasn't that big of a deal.

Of course, the 600 free pages we each had per semester from the computer labs was awesome too and definitely helped in stats, when we had to print out a 1000+ page textbook. (Towards the end of the semester, people would sell off their extra sheets/login information.)
posted by sperose 13 August | 11:00
Well, on my campus, printing at the lab was free, but sometimes it was a pain in the butt, and sometimes all the printers would go down at once and there would be a Really Big Paper Due and I'd have to print on my roommate's printer and she'd get pissed at me.

So I say get her a cheap printer, as a bargaining tool with any room or hall-mates :) But yes, she can survive without one, unless the per-page printing cost is just ridiculous.
posted by muddgirl 13 August | 11:08
I didn't have a printer in college and I didn't need one. I printed everything out at computer labs and I had enough free pages to get me through my thesis etc. Dorm space is at a premium and I don't think buying paper and ink is something your daughter would want to do, especially when the school most likely provides this service.

See how she does without one the first semester and then offer to buy her one the second semester!
posted by rmless2 13 August | 11:09
(pm to danf--my daughter is at Girls Rock camp this week, and is loving it)
posted by mrmoonpie 13 August | 11:11
I have an all-in-one printer (it's a dell, ugh), which is nice, but I could get by without it. I imagine it'll be nicer next year when there's no computer lab in my dorm. It really does depend on how convenient and expensive paying for printing is; my school has a lot of computer labs and doesn't charge to use its printers, so my printer is pretty much an unnecessary toy to play with (it's handy when I need to scan things).

My guess is that she can survive a semester without a printer and then gauge whether or not she needs/would like one after that? (on preview, that's exactly what rmless2 suggested).
posted by dismas 13 August | 11:14
If you do decide to look for one, I'm totally happy with my HP DeskJet all-in-one. It's pretty compact and you never really realize how much use you get out of a scanner until you have one.
posted by cmonkey 13 August | 11:18
(pm to danf--my daughter is at Girls Rock camp this week, and is loving it)

OH I am so glad. I was actually thinking of offering to have my daughter call yours to try to get her over her cold feet. I am glad she decided to go!
posted by danf 13 August | 11:23
I think having a printer would be a slight annoyance in a small student room. Printing is only 7 cents at the 24-hour computer lab.
posted by grouse 13 August | 12:30
STOP THE PRESSES, er, printers. Recent college grad here.

I'm going to go against the grain here and say that yes, a printer is important, and yes, you should buy one for her if it's at all possible. But: forget the inkjets/all-in-ones! Better/more functional copiers and scanners are available in computer labs, and those would be used much less than the printer function would on an all-in-one anyway.

You want a cheap B/W laser printer like this (new) or this (a refurbished but better model). $90 or $120 may not seem cheap, but it's equal to less than a year's consumption of ink cartridges if you're printing a lot - and college students do. Printing in the computer labs/library at UC Santa Cruz was something like 5-7 cents a page when I was there a couple years ago, which was fine for final drafts of papers I was writing but TOTALLY ANNOYING for PDFed journal articles and reading that you end up needing to read on paper because reading scanned PDFs on your computer screen means you can't easily take notes/highlight. Also, it made printing out drafts of things I wasn't done with a hassle, especially in the winter when I'd have to trudge a pretty long way to get to a printer.

Even in my first year, I had classes with hundreds of pages of printout reading a month. The amount of text she will be required to print may, in fact, be astoundingly high, and coming to class or discussion group having read the material on a screen but not having the material in front of you to reference can be frustrating.

Additionally, having the ability to print out directions, boarding passes, movie tickets, and free frozen yogurt coupons is nice - she can even have her friends e-mail their documents to her and charge them half of what the labs do and pay for the printer over time!

So: laser printer. I've seen deals at Staples/OfficeMax/etc; perhaps wait until the back-to-school rush is over to check for deeper discounts?
posted by mdonley 13 August | 12:32
I would tend to side with mdonley (both about the necessity of a printer and the advisability of a cheap printer (unless she's doing graphic design or something)), with the additional reasoning that people with easy access to printing are MUCH more likely to proofread things before turning them in.
posted by occhiblu 13 August | 12:41
Please get her a cheap (inexpensive, not shoddy) printer. She will thank you. Speaking from experience, it's often hard to get to an open computer lab when you're against a deadline (because, surprise of surprises, so are 8,000 other kids). Computer labs are also not usually 24-7. And, as mdonley says, if you have to print out notes/assignments/reading for a class, you have to arrange your homework schedule around getting to a printer.

people with easy access to printing are MUCH more likely to proofread things before turning them in.

posted by Eideteker 13 August | 12:49
The only advice I have is;
CHECK WHAT CARTIDGES COST! Important - I haev a friend who keeps buying new printers since new ink costs more than his cheapo printer!
posted by dabitch 15 August | 06:31
We's got a double birthday today || Does anyone remember this sci fi book?