<p>Is anyone buying a laptop from the UMD ACT program? The Macbooks are much more expensive because they have that 4 year care plan. Is it worth it to spend the extra money on a care plan or should I just buy the standard Macbook Pro?</p>

<p>I'm doing a similar analysis. Daughter wants a mac and I'm trying to decide between buying via Maryland versus Apple. I've done a close comparison and will definitely be buying from Maryland. Not a tremendous difference but enough to make it worthwhile. The computer I'm looking at is the 13 inch 2.3 ghz as thats sufficient computer. 4mb of ram is fine. Don't know why you would need 8mb unless your kid is majoring in something thats very very heavy on the graphics etc..Also it comes with 500mb harddrive which is nice. The big seller to me is the warranty plan. Yes Macs are generally better built than windows but don't let the PR fool you. They still break, they still have problems , they still get viruses etc.. The plan offered thru the school is for 4 years of apple care (so it lasts thru college) and the repairs are done on campus with a loaner if necessary. To me thats a big deal. If she has a problem she doesnt have to ship it anywhere, wait until she gets home, look for an apple store etc.. Plus the loaner is nice if she's in a bind and need the computer at the same time it breaks. The cost difference is that the Maryland program will cost very slightly more for a better warranty. To me its worth it.</p>

<p>The one thing I will recommend to anyone getting a computer for their kid at college, is set it up for automatic backups of their wordprocessing programs and docs (and music and picts if possible) before handing it over. Arrange for an online back up service etc... Stuff happens and kids dont back up. They will bless you the day the bust it up, hard drive crashes etc.. and you can get their course materials back for them via the back up.</p>