An iPad is not a necessity, but it does several things better than a laptop or an iPod. It is the best way to view the web, do email, watch videos, and read ebooks. I am also a student, and I use my iPad to do research, read books for class, and write my papers. It is also more portable than a laptop, so it's much easier to bring it to class. Keep in mind that there are a few limitations of the iPad, so if you don't already have a laptop it's not for you. But if you do have a laptop already, the iPad is a great tool for school, and is very fun and easy to use.