First off, you need to understand terminology - a Notebook and a Laptop are the same thing. You may be thinking of the less expensive NETBook - which is sort of between a smartphone and a laptop - good for doing web surfing & lightweight stuff - but it's not a full fledged PC, like you might want for doing schoolwork, word processing, movie & picture processing etc... What you should do is determine what you want to do with a computer, what your budget to spend is - and then head down to your local bestbuy or whatever store is near you & try out a few - These days, the capabilities are so far advanced from what most people need - any one will do - but the ergonomics is what will determine whether or not you like it - e.g. how heavy is it? How big is it? are the keys arranged well for your use? How does it feel? These are the things you need to understand. If you will be lugging this thing all over campus, you don't want something that weighs 15 pounds. At some point, the decision needs to be yours - nobody can tell you what "best" is for you - only you can define "best" . You wouldn't buy a pair of jeans that didn't fit simply because I told you they werer the "best", would you? Get out there and play with some laptops & take notes of what you like & don't like - then shop around for price.