While it is possible to do 3D modelling (Pro-E wildfire, Solidworks etc.) on a Radeon or GeForce, (I've tried it myself), the stability becomes a problem when you are working on big stuff as these cards aren't designed to handle the programs. These are purely consumer gaming cards.
The FirePro and Quadro are the workstation equivalents of the above. While at many times they use the same GPU, there are numerous changes during the design to optimize it for workstation use, stability being a prime factor.
As a student myself, I don't think you should be forking out your own money for a workstation grade graphics card. Unless you career involves such work, then perhaps the price is justified as it earns you money. Good workstation cards can run into the thousands of dollars. Perhaps you could get the school to upgrade their computer systems? I'm sure if you manage to get enough petitions, the school would be compelled to do something.
If you build you own desktop you could easily get double the performance over any i7 laptop for the same price.
Some workstation cards just dont like to play games but do 3d rendering second to none. Gaming cards are capable of doing rendering but they are very slow compared to their workstation counterparts but will handle gaming with ease.
Here is a site that has a lot of information and benchmarks of all kinds of laptop graphics cards. Some of the workstation versions, like the Quadro FX 880M have actual FPS results of people posting how good of FPS they got with that card. Its not a perfect site, not all the cards have FPS results for every game but it dose have "approximations" for many of the cards, I don't know realistically how accurate these approximations are. Hope this helps you out.