I'm on the same boat ..I got 3 options ...(tigerdirect), (newegg) or just buy one from Dell (xps laptop) and make monthly payments.
those are the brands I'm trying to decide ..
to be honest the laptop is for my wife she mostly only surfs the net, get into Facebook, watch YouTube, read kindle books , and needs to read word documents and .pdf files ...she does not play games (except the ones on YouTube or google). And she likes screens size less than 15 inches ..the more portable and bulky the better ...
So the one I posted is inadequate for college work?
By the way this isn't solved....so if someone could remove that, that would be great!
For $300, you will get some laptop which will work. Don't expect fast, light, with great battery product.
I would not bet it will work (or it will be adequate for what you will need) in four years of college.
I would rather save another $200, to move into $500 price range, where choice is much wider, and laptops much better.
From what it sounds like you want out of the laptop -- you're not going to find this in a $300 new laptop. Used will be your best bet. It's like buying a car, a lot of the times you will find a used one that's just as good for a lot less. Brands to look for are Asus, Dell, and Lenovo. Lenovo tends to have the best build quality. Asus sometimes gives you slightly better hardware but makes up for it in lower quality build (though this isn't always bad, not everyone needs Thinkpad quality!). Dell often is a mix of the two, meeting somewhere in the middle.
Of course, this isn't for all models and it comes down to you needing to watch proper reviews, preferably video reviews, of whatever model you're looking at before you make the decision to purchase it. It often comes down to comparison of models, NOT brands.
Now, with that being said, I was recently looking to purchase a new laptop and ended on this one: