Most of the time I would choose Apple over a PC, but for school there is a chance you might be required to use a PC. Although Apple is becoming more common and more acceptable, as most needs should be covered by Apple.
But DELL? Choose a different PC if you can't use Apple.
If you choose a laptop, go Toshiba. Best PC bar none..by a longshot. If you decide on a desktop, choose between Sony or IBM. If you want a top performer with games and audio, Sony always excels. Otherwise IBM might be the best value.
AND now a word on Dell:
I've been very unhappy with Dell in many facets and will not go back to them. Good Luck if you ever need any help with Dell support since they don't speak English. Yes they made headlines 3 years ago because they withdrew some of their support from India. ''Dell said it would stop routing some customer-support requests to call centers in India after customers complained about the quality of service'' Since at that time 100%, let me say that again, 100 PERCENT of their customer service was routed overseas.
AND then they added Panama, to handle a chunk of that support they pulled from India, of course. Makes perfect sense! Right?? That way they can get the media to give them great publicity for pulling a small amount of their support from India. Thus making people believe all their support was being pulled from overseas. And if you were actually clever enough to understand only a small portion of their overseas support was being pulled, that you were still duped into believing that all the support being pulled would be replaced with American workers and not Panamanian ones. Michael Dell didn't become a billionaire for no reason, he's good.
So Dell stopped having Indians take your credit card # because they thought they were losing sales. So basically they determined that once they have your business then it was ok to have hard to understand overseas Indians and Panamanians hired at twenty cents an hour address your technical or billing problems. Thus making it alright for your calls to be sent overseas to take your credit card for the incorrect amount they overbilled you, because, of course, they already have your business. They just don't want to lose your sale upfront because of their overseas support...err or lack thereof.
Oh! And lest I forget! Dell, those savvy devils, now has the Indians and Panamanians adopt American names to give the appearance that your calls are received within the U.S. (like the thick accents that makes them impossible to understand isn't a dead giveaway). But they're CHEAPER!
Don't take my word on this, take consumer reports who rates the Apple as number one and then Sony and IBM for the desktop or Toshiba for the laptop consistently well in every category yearly. Once again, the Dell discounts don't come without a cost!