I have a Dell Inspiron E1505. Very nice laptop. I have no problems and performances are really nice. All my family have Dell computers and everybody is satisfied.
For you, going to college, you'll want a lighter laptop than my E1505. Try to look at the E1405. I has the same components than the E1505 but with only an integrated graphics solution, which is good for you because it saves battery life. You should invest in a 9-cell battery also.
HP makes also good quality laptops.
See also Toshiba and Lenovo ( more oriented throught business, but Lenovo makes very nice products and maybe has the best warranty ).
I am looking to buy a notebook for college and I am unsure on differnt issues. What kind of specs should I get for simple computing(word, internet,music,videos,movies, and maybe powerpoint)? I am not planning to play games on it or video/picture editing. Also, should i go with HP, Dell or Compaq?