You have an assignment due at midnight, or a quiz you have to take to stay on track – but all of a sudden your computer screen goes black.
Every student dreads the moment their computer quits on them. It's especially unpleasant when you have an assignment due in three hours or a professor who isn't terribly understanding. You start going through the stages of grief but get stuck somewhere between denial and anger. How could this be happening? At the worst possible time, too.
If you're having trouble with your computer, you can try a few things before you panic.
This may seem like a silly question, but it's the first thing you should check. There may be a problem with a power cable or battery that's preventing the computer from getting the power it needs to boot. Make sure all of your cables are snug and free of damage. If you're using a laptop with a removable battery, make sure the battery is seated correctly. If you have an extra power cable, plug it in to see if it fixes the problem.
This is a joke among IT professionals, but it solves a surprising number of problems. Periodically rebooting your computer helps with lagging and memory issues that can cause freezing or crashing. If your computer is already frozen, you can do a hard reboot by holding down the power button for 10-15 seconds. This should force your computer to restart.
Is there an error message on the screen when you attempt to boot your computer? Is anything beeping? Make a note of error codes and beeps, and use your phone, tablet, or another available device to find out what they mean, and even how to fix your computer. These notifications could indicate that you need something as simple as a software or firmware update.
No one likes asking for help, but lucky for you, there are IT specialists out there waiting for your call. Whether you choose to go with Geek Squad, Apple Support, or Mick's Computer Repair, they should be able to give you an idea of what's wrong with your computer and what it'll take to fix it. Your computer may even be under warranty, depending on how old it is and the kind of protection you purchased.
This may be an intimidating thought. Computers can be expensive to purchase and time-consuming to research. If you're not able to pay for a computer out-of-pocket you may be eligible for a rental laptop from MedCerts. Students enrolled in certain programs or utilizing certain types of funding may be eligible for a laptop for the length of their MedCerts program.
MedCerts also has a loaner program. Approval is based on need and at the discretion of the Director of Programs or the Director of Admissions, but approved students are given a new or used laptop to use for the duration of their program. They're required to sign an agreement, and at the end of their program, they're able to either send the laptop back to MedCerts or purchase it for the depreciated price.
Being without a computer is tough, but it's possible that not all hope is lost. If these few simple fixes don't solve the problem, there are still options, and you may even be able to get a free laptop while you're in school.
Julie Campos is the Senior Director of Operations and Student Success at MedCerts. She brings over 14 years of experience in Online Higher Education in both Student Support and Enrollment and started her career at the University of Phoenix, serving most of her tenure as a student-facing leader.
Julie has her Bachelors of Liberal Arts in Political Science from the University of Texas at El Paso, and her Masters in Business Administration from the University of Phoenix. Her areas of expertise are student support in online higher education environments and working with nontraditional students. At MedCerts, she is focused on creating a pro-active student central support model for MedCerts students to reach their goals and has developed the MedCerts Student Support and Outreach Model, created MedCerts Student Success Advisor reports and Dashboards, as well as the Student Success Advisor Playbook. Her proactive approach to student support has been crucial in meeting MedCerts’ student’s needs, as well as completion and certification goals.
Julie has three children – a 10-year-old son and 12- and 4-year-old daughters, who keep her and her husband busy with sports. She is also an avid crafter with an entire room of her home dedicated to the hobby. In her free time, she enjoys teaching wreath making and even has a few “how-to” YouTube videos on the subject!