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Pros and Cons of Using an iPad Pro for University

One of the most important parts of school is taking notes. Everyone does it differently and when you’re just starting university it can be a little hard to figure out which method works best for you. Personally, I love to hand write my notes, but find it annoying to carry around notebooks and a laptop, which I need to access online class materials. That’s why I’ve started using an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil along with an app called Notability, which is where I keep all of my notes. Having used it for awhile I’ve learned a few things, so here are a few pros and cons of using this method of note taking!

Pros

1. Everything in One Place

With technology becoming more and more integrated in our learning, it is important to have the ability to access any online materials that the professor may have for you. This is why I LOVE having the iPad Pro and Notability, because with them I can import lecture slides and other readings right into my notes! Another great feature of Notability is being able to have separate folders for each class. This way I can quickly access notes for a specific class without having to look through every single note I’ve ever written.

2. Easy to Carry

There’s nothing worse than having to walk across campus with a heavy backpack. Since the iPad Pro is much smaller and thinner than any laptop, it makes my bag so much lighter, leaving more space for other things I might need like snacks and water. Never again will I carry multiple notebooks along with everything else in my bag!

3. No More Messy Notes

I don’t know about you, but I was constantly crossing out and erasing things from my notes. Whether I wrote down the wrong word or couldn’t copy down the whole sentence before the professor changed the slide, my notes were not pretty. With the iPad Pro, I can quickly and easily erase any mistakes with one simple tap. Notability also offers a wide array of pen and highlighter colors that you can switch between.

​4. Easy Note Sharing

Whether you miss a class or your friend does, note sharing is something you’re bound to do. With the iPad Pro, it’s easy to share a copy of your notes with anyone via multiple channels. In Notability it’s easy to export notes using Facebook Messenger, email, iMessage, Dropbox, and many, many more.

Cons

1. Expensive AF

Now, we’re all university students here and I know that money is tight. However, if you’re able to afford it, here’s an estimate of how much this will cost you:

  • iPad Pro – $839 (this is for the 10.5 inch model, with 64GB, and Wi-Fi. This price can be upwards of over $1000 depending on what options you choose and if you add warranty to it.)                          
  • Apple Pencil – $115 
  • Notability App – $13.99          

The prices listed above are with the student discount that Apple offers on some of their products. When I went into the store to buy mine, they just asked me to sign into Canvas to prove that I was a student. Also keep in mind that you can use multiple different apps to take notes, but Notability works best for me.

2. Remember to Charge

This method of notes is great until you realize you forgot to charge your iPad before you went to bed. And, especially at SFU, you can’t always rely on lecture halls having outlets near you. As long as you charge your iPad Pro the night before, you can always use it to charge your Apple Pencil (according to Apple, 15 seconds of charging equals 30 minutes of battery life!). 

3. Getting Acquainted

As with anything, it will take a little bit of time to be fully adjusted to this style of taking notes. I find that zooming in and out of the page makes it easier for me to write cleanly within the lines. Also, if you want to scroll up and down the page with your Apple Pencil, you have to remember to hit the little hand button at the bottom of the screen in Notability, otherwise you  end up drawing a long line through your notes.

4. Not Everyone is Accepting

Although it’s rare to come by, there are still some professors and TA’s that don’t like technology in the classroom. I’ve found this more in my tutorials where the TA will ban the use of electronics, but honestly this is hard to come by. And if it is a problem they may allow you to use it if you explain that you’re only looking at your notes. 

Overall, this method of note taking may not be for everyone. I encourage everyone who is even slightly considering this option to do some more research. There are tons of videos on YouTube explaining how to use the Notability app, as well as other people’s experiences with using the iPad Pro and Apple Pencils for school. No matter how you take notes, I wish you a successful and happy semester!

**Her Campus at SFU is in no way affiliated with Apple Inc. 

Taylor is a second year student at SFU. When she's not at school or writing for Her Campus she likes to go to concerts, watch old school TV shows, and occasionally make videos for her YouTube channel. You can find her online @taylorcarsonnn.
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