Is my device up to the task?
Chromebooks are incompatible with a lot of software packages commonly used on campus: Office (i.e. Word, Excel, PowerPoint), the stats suite R, or Mathematica. Chromebooks can connect to the wireless and wired networks, as well as print to Carleton printers. Nevertheless, expect to make liberal use of the public campus labs.
Tablets running a full-featured version of the Windows operating system, such as the Microsoft Surface line of machines, can be great replacements for laptops. Even budget Windows devices that cost under $200 can provide a basic level of productivity since they can install Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, PowerPoint), browse the web, access your Carleton Gmail, etc.
However, devices that run iOS or Android often have severe drawbacks. They can, in most cases, connect to the Carleton network. They often cannot print or install important software. Similar to Chromebooks, if your personal machine is a tablet expect to make liberal use of the public campus labs.
Macbooks and PCs
If your machine can access the internet, load basic web-based software (e.g. Netflix or Gmail), and you are comfortable with its ability to perform productivity tasks (e.g. typing documents, reading email, and accessing the web), you should be able to continue using your machine at Carleton. Devices running Mac OS X or Windows 7 and up are most likely to be compatible. You may need to rely on the campus lab machines for more strenuous tasks. For machines with poor battery life, please note that there is no guarantee you will have access to a wall outlet during class.