Our Drop Box Lockers are now available to carriers and retailers worldwide

Our Blog

How to Safely Ship a Laptop to College Students

The continued impact of the COVID virus and its variants have led to a variety of hybrid learning models and fueled the need for laptops for students. Here’s a primer on the importance of connectivity for today’s college students and how to safely ship a laptop to college students.

The Pressing Need for Laptops & Connectivity

Even with in-person classes, a reliance on electronic homework, projects, and apps can create a gap between students with laptops and stable Wi-Fi and those without. Colleges and universities across the country are stepping up to better serve their student population, particularly given the challenges posed by ongoing hybrid or remote learning during the pandemic.

Ohio State University, for example, shipped its 36,000 undergraduate students an iPad for the third consecutive year1. And Lewis University created Wi-Fi zones in parking lots and outdoor spaces to meet safety concerns. As LeRoy Butler, CIO at Lewis University, explains: “It gives [students] a way to safely access resources on campus without going into the buildings.”

Shipping Laptops Requires Extra TLC – Tender Labeling Care

As universities have learned, laptop shipping requires extra care. The most important item to note is that a laptop contains a lithium-ion battery. Since a lithium battery (in this case a laptop battery) is classified as dangerous goods due to its chemistries, cathodes, and electrolytes, the laptop’s outer box must clearly indicate its presence.

And, if you’re wondering “what’s the big deal with a lithium-ion battery”? A damaged battery can become an electrical and chemical hazard causing burns, shock, and extreme heat. The IATA (International Air Transport Association) requires any shipping box containing lithium-ion batteries to have a durable shipping label applied to display the correct information and warnings to ensure the safety of those handling or exposed to the item in transit2. This shipping label must be printed on synthetic materials that are tear- and scratch-resistant and have a resilient adhesive tape necessary for various climate conditions and environments3,4. (Whew!) Plus, you should use a fragile sticker to label your package.

Of course, shipping a laptop computer also requires the right packaging, including bubble wrap or foam packing peanuts. You’ll also need packing tape and two boxes: one for the laptop (original packaging typically works well for this) and another, larger box to protect the boxed laptop during shipment. The inner box should be surrounded with bubble wrap or packing peanuts to ensure that the laptop box is secure. Check on the security of your cushioning by gently shaking the box; if you can’t hear anything moving, you are probably safe.

Picking the Right Courier

After the packaging, bubble wrapping, labeling, and safety warnings, it’s time to pick a courier based upon shipping cost, bulk discounts, and speed. Package delivery services like FedEx, UPS, and the United Postal Service all offer reasonable options. Most of the time, you’ll find that priority mail or a flat-rate, medium cardboard box offered by the post office will meet your needs.

Don’t forget to add insurance. You can protect your investment on these laptops by not just accepting the “standard” insurance, but also the replacement value. This ensures you can get your money back in the event of theft or logistics-related issues; it’s estimated that 5-15% of shipments never reach their final destination due to these issues5.

Campus Hub™ – the Smarter Solution for Distributing Laptops, Documents, and More

If you’re overwhelmed by the steps required for safely shipping a laptop, you are not alone. Major universities across the country have embraced Parcel Pending by Quadient’s Campus Hub to provide a safe and secure distribution system for students, faculty, and staff. Rollins College, Mount San Jacinto College, Scripps College, University of Colorado Springs, and Indian River State College have all adopted the Campus Hub.

A Campus Hub delivery model is one of the best ways to improve student life on campus. Although originally developed specifically for packages, today smart lockers for college can function as a vital connection between administrators and students – distributing packages as well as keys, parking passes, books, electronic devices (like a laptop), documents, and much more.  

Rob Zinsky, National Director, Higher Education at Parcel Pending by Quadient, predicts parcel lockers will provide the solution for distributing all kinds of things on campus, giving users the ability to avoid lines and face-to-face contact. He refers to this transformation as a Campus Hub, “an exchange point for different items, outside of mail and packages.”

Innovative uses for Parcel Pending’s smart lockers include:

  • Library Books – Instead of students walking to the library and retrieving a book in-person, library staff place the requested loan items into a secure locker with zero interaction
  • Sporting Events – Prohibited items brought to a game are simply locked and secured until the game’s end.
  • Event Tickets: Tickets for sporting events and other student activities are distributed via smart lockers to minimize lines and contact with ticket agents.
  • Bookstore Merchandise: Modernizing the college bookstore experience with smart lockers allows for clothing, books, electronic devices, gifts, and more t be retrieved with zero face-to-face interaction..
  • Electronics: Laptops, tablets, and other school-owned devices are safely distributed.
  • Class Equipment: Items distributed in classrooms are safely returned through the smart locker.
  • On-Campus Dining: Here’s an appetizer idea: A student places a meal order online via the university’s dining software and then picks it up at the locker.
  • Move-in/Move-out Materials: Items such as keys, ID cards, welcome packets, and other important school materials are easily shared with students via smart lockers.

Universities have reaped cost savings and efficiencies by embracing Parcel Pending’s smart lockers. When the University of Florida Housing Department installed its lockers, the campus saved a startling 20 hours per week in human capital with the switch. At Ohio University, administrators estimate that almost one hour is saved every day by integrating Parcel Pending by Quadient’s WTS (Web Tracking System). And, at University College Oxford, “stale packages” have virtually been eliminated as now more than 90% of parcels are picked up within three days of delivery.

​​If you’re ready to kick the thought of shipping laptops to the curb, now’s the time to implement a Campus Hub™. To contact a Parcel Pending by Quadient representative, contact us here or complete the form below.


  1. Stone, Adam. EdTech. How Higher Ed Is Improving Technology Access for Underserved Students. (2021, February 20). https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2021/02/how-higher-ed-improving-technology-access-underserved-students.
  2. Smith Corona. Your Durable Label Applications. (n.d.). https://www.smithcorona.com/blog/durable-label-applications/.
  3. Smith Corona. Polypropylene Labels – Everything You Need to Know. (n.d.). https://www.smithcorona.com/blog/polypropylene-bopp-labels/.
  4. Smith Corona. Our Smith Corona Label Adhesives. (n.d.). https://www.smithcorona.com/blog/our-smith-corona-label-adhesives/.
  5. Ortolani, Alexandra. EasyShip. How to Ship a Laptop. (2021, October 13). https://www.easyship.com/blog/how-to-ship-a-laptop#how-to-package-laptops-for-shipping.