My DH is in tech services at a T1 school. He recommended that I get a minimum 2.0 gig processor, 40 gig hard drive, 512 megs ram.
Also, his school requires a floppy drive to take exams on the computer. I did not purchase this with my computer, as it can be purchased seperately for much less, but you might check with your school to see if you will need a floppy drive.
I just got my computer in today. I ordered a Dell Inspiron 600m, 1.5 gHz Pentium 4M (Centrino--supposed to be 2x speed of regular pentium chips and give longer battery life), 60 Gig HD (free upgrade) 512 megs RAM. I paid about $1600. It may be overkill, but I want it to last 3 years, and the extended battery life on the Centrino sold me.