Gretchen from San Antonio, Texas is in her first semester of graduate nursing school. She wants a computer that will last at least three years. I recommended the MacBook Air, which is still the value leader with its $999 starting price.
I would argue that the MacBook Air gives you more bang for your buck in terms of performance than the 13-inch MacBook Pro. Yes, the 13-inch Pro gives you longer battery life, but it may not be enough to justify the $1,299 price.
I also told Gretchen that if she often deals with computers breaking down, she should purchase AppleCare, which provides two or three years of hardware coverage, depending on the product.