Laurie just needs a basic laptop for checking email, doing homework, surfing in the cloud. Leo says that if she doesn't need special software, a Chromebook is ideal. They are less expensive and more secure. But if she has to run a specific program, then she needs a Windows Machine for that. Then Leo recommends either the HP, Dell, or Lenovo. All three make solid machines and stand by them. HPs are thin and light with excellent battery life. If tough on the hardware, then the Lenovo Thinkpad is built like a tank. Dell is in the middle.
Some budget laptops can be found by Asus and Acer. So it largely depends on what she wants and how much she wants to spend. If she has to save money, then she will want to look at the consumer-grade laptops. But if she wants durable daily drivers, then Leo recommends spending a little more for a professional line laptop.
Leo recommends the HP Spectre line. The Lenovo Thinkpad. The Dell XPS. Stick with an i5 model. A quality computer is going to cost about $1200-1400.
What size? A 14" laptop will work fine. Outside of that, she can always get a cheap external monitor to leave at home. Laptops can support that.
The Lenovo Ideapad Slim 7 is another good one.
Will they come with Office installed? Leo says no. The office is a subscription service now, about $79 a month. Not a bad price.