There are a few things you should know about the ipad before getting one.
The battery is not user replaceable so when it no longer holds a charge, you will have to pay apple an arm and a leg for a new battery.
You cant type long messages on it
Wifi range is not very good compared to other wifi enabled mobile devices.
Apple is quick to drop support for old devices so when the next gen ipad comes out, support for older ones is already in the process of committing seppuku.
Ipad apps are generally more expensive even though they are not really any harder to make (it is more based on if you can afford an ipad then you can afford more expensive programs )
You are better off getting a laptop. especially if you are on a tight budget.
I helped a few friends who were starting college get a laptop and for the dorm room, a monitor, keyboard and mouse, and some speakers. so when they come back from school, they connect the laptop to the rest of the equipment and they can get a decent desktop experience.
For the price of an ipad, you can get a laptop that has a bigger screen, actual keyboard a screen that wont be obstructed with millions of finger smudges, USB ports, the ability to run the OS you want, including the mac OS if you are willing to spend the day installing it, and best of all, more memory and a CPU thats vastly faster.