Im looking for a laptop around $1200. The biggest problem im having is finding one with a quad core i7 and 16gb of ram. Most of them come with gpus and i dont really need one to be honest as i already have a pc for that. I will be using this laptop for college and most of the work is going to be programming. Another thing is what gen i7 to get? the 4th or 5th? Or would it be smart to wait until skylake is in laptops. I would also consider buying refurbished/used
4th or 5th generation does not really matter.
If you want better battery life then you might wait for skylake, but it will take some time for them to actually be sold in stores (and not for excesive price tags).
You are not going to find the quad core i7 without getting a gaming laptop unfortunately.
I would just try to find one with the quad core you want that is good quality, then upgrade it yourself to 16gb for cheaper.
If you don't need dvd drive much then I would get an ssd drive and put the orginal hdd in a caddy in the dvd drive.
The Lenovo y50 and asus rog are both good laptops that you could get with an i7 and add some upgrades to with your $1200 budget