Buying A Computer For College

Many students and their parents seek advice when deciding what to do about bringing a computer to college. We hope the information in these pages helps you with your decision.

Should you bring a computer to campus?

Allegheny students are not required to bring a computer to campus. However, most students bring their own computer to campus. Generally, our students bring a laptop so they can take advantage of AC-Wireless, the wireless network, available in all academic buildings, Pelletier Library, Campus Center, Residence Halls, and the majority of outdoor common areas. A laptop gives you the freedom to study in many convenient locations.

Students that choose not to bring a personal computer to campus have access approximately 200 public use computers spread throughout campus in public and departmental computer labs.

What to buy?

Our public labs and faculty computers run the Windows operating system and the Office suite (Word, PowerPoint, Excel, Access). We recommend that computers being brought to campus run at least Windows 7 and MS Office for ease of file exchange with professors and compatibility with computers in public computer labs. Students may purchase Microsoft Office at discounted prices through

Students that prefer to bring a Mac to campus can do so knowing that it is compatible with our network and systems. We encourage you to purchase Microsoft Office for Mac to ease file exchange with peers and professors.

Do NOT buy antivirus software before coming to Allegheny. You will be required to uninstall any antivirus software on your computer when you get to campus and install Allegheny’s antivirus software, which is available for free download once you are on campus.

If purchasing a laptop keep in mind that they are more costly to repair than desktop computers. Also, their portability puts them in harms way more often than a desktop computer and makes them more susceptible to accidents. Because of this, we strongly recommend that every laptop brought to campus have 4 years parts and labor warranty and 4 years of accidental damage insurance. While these will add to the initial cost of the laptop, they will pay off in the long run. Accidents involving laptop computers are very common on a college campus-a spilled drink on keyboard, a book dropped on a laptop, someone stepping on a laptop left of a floor, or sitting on one left on a bed. An accidental damage policy will cover the repair of the laptop in any of these situations.

The laptop pictured here belongs to an Allegheny student who did not purchase accidental damage insurance. He’s hoping his tape “repair” will last through the rest of his college career. Don’t let the life span of your laptop depend on your skills with duct tape – buy accidental damage insurance!