Purchasing a Computer

The College has agreements with Dell and Apple that provide all Students, Faculty, and Staff the opportunity to purchase computers at a discount. Since the College is not directly involved in these sales programs, all customer service issues must be handled directly with the manufacturer.

Should I buy a specific computer for a particular major?

If you are considering an Engineering major, please see this post for the latest recommendations.

Although some disciplines tend to favor one operating system over another there are no specific computer recommendations for particular majors. Most discipline-related applications will be available to students on academic department lab machines or online via Amazon AppStream.

Are there suggested minimum specifications?

ITS recommends you configure a computer similar to those offered on the Apple and Dell sites above. If you are configuring your own system you should pay special attention to how pricing relates to the processor speed, memory (RAM), storage capacity, display, and warranty coverage options.

ITS recommends your purchase a computer with the latest version of Windows or macOS and give serious consideration to webcam/speaker capability.

Do I need to have my computer insured or purchase an extended warranty?

Students are responsible for insuring their computer systems. Many homeowner policies will cover a computer at no additional cost; some coverage is contingent on it being specifically itemized on the policy. Check with your insurance carrier for the specifics of your policy.

If purchasing a computer, think about the warranty. If you plan on making your computer last 3-4 years, purchase a 3-4 year warranty. You may want to make sure the warranty covers things like damage from spills and falls from the desk to the floor. If purchasing a laptop, look for the extended/complete warranty that covers spills and other accidents as well as screen damage.

Can I have it shipped directly to the college?

The College post office will not accept deliveries for new students until one week before the start of the term. If you cannot bring your new computer with you, make sure the shipper will not deliver it until after you have arrived on campus. If it arrives too early, it will be refused.


As a member of AICUP (Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Pennsylvania), the College can offer Students, Faculty, and Staff discounts on software purchases through JourneyEd.

In addition, there is software licensed by the College that extends the license to faculty, staff, and students.  Amazon AppStream is a service that provides a virtual instance of various academic lab environments on campus.

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