Technology Updates for First Year Students – Purchasing a Computer Posted on July 15th, 2014 by

The biggest question Technology Services is asked from incoming First Year students is about what computer to purchase. Here at Gustavus, students are not required to bring their own computers to campus, however most do. There are computers available for use in most residential halls, academic buildings, and in the library.

Along with this question, first year students want to know whether they should get a Macintosh or Windows computer.  It’s entirely up to you! The Technology Helpline supports both platforms. If you’re still unsure, you can always get to campus, try both platforms in the computer labs to see which you prefer and then make a decision. In 2013, 50% of incoming First Year students brought a Macintosh computer with the other 50% brought a Windows-based machine.

A rising trend that we are seeing more and more of at Gustavus is the use of tablets. Students bring these instead of a laptop and then use a lab computer if they need a larger screen for typing larger documents or using major-specific software.

Another question we get asked often is whether or not students need to bring their own printers. Students do not need to bring their own printers. There are printers in every residence hall and computer lab on campus that students can set up to print from their personal machine. Each student can print 600 “printing units” every academic year at no extra cost. Most often this is enough for each student, but if the need arises, they can simply can add money to their printing account through our print release web page (

Hopefully this answers all your questions about whether or not to purchase a computer. A helpful resource for any other questions about this that you may have is this wiki page: This web page has some minimum and recommended specification guidelines as well.

If this still does not answer your question do not hesitate to call the Helpline at 507-933-6111 or email us at

We can’t wait to see you this fall!

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