The School of Education does not currently require that its students own a computer. However, specific programs within SOE do have their own technology requirements. Be sure to find out if there are any computer requirements in your program before making a computer purchase.
For those who choose not to buy a computer at this time, the university maintains several general-use computing sites on Central and North Campuses, which have both Macintosh and Windows computers available for student use.
For those who choose to purchase a personal computer, the U-M Computer Showcase offers an excellent selection of computer packages. You may also purchase computers directly from manufacturers' websites (see the Our Vendor Partners section of the Showcase home page for links to manufacturers offering educational pricing) or from retail locations in and around Ann Arbor.
Things to think about before purchasing a computer:
With the growth of wireless access across the U-M campus and the more frequent need to use computers during class, you may want to consider purchasing a laptop computer for its ease of portability and its flexibility.
Personal preferences play an important role in selecting one computer over another. If you already prefer one interface or platform, there is probably no reason to change. Both Macintosh and Windows machines will do e-mail, word processing, web browsing, etc. Be sure to check manufacturer specifications for minimum and recommended hardware requirements for best performance. Also check whether the software you need or want to use is available for your platform choice.
Newer Macintosh computers are capable of running Windows operating systems in emulation mode, using Apple or third-party software. If you choose to do this, you will need to buy software for both the Macintosh and Windows sides of the computer. No matter which platform you choose, please remember that it is your responsibility to ensure that the computer you use can run the software required for your coursework.
When you are weighing costs, keep in mind that more expensive computers do not necessarily ensure that you are getting what you need and that less expensive computers are not necessarily lacking in quality. The best plan is to purchase only the computing capabilities that you need or will use. For example, if you use your computer for e-mail, writing papers and doing research on the web, a modestly priced computer should be more than adequate. However, if you need to run demanding applications such as video editing, image manipulation, 3D rendering or to perform intensive scientific computations, you will benefit from a faster computer with more memory.
For those who choose to purchase a personal computer, the School of Education suggests the following general specifications:
|Operating System||Windows XP Pro or Windows 7 Ultimate||Apple OS 10.6x (Snow Leopard) or higher|
|Processor||Dual core or higher||Dual core or higher|
|Memory (RAM)||4GB minimum||4GB minimum|
|External Hard Drive||500GB minimum||500GB minimum|
|Warranty||3-4 years complete care||3-4 years complete care|
In addition to adequate processor speed, RAM and on-board storage, be sure to include some form of removable storage for backups. The most important advice we can give you is to always make backup copies of your work, so that if your computer dies the day before a paper is due you can finish your work at one of the public sites and always, always, always use antivirus software and keep it up-to-date. Antivirus software is available free of charge to all U-M staff, faculty and students (download it from the U-M Blue Disc site).