We receive quite a few calls from concerned parents or incoming students who are nervous about buying a computer for college.  Hopefully, this article will put you at ease. It is not as scary or daunting as it may seem!  Technology has continued to advance and basically any new computer you might purchase should handle the needs associated with a college education. Today's computers typically come equipped with a wireless card, and adequate hard drive storage.

We are an Apple-based campus meaning all new systems purchased for our labs and employees are Macs.  This decision was based on the flexibility of running either Mac OS or Windows on the systems, reliability, longevity, and total cost of ownership due to repairs and support.  While Greenville University utilizes these systems, it DOES NOT mean that you must purchase a Mac as well. You are free to purchase from any vendor you wish.  The information provided below contains recommendations based on our experiences and can be used as a guide.


As a student, you qualify for available education discounts.  If you prefer to purchase a Mac, click on the link below to order and take advantage of applicable discounts. If you prefer to order from another manufacturer, be sure to inquire about any available education discounts.

Greenville University's Apple Store for Education


Operating system
El Capitan (10.11) or above
Windows 7 or above
8Gb minimum
8Gb minimum
Hard Drive size
256GB minimum SSD or HDD
250GB minimum SSD or HDD
Processor Speed
2Gb Dual-Core minimum
2Gb Dual-Core minimum


  • An external USB drive for backing up documents. This is an optional consideration since there are many cloud solutions (such as Google Drive, iCloud, or Dropbox) available for backing up papers and critical files.
  • A USB flash drive.  USB flash drives are inexpensive, and more convenient than full sized external drives for transferring small files or taking to a lab to print off a paper for class.
  • Surge protector. To protect your investments, we highly recommend purchasing a surge protector for your room to which you can connect your computer and other peripherals. This will guard against power surges when there are storms in the area, or when we encounter a power outage. It is well-documented how squirrels in the city of Greenville routinely sacrifice their bodies on transformers around campus...well, if it isn't well-documented, let's just say you have now been warned!
  • Personal printers are definitely an optional item. Some students prefer to have one in their room for convenience, however, it should be noted we provide a number of laser printers in our campus labs for student use.  Students are provided 500 free printed pages per semester and 250 over interterm and summer term. More and more instructors are moving away from printed papers and requesting students to submit electronically as we attempt to be green-conscious, and for their own efficiency. Wi-fi enabled printers are not guaranteed to work on our campus network. You will most likely need to connect the printer via USB cable.


The majority of our students will be using their computers for internet access, word processing, and entertainment. These elements can be accomplished on either a Mac or PC. If you are planning on focusing on one of the following areas as part of your education, you may want to inquire with one of the professors or the department to determine if they have additional recommendations based on the curriculum or software used in their disciplines:

  • Digital Media
  • Graphic Design
  • Audio Engineering
  • Game Design
  • Commercial Music
  • CIS

Microsoft Office is a popular word processing suite used by students, and many use the free Google Docs app. Google Docs is a great choice because a free Google Drive (with unlimited storage) account is included with every student email account. Microsoft offers their Office 365 Suite for free to students for four years. Some students also take advantage of the free word processor suite OpenOffice .

The heavy use of computers on campus can take a toll on the hardware as students transport from dorm room to class and other locations on campus. We recommend looking at extended warranties for your investment.  Typically, the standard warranty may be 90 days up to 1 year.  You might want to look at 3 and 4 year warranties to cover issues that might arise with your new computer.