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I was just accepted and will be looking for a new laptop as well.  I am in the same situation and do not plan to use a macbook unless it is highly suggested. I also like the microsoft surface mainly because of the versatility.

This is what my program suggests:


  • Modern, network-aware operating system
    • Windows 7 or above, Mac OS Mavericks or above
  • WiFi Wireless network capability
    • 802.11n is strongly recommended
  • Sound capable with headphone jack
  • At least one USB port
  • Long life battery*
  • Printer


  • Malware protection
    • Current, fully-patched operating system
    • Anti-virus software installed and up to date
    • Anti-spyware software installed and up to date
  • Modern, standards-compliant Web browser
    • Google Chrome, Vivaldi, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, Safari, or Opera are good choices.
  • Standards-based email client
    • Must be capable of accessing campus email.
    • Some students may wish to use the campus email exclusively.
  • Standard "run time" environment for Java programs
  • Software to read/write Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats
  • Ability to read PDF files

* Laptop batteries have a limited life span. It is very common for students to experience less than one hour battery life. This is a sign that the battery is old and should be replaced. Given the length of the school day, we strongly encourage students to replace old, failing batteries; and invest in a second spare battery. The Lithium ion (LiON) battery type is preferred.

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