Student Wireless Laptop Requirements
Student Wireless Laptop Requirements
Missouri School of Journalism undergraduate students who began their studies at MU after the fall semester 2005 are required to have wireless laptop computers. To meet this requirement:
- Each year, the school recommends two or three configurations for all entering freshmen and graduate students. The minimum recommended configuration is a wireless laptop computer with the Microsoft Office suite of software.
- Additional software may be required in some specialties by the time students reach the junior year or in specific graduate areas of emphasis. Photojournalism majors, for example, will need to purchase Photoshop, a program for toning photographs for publication.
- Students are encouraged to acquire wireless laptop technology from Apple, which the School has designated as its preferred provider, but students also will have a choice of a Windows-based alternative. Last year, 99.5 percent of incoming students chose the Apple option.
- The base-level student computer configuration, including software, will cost $1,400 or less. More expensive models with more features will be available for those students who desire additional software and technological capabilities.
- Students will be given financing options to amortize the cost over four semesters through TigerTech at University Bookstore, Brady Commons. Students with documented need (as determined through the FAFSA filing process) may include the cost in financial aid packages.
Q. What exactly is required?
A. The minimum is a wireless laptop with Microsoft Office installed. Most of the MU campus has easy wireless access.
Q. What brand or model should I buy?
A. The faculty has designated Apple Computer as its preferred provider for two primary reasons: (1) Apple’s OS X operating system is based on Unix, which makes these computers far less susceptible to viruses than other computers. Viruses are a serious problem on university campuses. (2) Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro computers come bundled with iLife, a suite of applications ideal for learning the basics of photo editing, and audio and video editing. We’ll use those programs in several classes. Incoming students will receive information on recommended models and pricing in February of each year.
Q. What if I prefer a Windows-based machine?
A. That’s an option, but it’s one we do not recommend unless you plan to make a career of computer-assisted reporting. By the time you purchase photo, audio and video software for a PC, you probably will have spent more than you would if buying a comparable Apple Computer. Buy a PC if you prefer to do so, but make sure it is wireless and has Microsoft Office. Almost 100 percent of last year’s freshmen chose Apple computers.
Q. Should I buy one now or wait?
A. We strongly recommend that you wait and buy through TigerTech (formerly Computer Spectrum) at the University Bookstore. We have arranged for special low pricing from Apple, and that’s where you’ll almost certainly get the best deal. TigerTech also will be offering bundles with a three-year warranty, which we highly recommend. Our intention is to send you information about how to order after the first of the year, and you should place your order with TigerTech by April 30 to ensure delivery when you come to campus for Summer Welcome. About 90 percent of incoming freshmen attend Summer Welcome, and we recommend that you do so. However, if you don’t attend Summer Welcome, you can pick up your computer the week before school begins in August.
Q. Why can’t I get information about models and pricing earlier?
A. Apple regularly refreshes its product line and changes prices. We want to make sure you start with the latest model. If you were to order now, you almost certainly will be buying a model that will be fine – but not the latest – by next fall. Information about current models and prices at the TigerTech website should give you a good indication of what to expect.
Q. Will this computer suffice for all four years?
A. It will. However, a three- or four-year-old computer sometimes frustrates the user. Some current students have told us they are buying less-expensive models now with plans to upgrade in the junior year. And remember that many students today take more than four years to complete college. Think about your likely needs.
Q. Can I get financial aid help to purchase the computer?
A. Possibly. If you qualify for financial aid through the federal FAFSA process, the cost of the computer can be included in your expected expenses. That’s because the computer is required. If it were not required, you could not include this expense. Work with the Office of Financial Aid, which is aware that journalism students will be required to make this purchase.
Q. Are financing plans available?
A. Yes. TigerTech can arrange for you to pay off the cost of the computer over four semesters (two years). Ask for details.
Q. What if I am a Pre-Journalism major in the College of Arts and Science and not a directly admitted Journalism student? Am I still required to have the computer?
A. The requirement applies to both groups because you will be using the computer in freshman orientation activities and in your introductory news-writing class. Soon, we will not place desktop computers in writing labs, so students will have to own a computer to take our classes. Even if you change majors, we’re confident that you will make good use of the computer. It’s an extremely useful device for any college student.
Additional resources/information available at TigerTech, University Bookstore.