Check with your academic division for recommendations on equipment and software.
If you are planning to purchase a new computer for your student, please think carefully about what computer capabilities, software and hardware will be appropriate for their academic program(s). Some of the academic divisions have outlined computer recommendations in order to better prepare their students.
- Student Technology Services
- College of Arts & Sciences
- Sam Fox School of Design & Visual Arts
- McKelvey School of Engineering
In general, most students who use a computer at the university will use it for note-taking, writing papers, research, listening to music, watching videos & movies, instant messaging, surfing the Internet, social media, and displaying/sharing photos.
For these types of users, any modern entry-line computer from mainstream computer manufacturers like Apple (Macbook), Dell, HP, or Lenovo is suitable.
Some students will have more advanced computing needs for a variety of reasons including computer gaming or coursework that requires computer programs with advanced needs. These users should do a more in-depth search online by entering a query like “recommended computer for [insert criteria]”. In general, users who find entry-level computers to be insufficient will do fine by moving up to a mid-level or higher-end computer from major computer manufacturers. Examples of these are the Apple Macbook Pro and Dell XPS M-Series.
The university does not have a preference of Macs over PCs or vice versa. You should decide to buy a computer that supports Mac OS X, Windows Vista, Windows XP, or any Linux distribution based on what you personally prefer. WashU students use it all, so whatever you decide to buy, you won’t be alone. The university also has nearly 6,000 computing stations on campus. If there is ever an instance when your computer is unable to perform a specific task, there are resources available that can.
Purchasing at the Campus Bookstore
At the Campus Store, WashU students always receive academic prices on the full selection of Apple computers, as well as special pricing on select Dell and Asus laptops. A variety of tablets are also available from Apple, Dell, Samsung, and Asus.
For further savings, ask about Back-to-School promotions from Apple, Dell, and Asus, and how you can participate in Missouri’s Tax Free Weekend, designated to be the first weekend in August.