Purchasing a Computer

Do I need to bring a computer to Bethany Lutheran College?

There are no classes that require students to have their own computer. The college provides computer labs for student use in Meyer Hall, Honsey Hall, the Student Union, and throughout the library. The lab computers have standard productivity software and any specialized software students need for class assignments. Most students choose to bring their own computers, and you are encouraged to do so, but it is not necessary.

Should I purchase a desktop or notebook computer?

A desktop computer and monitor typically costs $200 to $500 less than a comparably-equipped notebook computer, and is usually cheaper and easier to repair and upgrade. If you wish to purchase a desktop computer, they can often be found relatively cheaply at most retailers in a package that includes a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and speakers. However, most students choose to bring a notebook computer for portability.

As a student, you qualify for academic pricing on a computer. Sites like JourneyEd.com and Microsoft Webstore are a good place to start, both Dell and Apple have academic stores, and numerous other computer vendors also offer academic pricing.

Is wireless access available?

Yes. Wireless networking is available in all residence halls and in most areas of the academic buildings.

I want to bring a Windows PC to campus. What kind should I bring?

A computer capable of comfortably running Windows Vista, 7, or 8 will meet your computing needs during your time at Bethany. If you wish to purchase a new computer, we recommend a processor with a speed of 2.4 Ghz or faster, 4 GB of RAM or more, and hard drive of 120 Gb 0or larger. If you want to connect to the campus network, your computer will need either an Ethernet adapter or a wireless network card. Most new computer systems come with these specifications or better.

We recommend Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Ultimate, or Windows 8 for student use. Windows' Business and Enterprise editions will work with the network, though they have several features students might find superfluous. We advise students to avoid Windows' Starter editions, as they have several crippling limitations.

I want to bring a Macintosh to campus. What kind should I bring?

To connect to the Bethany network, you will need a Macintosh running OS X 10.2.8 or later, with 10.4 and higher preferred. Macs running on either the PowerPC or the Intel architecture will work with our network. Your Mac will need either an Ethernet adapter or a wireless network card to connect to the network.

Apple does offer education pricing for students, and you can visit the Apple Store for Education for more information.

I want to bring a Linux system to campus. What distribution should I bring?

At this time, we do not support Linux-based systems. However, Linux-based computers can usually connect to the Internet, though you may be unable to access your network-based storage. Again, while we do not support Linux, we have noticed that Linux-using students seem to have the best luck with the Ubuntu or Linux Mint distributions.

What software should I purchase for my computer?

Most computer manufacturers bundle basic productivity software, such as Microsoft Office, with their machines. This software may be a trial version, however, so you may need to purchase the full version of the software or use a free alternative such as LibreOffice.org, a full-featured office suite available for free download. Any specialized software needed for certain classes is available on machines in the computer labs.

If you need to purchase Microsoft Office, we suggest the Office 365 University edition, which includes Word, PowerPoint, and Excel.