Buying a Computer

At Dickinson, computers are used extensively, both academically and personally. Many professors use our online course management system for classwork, out-of-class discussions, and quizzes. Students can connect their personal computers to Dickinson's ResNet for a fast connection to email, the internet, and the on-campus network. Students who do not bring computers have many public-area computer facillities available to use, all with the same fast network access. Dickinson supports both Macintosh and Windows platforms.

Recommended configuration for new computers

Are you thinking about purchasing a new computer? Make sure it meets our recommended configuration.

Dickinson has partnered with Dell & Apple to give Dickinson students some great prices on new systems:

Dell's Premier Purchase site (for personal purchases)


Apple Store
Dickinson/Apple Custom Store (for individual purchases)


Dickinson has also partnered with JourneyEd to offer special pricing on Microsoft and Adobe software. Click on the logo to go to the JourneyEd website:



Questions about new systems:

Should I buy a laptop or a desktop computer?
Each choice has its own benefits and drawbacks:

Laptop Desktop
  • portability
  • much easier to bring in for support, if necessary
  • wireless internet from various campus locations
  • doesn't take up much space on your desk
  • more expensive
  • easier to steal
  • easy to drop and break
  • smaller display
  • more difficult to upgrade
  • more computing power for your money
  • typically easy to upgrade
  • more audio and video options
  • not portable
  • more difficult to pack up & take home every time you leave campus (typically 4-8 times over the course of your education here)
  • can take up a lot of desk space
  • separate monitor takes up additional space on your desk

Should I buy a Mac or a Windows computer?
This is mostly a matter of personal preference. We suggest staying with the platform you are most comfortable using. Dickinson supports and uses both Mac & Windows operating systems, so if you are really unsure, come here, try both of them out, and then decide what you prefer. Some departments rely more on one OS than the other, so if you think you know what your major will be, we suggest contacting that department to ask if the course of study will influence your choice of platform.

What about wireless access?
Wireless access is currently available in most residential locations, and in other select locations on campus. Students are not allowed to bring their own wireless access points (WAPs) for use on campus.

For your reference:

Wireless Locations on Campus

Wireless Internet Policy

Already own a computer?

If you already own a computer which you would like to bring to campus with you, please contact the Dickinson College computing Help Desk, and we will be happy to answer questions about your system and its compatibility with Dickinson's network. Email or call 717-245-1000 (Monday - Friday 8:00am-5:00pm ET).

No computer? No worries!

If you won't be bringing a computer to campus with you, don't worry. Dickinson has several general-use computing facilities available; one is open 24 hours every day.

If you have further questions about computing at Dickinson,
please contact the LIS Help Desk.
or call 717-245-1000 (Monday - Friday 8:00am-5:00pm ET).