Frequently Asked Questions for New Students

Personal Computers

Please Note: These questions and more can be found in our guide below.

Introduction to Campus Technology Resources for Students

Will I need to bring a computer?

Although a personal computer is not required, Cedar Crest strongly recommends that you bring one with you. More than 90% of incoming students arrive on Cedar Crest’s campus with a computer. You will use email to communicate with faculty, staff and classmates. You will use a browser to access campus curricular and administrative resources and to perform course research. Word processing will be used for writing assignments and to organize notes. Your computer will be an essential tool in learning and communicating! Your computer can also be your stereo and your TV for watching movies.

If you are not able to bring your own computer, or if you choose not to, there are 6 student-accessible computer labs across campus, as well as public-accessible computers in the Cressman Library. Additionally, each Residence Hall has its own computer lab.

Does Cedar Crest College have an arrangement with certain computer companies for students to purchase computers at a reduced rate?

Yes. Students can purchase through Dell, Lenovo, or Mac and receive a discounted rate on new computers. More information about these companies can be found on Discounts page from the menu on the left. Many computer vendors offer educational discounts to students. If you prefer a different brand, we recommend you check the vendor’s Web site and inquire about discounts available to you.

Will a tablet work as well as a laptop or a desktop?

If considering buying a tablet, it is advised to stay with Intel Atom processors and Windows 10. Also consider maximizing the amount of RAM and hard drive space. Netbooks are truly only suitable for basic internet browsing and word processing and are not recommended for students whose needs are above these basic functions.

Laptops are small and light enough to carry to classes for notes, the library for research, elsewhere on campus, or home to work on assignments. Unlike the desktop, portables require less space to use – important in residence halls. Consider where you will want to use your computer when deciding between a desktop and a laptop. Note that the majority of buildings on campus are wireless throughout. Be certain you are comfortable with the video display, keyboard and mouse. Type at least one page of text as a test drive. Desktop computers are larger and weigh more than a portable, but are generally less expensive. They have more computing power for a given price.

Should I buy a PC or a Mac?

The computing environment at Cedar Crest College is Windows based. The majority of our students choose a PC. However, if you prefer a Mac, it is imperative that you have Microsoft Office for Macintosh. No matter what your decision, College-provided computers will be available in a lab environment for you to complete assignments that may require the other platform.

What specifications does my computer need to meet?

The Office of Information Technology provides detailed computer specification guidelines for both desktops and laptops, which are listed on our Recommended Computer Specifications Guide.

These guidelines take into account the life-cycle of computers, which is typically three years, and have been increased slightly to help ensure that your computer will still perform well in your fourth year at Cedar Crest College.

Should I buy a warranty and service contract for my computer?

Yes. Any computer used at Cedar Crest College should have a service contract that includes on-site (in your residence hall room) service for at least the first year. A service contract with a minimum of a 2-year extended warranty is highly recommended.

Can I bring an older computer on campus?

Yes, however, it should meet the minimum specifications and recommendations listed on our Computer Recommendations Checklist.

If these specifications and recommendations are not met, your computer may work but it may not perform as robustly as a newer computer. If you have specific questions about whether your current computer will be adequate, please contact the Information Technology Help Desk at 610-606-4635 or

What software will I need for my computer?

Microsoft Office Professional 2016: Office 2016 is available to download for free on your Office365 website.

Anti-Virus Software: Mac or PC, your computer needs some Anti-Virus software. Visit the IT tab of My CedarCrest for all recommendations. Generally, we suggest Windows Defender or Windows Security Essentials for Windows, and Sophos Home for Mac.

Please Note: This software is suggested as a courtesy. Installation and support of the product is not provided by Information Technology. Students are still responsible for updating their own virus definitions.

What else should I bring with me to campus?

  • A surge protector to protect your computer equipment from electrical surges.
  • Flash Drive for class work and data storage. Students are responsible for their own data backup.
  • 14’ – 21’ CAT 5 network cable for wired connections on campus if your device has an Ethernet port. Required for gaming systems. (available at the college bookstore)
  • USB to HDMI adaptor, if your device doesn’t have an HDMI port. Recommended for use in collaborative classrooms. Available at the college bookstore.

Am I allowed/Do I need to bring my own network equipment?

No. In order to preserve the health of the campus network, individuals are not allowed to connect personal routers or switches to their network port. This restriction includes personal wireless devices such as routers, hubs, or switches (a.k.a. access points). While these devices are often desirable to individual users, use can interfere with the network and cause large-scale network outages. Cedar Crest College provides wireless network access in all areas where it is used.

During the 2017/2018 school year, Cedar Crest is updating the wireless system throughout campus. By the summer of 2018, our campus, including outside areas, will be wifi-accessible. Each Residence hall room has its own personal hotspot, as well as a wired connection for each resident.

Do I need a printer?

Information Technology provides laser printing in both color and black and white. Residents are welcome to bring printers for their dorm rooms, but most students prefer to use the printers in our labs. Students receive $40 of free printing credit for the Academic Year (August to August). Printing is charged at $0.05 per page for grayscale and $0.25 per side for color. Credit can easily be added by purchasing print cards at the Student Helpdesk or Bookstore.

If you decide to bring a printer, you need to connect your computer directly to the printer with a USB cable. Wireless printing is not permitted in the residence halls.

Can I bring my gaming system?

Gaming systems will need to be plugged into the network jack in your room. You will need an CAT 5 Ethernet cable in order to connect your gaming system to the internet. You can purchase one at the College Bookstore, or at any computer/electronics store.

Does Cedar Crest provide support for student computers?

Information Technology provides limited support to students with connectivity issues in Residence Halls and to the wireless network on campus.

  • If the problem is determined to be network related, our office will work to resolve the problem as swiftly as possible.
  • If the problem is determined to be hardware related, you will be referred to the vendor from whom you purchased your computer. If your computer is no longer under warranty, our office will provide a list of local computer repair vendors.
  • If the problem is related to software you purchased and installed on your computer, you will be referred to the software manufacturer.

Does Cedar Crest provide support for my smart phone or tablet?

Limited support for campus wireless connectivity and email configuration is available by appointment only for portable smart devices, such as iPads and phones.

My printer/scanner/digital camera is broken. Can you help?

Information Technology does not provide support or supplies for student-owned peripherals such as printers. We may be able to recommend a course of action if one of your peripherals is in need of repair.