Please read this entire document before making any decision

You will need:

  • Laptop computer
  • Recommended software
  • Printer (optional)
  • Service contract
  • Internet connection service at your home

The Office of Information Technology (OIT) staff will help anyone with any problems, concerns or difficulties installing software on their laptop.

Virus protection can be downloaded and installed through your VIP account, which the university gives every student.

It is free to all students, faculty and staff. Each student will need a copy of Microsoft Office to access student lectures and other materials. It can be purchased through the university at a discount. Information on purchasing can be found at http://www.sc.edu/software.

  • Office($80): includes components you need, such as Excel, Word, Powerpoint and Outlook.
  • For Macs, the 2008 version is $35, while the newer version (2011) is $70. Everything a student needs is in the 2008 version.

We strongly recommend that you buy one of these particular Dell laptop models (linked is at the bottom of this document). We believe that these models will give you the reliability you need and we support this computer. This means that, if you have a problem, we will diagnose the problem and, in most cases, fix it. Since we have certified Dell technicians, we can usually get a hardware part overnight and install it the next day. We'll also help with Apple (and other model) computers, although we can not help with in-depth repairs.

Problems that require Dell to send a technician onsite, also can be handled through our department in a couple of days. Usually, the laptop can be left in our department, where a Dell technician has room to work and quickly fix the problem. This is more efficient than having a Dell technician go to your residence.

OIT recommends you buy the Gold Technical Support from Dell for three years. This is a warning about "inexpensive" laptops from big box stores. One of the most important features of buying the Dell laptop is the warranty and onsite service. Although you can purchase a less expensive laptop, it usually doesn't include the same warranty.

This means it will have to be taken back to the store and sent off for repair, usually for 8-to-10 days, possibly more. With the Dell warranty, a student usually is without their laptop for a few hours using a Dell onsite repair technician or with one of our technicians doing the repair. (Software repairs take longer and require backing up data, which some repair centers charge extra for or expect you to do before bringing it in for repair.) Since a student needs their laptop on a daily basis for class and study, ask store personnel how long you'll be without your laptop before you buy and about backing up your data.

Once you reach the Dell laptop purchase page, you can click on "customize," and you can select additional components, such as a faster processor for your laptop. The laptop comes with Windows 7, 64 bit.

Among one of the options OIT recommends you consider is the additional battery warranty for less than $100. A battery is normally guaranteed for one year while the extended warranty is for three years.

If you want to access the library facilities or course materials on Blackboard from home, you will need to purchase an Internet connection. You can purchase a fast connection (about $45/month) from either the telephone company or from the cable company. If you are not familiar with either approach, talk to your classmates and see what they are using before you sign any contracts. For more help, contact Charlie, Jane or Bruce or call 803-545-5100. To buy your laptop, click here for the Dell Laptop Purchase Link and follow the instructions there. You should have your credit card ready!