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Student Laptop Requirement

Recognizing the important role that technology plays in today’s world, St. Norbert College requires all incoming students to own a laptop computer. The use of laptops and other educational technologies at St. Norbert will help enrich your learning experience, promote greater communication and collaboration, and better prepare you to use digital technologies in the workplace. 

Laptop Requirements
Whether you choose to bring an existing laptop or purchase a new one, below you’ll find the minimum and recommended specifications for a laptop computer that will satisfy the laptop requirement for most academic programs at St. Norbert College. 

Several academic programs may have additional or more stringent laptop requirements: art, computer science and teacher education among them. Requirements for these programs are detailed in the Special Program Requirements section below.

A note on tablets and smartphones: Generally, tablet devices (iPad, Samsung Galaxy and other Android-based tablets, Windows Surface, Kindle Fire, etc.) are not suitable as primary computing devices for many majors, although they may work for class and college-related communication and collaboration. With an external keyboard, use of cloud-based productivity software (e.g., Google Drive or Microsoft Office 365), and St. Norbert’s virtual computing lab, some students may find that a tablet can meet their major computing needs, but you should evaluate this very carefully before deciding on a tablet as your primary computing device. Smartphones are not practical as primary computing devices for normal coursework. Both tablets and smartphones can be excellent supplemental devices, however.

Windows PC Apple Macintosh
Operating System Windows 7 or greater Mac OS 10.9 or greater
Processor Type Minimum: Core i5 processor
Recommended: Core i7 processor
Memory Minimum: 4 GB RAM
Recommended: 8 GB RAM
Hard Drive Minimum: 250 GB
Recommended: 500 GB or higher
Wireless Card 802.11n or 802.11ac
Warranty 3 year (or greater) parts and labor strongly recommended
Onsite support for PCs recommended, if available
Laptops should contain, at minimum, productivity software (like Microsoft Office), and anti-virus software (Windows PC only). These will not need to be purchased separately; St. Norbert provides both to current students at no charge. For more information and links to download Microsoft Office or Security Essentials (anti-virus) software, please visit our Technology Discounts web page.

In addition to a laptop meeting the minimum requirements outlined above, we recommend bringing the following accessories:
  • HDMI video adaptor (Mac only) or AirParrot software (PC only), to project from your computer in classrooms and other learning spaces.
  • USB drive(s) (a.k.a. “thumb” or “flash” drives), to save papers and class projects.
  • External hard drive, to save coursework as well as to perform full system backups (Mac: Time Machine; Windows: Backup & Restore)
Although less common, you may also find the following accessories helpful:
  • Network cable (a.k.a. “data” or “Ethernet” cable), to connect to the wired network.
  • Laptop and software installation CDs and user manuals, in case they are needed for technical support purposes.
  • Laptop security cable lock, to help deter against theft in public places. 
Special Program Requirements
Several academic programs have additional or more stringent laptop requirements, as outlined below. For questions about laptop requirements for a specific major, please contact the program’s discipline coordinator.
  • Art: Art majors must have a laptop that meets the recommended hardware specifications, rather than just the minimum. Apple Macintosh is recommended.
  • Computer Science: Upper-division CS majors must have a laptop that meets the recommended hardware specifications, rather than just the minimum. First-year and sophomore CS majors will be fine with either the minimum or recommended hardware. Windows PC recommended.
  • Teacher Education: Laptop must have video recording and editing capabilities. Minimum requirements above will meet your needs. Apple Macintosh is recommended. For more information, visit the Teacher Education website.

Financial Aid
St. Norbert College allows a one-time reasonable allowance for the purchase of a laptop computer to be added to a student’s Cost of Attendance (COA) calculation, if desired. A copy of an estimate or receipt of purchase is necessary. By increasing the COA, you may become eligible for additional loan money in the form of federal direct loans, federal PLUS loans or private educational loans. Please contact the financial aid office at or 920-403-3071 for more information.

For questions about laptop requirements for specific academic programs, please contact the program’s discipline coordinator.

For questions about general laptop hardware and software specifications, please contact the Information Technology Services (ITS) Service Desk located in Cofrin Hall 119:
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