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Computer Requirements

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 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., G Suite 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 Macintosh
Operating System Minimum: Windows 7
Recommended: Windows 10
Minimum: macOS 10.10 (Yosemite)
Recommended: macOS 10.12 (Sierra)
Processor Type Minimum: Core i5 processor (or equivalent)
Recommended: Core i7 processor (or equivalent)
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 recommended, if available

Windows computers are required to run Windows Defender, which is already part of Windows 10. St. Norbert College also provides free access to G Suite and/or Microsoft Office 365. These programs do not need to be purchased separately. Certain academic disciplines have specific requirements and recommendations, as outlined in the next section.

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 a faculty member in area of study.

  • 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.

We offer a number of technology recommendations to assist in making your purchase. These recommendations include not only laptops, but software, adapters, etc.

In addition to a laptop meeting the minimum requirements outlined above, we recommend bringing the following accessories:

  • HDMI video adaptor to share your laptop screen in classrooms and other learning spaces. This can also be done wirelessly via AirPlay on a Mac or with AirParrot on a Windows laptop.
Although less common, you may also find the following accessories helpful. The availability of cloud storage using Google Drive makes some of these less necessary.
  • 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)
  • System restore CDs are no longer common, but if you have them with your laptop, please bring them.

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 for more information.

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

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