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Computers on campus

DoremomCTDoremomCT Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
Current/former students, could you please share your experiences with computers? My general question that would apply to any student is: Do you carry your computer around campus often? D is going into engineering and they have a "recommended" computer that's offered through the bookstore. Is there any reason to go with the "recommended" one vs bringing your own that meets the specifications? Recommended has a 14" screen--might be nice to have a smaller one if you're carrying it around but a larger screen if you're less concerned about size/weight. VU also recommends on-site repair warranty (a 3 yr plan but that doesn't take you through all 4 years of school). Is that upgraded warranty worthwhile?

Finally, I wonder about the need for a printer in the dorm room. Are there "public" places to print in the dorms or around campus? Is there a cost?

Any other tips? THANKS!

Replies to: Computers on campus

  • Sophie1295Sophie1295 Registered User Posts: 369 Member
    You can check out the Facebook class of 2018 group too.. I just saw a post about something similar :)
  • IndigoAudriIndigoAudri Registered User Posts: 24 New Member
    I just completed my freshman year at Vandy as a Computer Science major and personally I do not know many students to get the computer from the bookstore unless they received a scholarship for it. Students have both Apple and PCs. I personally have a Macbook and have not had any problems! Most students carry their computers everywhere. ie taking notes in class or browsing the internet while dining

    There are many places to print around campus. I had a printer in my room but did not need it. Once it ran out of ink, it was too much of a hassle to replace the cartridges so I used the printers around campus. Printing is only 5 cent per page.

    Hope that helps! :)
  • lovingasiandadlovingasiandad Registered User Posts: 99 Junior Member
    Isn't that a closed group and only for students ?
  • Sophie1295Sophie1295 Registered User Posts: 369 Member
    edited May 2014
    @lovingasiandad‌ yes it is. But I'm pretty sure that nearly all members of the class of 2018 are already a part of it. So it may be a good idea to see what they're doing as well. :)
  • Go9ersjrhGo9ersjrh Registered User Posts: 395 Member
    Just asked S who is a mechanical engineering student. Most of the time, he did not take his computer to class. He did saw that quite a few students did. So I guess the answer to that question is "it depends".

    We purchased his computer through HP. If I remember right, we did it with a connection from Vanderbilt so we saved an additional $25 or $50. But don't ask me how to find the right webpage. We did get Microsoft Office through Vanderbilt for no charge. You do not need to buy the computer at the bookstore. You just need to buy one that meets the minimum specifications.
  • LHSCaryLHSCary Registered User Posts: 178 Junior Member
    Daughter is in A&S--she brought her MacBook to school and has had no problems with it. She said some professors have a rule about no computers in class but others are fine with it. She does tend to carry it with her most of the time even if she doesn't use it in all her classes (not useful in foreign language classes for example.) She does have a printer in her room and found it helpful since she writes a lot of papers.
  • levi1496levi1496 Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
    I'll be an engineering student in the fall and I'm debating PC vs. Mac. I'd prefer a mac and I know it's possible to run windows but is it worth it? Also are students responsible for installing software like MatLab before the year starts?
  • PancakedPancaked Registered User Posts: 3,355 Senior Member
    As an engineer you should definitely expect to be needing a laptop in class, at least occasionally. Even if you don't, you'll want to have your laptop with you to do some work (or social networking) between classes.

    Levi, it really comes down to personal preference. Some of the required software has a Mac version, but some of it definitely does not. It's not incredibly difficult to get Boot Camp and run Windows on your Mac. Many engineers do it. I feel you can't beat PCs on the price for their performance, but Macs have pretty great build quality, which is important in college.

    You aren't responsible for installing any software. For any course that uses software, the professor will give you instructions for installation in class (or perhaps in an email before classes start) and give you a grace period for getting it to work.
  • CheckbookCheckbook Registered User Posts: 14 New Member
    My son is starting at the engineering school this fall, and he will take the $500 PC he bought a few months ago, which has better specs than the $1400 PC Vanderbilt is selling (probably at a nice profit). The main advantage of the Vanderbilt computer is the long-term in-home warranty. But, having experience in IT, I think it is much more important to invest in reliable backup than in a hardware warranty. If a component fails, it's usually a commodity item you can cheaply replace and upgrade your system at the same time. Even if you need to replace the whole system, you can do it for less than the cost of the warranty coverage, and you'd get the latest technology instead of 3-year old technology.

    There's more info on the Engineering School's website:



    I'm assuming that Vanderbilt engineering students can test and replace a memory module or a hard drive. If your daughter can't or won't do those things, you might be more comfortable buying the PC that comes with hand-holding.
  • DoremomCTDoremomCT Registered User Posts: 34 Junior Member
    edited May 2014
    Thanks for all the input, everyone. It's very helpful. I am hearing that we should probably go for the smaller/lighter computer if students are carrying them around. Checkbook, I was leaning against the additional warranty (they always feel like a ripoff to me) and know we could get the same/better computer for far less than the bookstore is charging--just wanted some assurance so thanks. I did have those links so I know the specifications. Pancaked, do you have an opinion on the need for a printer from an engineering perspective?

    By the way, I can't even find the recommended 440 G1 on the bookstore site--only 4440s. Maybe that's last year's model.
  • Go9ersjrhGo9ersjrh Registered User Posts: 395 Member
    DoremomCT - Although we did not buy the computer from Barnes & Noble's Vanderbilt Bookstore, we did buy the warrenty from HP. We don't usually buy warrenties.

    S did not have a printer in his room and used campus printing. He said it worked great. It's one less thing to deal with and take up space in the dorm rooms.
  • Faline2Faline2 Registered User Posts: 4,232 Senior Member
    Just a mention to inquire/discuss getting your college student's computer on your home insurance list. Our policy covered it if stolen or lost. Duke son had a laptop stolen on day one of a summer DC not college sponsored internship. Vandy son ended up taking a bus to the Apple Store in Green Hills when his under warranty laptop needed a new screen...not fun to be without it for a week but can happen. Make sure you student has class documents uploaded somewhere safe.
  • PancakedPancaked Registered User Posts: 3,355 Senior Member
    edited May 2014
    @DoremomCT , regarding a printer, I agree with what others have said. I had a printer freshman year and used it until the ink ran out and never found the motivation to buy more ($30 for the printer, $30+ for ink...) . I would just print in the libraries and a few other computers on campus and it was fine, even though there was no printer on Commons (that I knew of).

    Nowadays, printing is even more convenient. Students can send documents to any printer at Vanderbilt either by downloading the VUPrint driver or just sending the document as an attachment to [email protected] . You go to the printer, swipe your Commodore Card, and viola, you have your documents. One is conveniently located in Commons Center. Pretty cool.
  • maxsdadmaxsdad Registered User Posts: 148 Junior Member
    S2 is an rising Jr. Engineering student. I think that School of Engineering may have changed the recommendation, his freshman year they only recommended windows/PC. He did a lot of research and spoke with the dean as he wanted to continue using a Mac. He purchased a new Mac book and had to install a few programs (parallels) Has had no issues with the mac. He does have a printer but said it is not really necessary.
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