Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What software should students have on their computers?

This can be a more complicated question that it might first appear to be. I would suggest that students not buy any special software when they buy a computer (other than whatever is included in the price). Most colleges now have special purchasing program with manufacturers, including Microsoft, Adobe, Symantec and McAfee. This means that students can usually get heavily discounted pricing on products from these companies. The offers are handled in different ways. In some cases they are handled through the university IT department, sometimes through the campus bookstore, and occasionally through the manufacturer itself.

In Maryland the Maryland Enterprise Education Consortium (MEEC) has negotiated special pricing with the companies noted above. In the case of Microsoft and Adobe discounts can approach 70% to 80% off. With security software, such as McAfee, our campus provides it for free. To get an idea of the offerings on the campus visit the campus Helpdesk site ( For a quick check on the Microsoft offerings take a look at this listing, .

We are seeing that as students move into their majors they sometimes want to buy "the tools of the trade". Art students may want to own a copy of Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator. Video Communications majors may want to own the Avid video editing suite. This varies by major and is something that can be considered later as the student gets more involved in major courses.

In summary, always check with your IT helpdesk before buying software. You can save a bundle.