The Catholic University of America

Purchasing a Laptop


While a laptop computer is not required to attend the Columbus School of Law, many students find owning one to be beneficial to their legal studies. Computer Services has compiled the information below to assist students with the purchase of their system.

Quick Links

Minimum Specs
Where to Purchase
Antivirus
Software
Storage
Wireless Network
Security
Financial Aid

Minimum Recommended Specs

PC

  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 1.66ghz
  • Memory: 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM
  • Hard Drive: 80 GB 5400rpm
  • Display: 15.4" Wide Screen XGA
  • Networking: Integrated Wireless 802.11G Card
  • Optical Drive: 24x CDRW/DVD combo drive
  • Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP (Home or Professional) or higher
  • Productivity Software: MS Office 2003/2007 or Microsoft Office Student and Teacher Edition 2003/2007
  • Warranty: 3yr Onsite with Accidental Damage Protection

Apple

  • Model: 13" MacBook
  • Processor: Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0ghz
  • Memory: 2 GB DDR2 SDRAM
  • Hard Drive: 120 GB 5400rpm
  • Optical Drive: SuperDrive 8x
  • Networking: Airport Extreme Card
  • Operating System: Mac OS X
  • Productivity Software: Microsoft Office 2008
  • Warranty: AppleCare Protection Plan

Where to Purchase

There are many avenues in which to purchase your laptop and there is no particular "best" method to do so. When you look to purchase your laptop, keep in mind that many stores offer discounts in the summer months to attract students. Most retailers have the prices of their laptops listed on their Web sites to assist with you when shopping around for the best price. CUA has negotiated contracts with certain vendors to obtain special pricing for our students. You must order through these links in order to get our special pricing:

Below are some links to common retailers:

The CUA Bookstore also offers IBM/Lenovo and Apple computers at discounts to students. Please see their Web site or view the fliers below for more information.

Antivirus

The plethora of virus's, spyware, and malware on the internet today makes antivirus software a crucial part of your laptop. A single virus can bring your laptop to a halt and corrupt all the data on your hard drive. Furthermore, an up-to-date antivirus program is required if you wish to connect to the wireless network at the Columbus School of Law. These programs, such as McAfee and Norton, can be purchased from any electronics retailer. Before you purchase, however, check with your internet provider to see if they provide free software with your service. Comcast and RCN both provide this free to subscribers; please see their Web sites or contact their Customer Support for more information.

Software

Most computers will come preloaded with all the software you will need for your legal studies. If you would like to upgrade to different/newer versions, or add software, deep educational discounts are available to students from many retailers. Software is available in the CUA Bookstore or at any of the sites below:

Storage

The Office of Computer Services recommends that all students purchase some method of external storage for their law school files. In the unlikely event of your computer crashing, data recovery can be a very expensive and time consuming process. We recommend that you backup all important files to a flash drive (1+ GB) at least once a week. If you would like more space than a flash drive offers, external hard drives can be used. They can be configured to sync all of your files (pictures, music, photos, etc) on a schedule or whenever you connect the drive to your laptop. These products can be purchased from any electronics retailer, or any of the sites below:

Wireless Network

Most newer computers will have an integrated wireless card built-in to the laptop itself. If your laptop does not have this, you will need to purchase a PCI card to have access to the law school's wireless network. The card must support the 802.11g protocol. These can be found at any electronics retailer.

Security

Your laptop can be one of the most expensive items you purchase during your time in law school. In order to keep it safe, the Office of Computer Services recommends that you take steps to keep your laptop safe.

  • Never leave your laptop unattended, even in a classroom or the library.
  • Do not leave your laptop visible in your car. Lock it in the trunk.
  • Lock your apartment or office whenever you leave.
  • Purchase a laptop lock and secure it every time you use it.

Financial Aid

The CUA Law Financial Aid Budget may be increased to provide loan funds to purchase a laptop. Please contact the Office of Financial Aid at (202) 319-5143 with any questions or for more information.