Welcome to Stanford! We're here to help you with your technology needs even before you arrive onto campus! This three-part FAQ should answer many if not most of your tech-related questions about computing at Stanford, available resources, computer recommendations, etc. as you prepare your arrival. Please note that we cannot provide specific recommendations on purchasing laptops due to the various software requirements of different majors. Should you not find the answer(s) you seek, you can always reach out to us and Submit a Request. The sections are:
This section will bring you up to speed on Stanford resources and recommendations you'll want to know prior to arrival such as what to pack, what not to pack, and what technology resources are available to you as a Stanford student.
This section will give you a preview of the first 5-6 things you're probably going to be thinking about once you settle into your new home at Stanford. This includes getting your devices onto the network, how printing works, and where to go for assistance when you need it.
We've curated a subset of our Frequently Asked Questions, specifically for incoming students! You'll get even further insight into Stanford's technology resources, services, supported devices, and general recommendations regardless of your class or major.
Getting Started: Before you get here
What to Pack?
Whether it's a laptop, tablet, or anything else, whatever you're bringing to campus, don't forget your charger! Having said that, many students choose to equip their laptops and tablets with a hardshell case for additional protection or to set themselves apart from the crowd! If you are bringing a desktop computer, we strongly recommend a cable lock and the longest ethernet cable you can afford! Lastly, we’ll always recommend students add an extended warranty and renter's insurance to their devices for personal sanity and pro-active problem solving!
Under "nice to haves", in addition to any cloud backup process you may employ, you'll definitely want to invest in an external hard drive for backups, transferring large files, etc. At about $50 each at time of publishing, a 1-Terabyte (TB) external hard drive should be more than enough backup storage for anyone not creating massive amounts of photos and video. (You content creators should consider a 2-TB drive or greater!); You've probably got your eye on a new backpack or gym bag- you may want to look into those that specifically provide extra protection for laptops, etc.; Surely someone has certainly mentioned a multi-outlet power strip by now, right? (Did we forget something obvious? Not sure? Ask us and we'll get right back to you!
What not to Pack?
Stanford maintains a regularly updated record of devices known for their inability to connect the Stanford network as intended, or are prohibited for use on the Stanford network. Fortunately, it's not a very long list. You can review the Unsupported Devices FAQ at: https://stutech-help.stanford.edu/hc/en-us/articles/360001186783
Don't have a computer?
Many students complete their entire Stanford career without owning their own computer and the resources are 100% available to provide an effortless experience for those who go this route. If you are considering your options, or just want an overview of the computing environment here, consult our Student Technology - Computing Resources page, which describes in detail, the various technology resources available to every Stanford student.
Buying a new one?
If you don't want to wait, and are looking for deals, or window shopping, be sure to check out your options for special educational pricing for Stanford students at the Stanford Bookstore's Cardinal Computing Center (link: https://www.bkstr.com/stanfordstore/shop/technology).
Don't need one?
While most students at Stanford have their own computers, you certainly don't need one!, and some buy after they've arrived. Check out the Computing Spaces available around campus as well as in every residence on campus.
Getting Started: After you arrive
We are here to help you get connected. Wired (ethernet) and wireless (Wifi) network connections are available in every on-campus residence. To learn more and get started, go to the Network Connections page. (link: https://studenttechnology.stanford.edu/computing/get-online-and-connected)
One or more RAs — upperclass students who provide community support and education— live in each dorm as part of your residence staff. In addition to helping you get connected to the network and general technology consulting, RAs can refer you to the "best place to start" for any technology issue. You can request support online by submitting a request at at pts.stanford.edu.
Getting Started: A Personal Computing FAQ
We have compiled a detailed, Personal Computing FAQ to address many if not most of your tech-related questions about your individual computing needs, such as computer, printing, accessibility, etc. as you prepare your arrival. Here's the link: A Personal Computing FAQ