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Student Computing Recommendations

Most Peabody students will find that having access to a computer in their living quarters to be a convenience in completing class assignments. Several open-access computing facilities, including the computer classrooms in the Wyatt Center, are provided to supplement student-owned computer use.

Although the College has no specific requirements regarding brand, operating system (i.e., Windows vs. Macintosh), or configuration - in general, we recommend using the ResNet minimum system requirements as a guideline, with the following additional notes:

  • Students in many Peabody programs will benefit from using a laptop computer (vs. a desktop), due to an emphasis on in-class and group techonology-based projects. Keep in mind that laptop computers typically have a usable lifespan of 2-3 years - so spliting your "investment" between a lower-cost laptop for the first few years at Peabody and a more capable laptop for later years often makes more sense than trying to buy a single computer to last 4 years or more.
  • Many Peabody classes include email, web, and other Internet-related assignments. It is highly recommended that all student computers are capable of high-speed (i.e., 100 Mbit) network connections - as described on the ResNet "What to Bring" page.
  • All Peabody students should have access to a word-processing program. As long as the program is a recent, commonly used program (i.e., Microsoft Word, WordPerfect, or ClarisWorks/AppleWorks), students should be able to exchange documents with their professors. All of the College's open access computers are able to read, convert, and print these same types of documents in either Windows- or Macintosh-formats.
  • Some Peabody classes use Microsoft Excel and Microsoft PowerPoint for specific assignments. Again, these programs are available for use in the computer labs, but if students are contemplating the purchase of a new computer and/or new software, we have an arrangement with Microsoft, which allows Vanderbilt students to download the software for free.  This deal can be claimed at
  • There is an increased emphasis in some classes on the creation of multimedia content (i.e., audio/video and CD-ROM products). This requires a fast processor and larger than normal memory and hard drive capabilities. Most of this type of work occurs in the computer labs, but some students have expressed the desire to work on these types of projects on their own computers. Students should keep this in mind when purchasing a computer for long-term use.
  • Contact your insurance agent to determine whether a student's computer is covered under your homeowner's policy. If not, this can usually be added for a small cost. Likewise, make sure to have any proof or purchase or other warranty paperwork available on campus in case hardware service is required.
  • Additional information about student computing at Vanderbilt can be found on the Vanderbilt ResNet web page.

Additional questions may be directed to Matt Chumley.