Student Technology FAQ

Why does St. Andrew's require students to have a laptop?

Having ready access to a computer has become an essential part of academic work for students at St. Andrew’s. Therefore, the School has formalized our laptop requirement. The School requires laptop computers to ensure that all students have equitable access to the tools they need to pursue their studies. The vast majority of our students already have and use laptops to support their studies as an irreplaceable research, writing and presentation tool. By ensuring that all students have comparable devices, the School better supports instruction in the classroom, allowing faculty to plan for and utilize predictable and reliable access to technological tools throughout the curriculum.

Does every student need to have the same kind of computer?

No. We are not requiring the same computer for all of our students because not all students are the same. A laptop computer is a tool to support a student’s studies and it is appropriate for students and their families to seek the best fit. If you are looking for guidance, we do have a list of recommended laptops available on our Student Technology Requirements page.

Will students be taught how to use their laptops?

We will provide students with any needed assistance as they learn to use their laptop computer, but we have found almost all students learn very quickly on their own.

What computer will St. Andrew's require for the 2019-20 School year?

We do not require one particular brand or model of computer, but please read our list of technical requirements and recommended models on our Student Technology Requirements page. Please note that we strongly recommend AGAINST the purchase of a ChromeBook due to limitations with software applications, printing, and other issues.

Will I be able to purchase my computer through the School?

Unfortunately no, for two reasons. First, the laptop is a tool to support a student’s studies and it is appropriate for students and their families to seek a personal fit for a tool that will be used so heavily and frequently. Second, the decline in educational discounts on technology has created a purchasing environment in which it is no longer an economic advantage to families or to the school to participate in school bulk-purchase programs.

We will assist international students with computers where necessary due to credit card restrictions. For these cases, please contact John McCartney, Director of Information Services, at

Will I be able to purchase software through the School?

We do not offer software through our School Store, but we can assist a student and his or her family with purchasing software if the need arises. Please note that once they are on campus, students will be able to download Microsoft Office for free. Information on that process is available from the Tech Department. In addition, many of the software products our faculty use are free and available to the entire School community.

Should I get the extended warranty for my computer?

Yes! We strongly recommend purchasing an extended warranty for your computer. For Macs, the only extended warranty program that we endorse is Apple’s AppleCare program, which covers most issues that may arise for three years (rather than the limited warranty of one year). For Windows computers, you can usually purchase an extended warranty when you get the machine, either online or at a retail store.

Will there be computers available for loan on campus?

We do have a few loaner units for students and faculty for use if one's computer is being repaired. Students are responsible for caring for these loaner machines as if they were their own. The length of loaner use is usually four days or shorter, up to a maximum of one week (exceptions may apply). Loaner laptops are not available for general, non-repair-related use.

Will I be able to use a tablet or an iPad instead of a laptop?

No. While the present state of tablet technology is impressive and St. Andrew’s has embraced iPads in a number of places (including as a Library loaner tool and in several academic departments), they are sufficiently different from a laptop as to not be interchangeable. The School will continue to reevaluate the specific device requirements each year, and we anticipate that the requirements will be updated as technology advances.

Will I need a tablet, iPad, smartphone, or other device in addition to the laptop?

No. Many students already have smartphones (and some also have tablets or iPads), but students do not need them for their school work. St. Andrew’s will continue to reevaluate and update the specific device requirements each year, and the requirements will keep pace with advancing technology.

Will there be technical support for student laptops?

Yes. The School's Technology Team provides support for students experiencing technological problems, including laptop repairs, facilitating temporary loaner computers, and the setup of those loaner computers if a student’s laptop will be out of service for an extended period of time.

Will students have access to WiFi everywhere on campus?

Almost everywhere. The School provides WiFi coverage in all student dorms, academic spaces, and athletic buildings. We do have times during the day and night when we turn off access in support of our extracurricular programs.

Is there web filtering in place at St. Andrew's?

Yes. We use a well-known web filter to keep out generally “not safe for work” websites, including pornography, malware, and gambling. In general, we seek to take an educational approach to technology use, with an intentional program to teach students about the responsible use of technology.

Should parents apply "parental restrictions" to student laptops?

This is an individual conversation between parents and students. In general, this is not a recommended approach, as it often makes it difficult to troubleshoot problems on a laptop or to install additional necessary software. If, however, parents feel the need to apply such restrictions on a student computer, we do ask that parents communicate the administrative password to the student’s advisor or to the Director of Information Services, to facilitate any necessary troubleshooting.

Do students need access to Apple App Store or Google Play account to purchase software?

Not necessarily. Almost all of the software that students use in class, beyond the basic requirements, does not come from app stores, but from independent publishers, so no app store account is necessary. However, if a student needs to update or install, for example, iMovie on their Mac laptop, an Apple App Store account will be necessary. Parents do not, however, need to provide students with a credit card-enabled app store account.

Who can I talk to if I have more questions?

John McCartney, the School's Director of Information Services, would be happy to discuss any questions with you. Feel free to contact him