Stony Brook is a well-connected university. The Stony Brook Instructional Network Computing sites, or SINC sites, are located all over the campus. Each site has many PCs and Macs for student use, with some of the newest technology available. SOLAR, the Student On-Line Access to Records, allows students to view grades and transcripts, register for courses, find out what blocks are on their accounts, and receive up-to-date financial aid information. Stony Brook’s Automated Retrieval System (STARS) is used in the libraries instead of the old card catalog. There are really great library search engines that search databases, like Hoovers Pro, that one would normally have to pay for. Students are given their own e-mail account, and all of the dorms have a fast Ethernet connection. SkillPort, a training program for computer software, is another invaluable tool available with more than 800 different programs. There is an online resource through the Stony Brook Web site that shows computer availability in each SINC site, so you can have a good idea of how crowded it will be. Stony Brook also provides online file storage to back up your system and to access documents remotely.
Having a laptop at Stony Brook is highly recommended, mainly for typing papers or reviewing online notes before a test. The SINC sites are really useful if you need a quiet place to concentrate on your work, especially if your dorm or roommate is noisy. A printer is definitely not needed since most of the SINC sites have computers designated for use of 10 minutes or less. You can go to the library, access your e-mail or flash drive, and print out the files you need in a relatively quick amount of time, assuming many aren't doing the same thing.