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4 College Freshman

Technology: Word of advice: always use a wired ethernet connection to get internet whenever you can. The WiFi coverage on Amherst's campus is terrific, but compared to a good wired connection, the WiFi here is pretty darn slow.

Life will be much easier if you own your own laptop, but there are plenty of computer labs spread throughout the campus, should you need them. Compared to the relatively small size of the college, the main computer lab in Frost Library is actually quite large-- there will always be a computer available if you need one.

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4 College Student

Technology: There are a lot of computers available. Printing on campus is pretty easy except that you have to pay (although not too much). Wireless is kind of slow. I own a personal computer and printer but plenty of people don't.

3 College Freshman

Technology: Computers work fine, but the library closes late and laptop connection can be a bit unstable.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Technology: The computer labs at Amherst are spread throughout campus so it's not too hard to find a computer. The only problem with the computer labs is that they usually get very crowded right before classes start because everyone's in a rush to print out lecture notes or papers before class. Other than that, it's usually pretty easy to find a computer on campus. However, it's definitely much more convenient to have a laptop than to solely rely on the school computers.

1 person found this useful Report
4 College Sophomore

Technology: Computer labs always have some availability, and most have really useful softwdescribing their experience of the conference, what you think you learned and, more, what questions/ curiosities the conference provoked.are loaded onto them. I've been able to learn InDesign, Photoshop, Final Cut Pro, and many other programs here- all through our IT Department, which is very helpful. It would be good to bring your own computer- since everyone has one, it's almost part of the social scene. You can definitely get by with just using school computers, but since almost no buildings are open all night, it might be difficult to write papers at night. That being said, the internet is reliably awful, even with ethernet sometimes.


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Student Author OverviewWhat's this?

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Computers for long-term student use are found in two locations on campus: Frost Library and the Computer Center. Frost Library is the main library and, as such, lies at the heart of the campus, and there are two computer labs there. The Computer Center is a bit out of the way and has five labs. Both locations have Macs and PCs. Two computer centers may seem too few at first, but they are more than enough for the 1,600 or so students who go here. What is great about the school computers is that if you are working on a paper or project, you can save the documents and other files on your student drive, which is accessible only by them, from any computer on campus. Plus, an overwhelming majority of students bring their own computers, and every room is equipped with an Ethernet connector. Working in the dorm, however, with all your friends loitering about, can sometimes prove extremely inefficient, and when exam periods come around, there are sizeable crowds typing away in the public labs. Outside of finals week, when all those who take humanity courses realize that it’s probably a good idea to get started on those 15-pagers, you’ll surely find a free computer to work on. Even during finals, Computer Center, with its five labs, will most likely not be full, but you can’t count on the Library, since its central location makes it more popular.

The IT department is responsive to student needs and will send someone to your room to fix any problem you may have. The network is fast, which induces many students to download considerable megabytes of music and movies from file-sharing Web sites. That said, you should seriously think about getting your own computer because the workloads can become heavy, and you will want to be able to plan your time independently of Computer Center hours.

Facts & Statistics

Wireless Access
Available in all residence halls, and most of the academic buildings on campus, in addition to the library, Keefe Campus Center, Seeley Mudd Computing Center and areas of the Alumni gym.
24-Hour Labs?
Charged to Print?
5 cents a page
Special Software & Hardware Discounts
Amherst students can purchase any software at the Smith College Computer Store at a discount. Visit
Did You Know?
  • The Daily Jolt-remember the name-is the Web site you'll most frequently visit while at Amherst. It is student-run and has everything: job listings, the lowdown on parties the upcoming weekend, discussion forums, restaurant reviews, and procrastination games. It also sponsors "the professor quote of the day," to which students contribute funny, embarrassing, or kinky sentences they've heard their professors say in class. You can visit it at
  • Every student is connected to the College network, where there is access to free software for download and use. All students have their own hard drive and e-mail spaces, and when using a College computer they must log in with a personal username and password.
  • If you have a problem with either your hardware or software, you can call (413) 542-7921 and a student trained in computer-related troubleshooting will assist you and even come to your room to see what the problem is.

Student Polls

Rate computers on the following subjects    Based on 33 responses

Very weak
  • Availability of computer labs
  • Campus tech support
  • Free/discounted software
  • Number of computer labs
  • Printing cost/quota limits
  • Reliability of network
  • Speed of network
  • Technology in classrooms and labs
  • Wireless availability

How necessary is it to bring your own computer?    Based on 18 responses

  • 0% Don't waste your money; there are plenty of computers to use on campus.
  • 50% Not necessary for school work but relatively important for socializing and entertainment.
  • 50% Extremely important, especially when the labs are crowded during semester crunch times.
  • 0% The school supplies each student with their own laptop.
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