Reliability is key.
The most important thing to consider when sending a computer to school with your student is reliability and repairability. A computer in excellent working condition and with active warranty coverage is one of the best tools a Govie can have.
Are computers required?
No, but nearly all students bring them. While there are computers available in labs for student use, they are only available when students are able to be downstairs. Much of GSSM's coursework is assigned and submitted online.
What kind of computer will work best for me?
Laptops allow students to work outside of their rooms and are very popular. Most computers sold in the past two or three years will do everything that GSSM coursework requires. Windows and Apple products work equally well. Students interested in computer science often bring Linux-based computers.
Chromebooks are also a good option, especially for families on a budget.
Do I need to buy Microsoft Office?
No. Residential, STEM Foundations, and Accelerate students are enrolled in the school's Microsoft Office 365 program. They may use Office 365 online, or install Microsoft Office on up to 5 of their personally-owned devices. This software is available for download throughout the school's Outlook website which becomes available to new students in August. Microsoft Office will stop working after students graduate, withdraw, or are otherwise separated from GSSM.
Every laptop and desktop computer used on campus must run up-to-date anti-virus software. Here is a recent review of free and inexpensive antivirus solutions.
Where is the Wi-Fi?
Wi-Fi is available indoors and outdoors throughout campus, and at the Uptown Campus.
Students log into Govinet, which provides full-speed access to school resources and the Internet. Parents and visitors may use the GSSM-Visitor network providing access for web-browsing and checking email.
Are wired network connections available?
Yes. Each room is equipped with up to two wired ethernet outlets. These may be activated on a first-come, first-served basis by contacting an IT support student.
Wi-Fi Printers Are Discouraged
Wi-Fi-enabled printers create private Wi-Fi networks for use during setup. These networks interfere with the school's Wi-Fi network, reducing Wi-Fi performance for all devices located near the printer. Therefore, if a student brings a printer that has Wi-Fi capability, it is their responsibility to ensure that the Wi-Fi capability is turned off. Once Wi-Fi is off, the printer may safely be used with a cable. Printers found to be interfering with GSSM's Wi-Fi network may be removed from the residence halls and stored until the student or their family can bring it home.
School Printers for Students
Some students bring a printer, but it is not required. Student Council sponsors and supports printers in the residence hall study lounges, and students often use the computer lab printers for assignments. The school does not charge for paper or toner.
Streaming Sticks, Screenless Devices
GSSM makes no guarantees that its network will support all devices. Some Wi-Fi -powered devices don't have screens. These include devices like Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, printers, etc. Devices that are unable to display the school's authorization page (ie Roku, Apple TV, Chromecast, printers) when connecting to Wi-Fi for will not be able to operate on the school's network.
Who can I ask for help?
Several GSSM students are trained and receive community engagement credit for assisting other students. It should come as no surprise that we have more than our share of computer wizards here! GSSM also has technical experts on staff who can help students diagnose problems.
What happens if my computer needs repair while I'm at GSSM?
If a computer is under warranty, we can help arrange the repair by providing a safe place for the repair person to meet your student and complete the repair. For repairs not covered under warranty, we have had good results from a local sales and repair business within walking distance of campus. Students and their families are responsible to make arrangements for repairs.
When a student's computer is broken, they can use the computer lab to complete assignments. On an as-available basis, the school may offer the temporary use of a Chromebook while a student's computer is being repaired.
GSSM staff are not authorized to perform repairs on student-owned computers.
What else should I bring?
A network cable (at least 10 feet long) if you are bringing a desktop computer
Warranty documentation , and a copy of the purchase receipt to speed repairs if necessary
A surge suppressor
A USB key
Paper and plenty of ink if bringing a printer
What should I not bring?
Wi-Fi routers, including hot spots on phones, reduce the performance of GSSM's Wi-Fi and are prohibited. If they are found to be operating in the residence halls, they may be removed and stored until the student or their family are able to bring them home.
Here is a list of items best left at home.
- Very large monitors, or monitors which require wall-mounting hardware
- Game consoles, especially during the first semester when new juniors are acclimating to a new pace of study
- Any device that is unreliable, wonky, or prone to fail just as it is needed to complete an assignment
What are the rules for using a computer at GSSM?
The use of computers, smartphones, and related devices that operate on the GSSM network is governed by the GSSM Appropriate Use Policy (AUP).
These are the most important issues associated with bringing a computer to GSSM. If you have other questions, please contact us.