Student Life

Computer and Software for Students

Image of computer downloading software

Parents and students often want to know about computer and software recommendations for NIACC classes. NIACC does not require students to purchase a computer for course work. There are many computer labs on campus, in the residence halls and at the NIACC Charles City Center for student use. Most computer labs use computers with Windows operating system. The Fine Arts and web design courses also use Macintosh computers. Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, Access) is the standard for word processing, spreadsheet, database and presentation software. WordPerfect and Microsoft Works are not used in NIACC classes.

Purchasing a laptop for school can be confusing. There are many brands and models of laptops that can be used or purchased. When considering which laptop to purchase keep these recommended minimum requirements in mind:

    • AMD or INTEL processor
    • 4 Gigabyte of memory (more is always better)
    • 250 Gigabyte hard drive (again more is better)
    • DVD-RW – DVD drive that reads and writes
    • Built in wireless capabilities
    • Battery – check to see what is the expected battery life per use (2 – 8 hrs per charge?)

Students may also want to have one or more USB “flash drives” or “thumb drives” to be able to easily move files from their personal computer to use on a lab computer or vice versa. Every student does have file storage space on a network drive on campus (their “H” drive), but this is not accessible from off campus.

These requirements are based on ordinary college usage (writing papers, creating presentations, etc.). If you are taking courses that use designing or other specialty software, please check with your instructor for possible additional requirements you may need.

    • Microsoft Office 2013 (starting Fall Semester 2014) is required for most NIACC Business courses. Office 2013 and Office 2010 are available on all of the computers in the NIACC computer labs.
    • CDW-G – offers discounts on computers and software for students. Contact Holly Savitt at 877-529-3809 or send an e-mail to
    • Tiger Direct – offers discounts on all computer software and hardware, contact Dan Halfeldt at 866-310-3418 – or e-mailĀ
    • Dell University – Offers Discounts on products for students
    • HP Academy – Offers Discounts on products for students