Computers for Incoming Students FAQ

Q) What kind of computer do I need?
A) Every department has different requirements. You can find the computer requirements for your major at All students will need at least a computer with an Intel i5 or better, 8GB of RAM, and a 250GB hybrid Hard drive or Solid-State Drive. Some students may require more than this, or may need specific computer models. Check with your advisor or department head for specific information.

Q) How are your prices compared to other companies?
A) Most of our computers are sold for less than standard educational pricing. In most cases, that can mean a savings of several hundred dollars! We offer complete "packages" for incoming freshmen that include the required, a 25ft Ethernet cable, extended warranty with accidental damage protection (plus our University Bookstore Priority Service!) all at a single low price.

Q) Can't I just get a $500 laptop directly from a manufacturer?
A) All incoming students are discouraged from purchasing low-end and standard consumer models. There are several reasons for this: Most consumer-grade laptops do not meet the university standard computer requirements, meaning the computer may not run the required programs as effectively as they should. In addition to this, many consumer-grade laptops are made with desktop or budget parts, which have a higher failure rate compared to business class computers. When you get to college, you'll be using your laptop every day for every class, and you're going to want it to be as dependable as possible.

At the University Bookstore, all of our featured models for incoming students are business-class quality that has a lower failure rate than standard consumer models. Furthermore, these models meet or exceed the university requirements, leaving you with nothing to worry about. In addition to this, we service every business class computer that we sell on the terms of the manufacturer's warranty.

Q) What is "University Bookstore Priority Service"?
A) This is a service you receive when purchasing your computer through the bookstore. It is only available when purchasing a new computer from us and not available to purchase as a separate service. It allows students to request a loaner laptop after they turn in their laptop for repair; receive reduced rates on non-warranty repairs and servicers, and places your service needs ahead of customers who have not purchased from us. Loaners are typically given after a diagnostic is finished and a time of repair is determined.

Q) What other technology do I need on my first day of school
A) Every department has their own computer requirements, so computers may vary widely between departments. However, there are some things they all have in common. All departments require a laptop computer, a backup solution (i.e. external hard drive), flash drive and 3 or 4 year warranty with accidental damage coverage. Some other things you may need include: A power-strip with surge protector, a laptop backpack, a laptop lock, a printer, and Ethernet cable. All of these things can be found at the University Bookstore on-campus and Volume Two Bookstore off-campus.

For more information about university computer requirements, please click here.

Q) How does ordering a computer work? Will you have stock during orientation?
A) You may place an order with our order center via telephone, or you may order online. We require at least a $200 deposit up to the value of what you purchase. When you pick up your order, either during orientation or August move-in, you will pay the remaining balance.

We will have some stock of computers for general purchase during the orientation, but it is best to reserve your computer as soon as possible to ensure that you have it before classes. Do not wait too long! Q) Do you offer a payment plan or layaway?
A) We do not offer any manner of payment plan or layaway. We are a standard retail store that accepts credit card, debit, Hokie Passport funds, cash or check. Our rental option for computers can help you split the payments on your computer over one year, with a buyout option at the end of the spring semester. Please call us for more details on this program.

Q) Can I use my scholarship money or financial aid to pay for my computer?
A) At this time, we have no way of accessing scholarship funds or financial aid accounts. The best way is to have your scholarship association or financial aid office write you a check, or reimburse you for the amount of the computer that you intend to purchase. When estimating cost of attendance for incoming students, a $2,500 increase is considered to help pay for the purchase of a computer. This will be reflected in your financial aid package. Please contact the Office of University Scholarships and Financial Aid for more details.

Q) Can I upgrade a computer in a bundle? Can I increase the RAM or HD capacity?
A) Altering our laptops offered in our bundles would increase the cost of the computer. We are happy to place special orders or sell individual computers, but doing so during the orientation and back-to-school season will delay your order and may increase the price. Custom orders are not available from all manufacturers.

However, we are happy to order extra RAM after the computer is purchased, and we'll even install it for you!

Q) I've placed my order online, but I haven't been charged yet. When will I be charged for the computer?
A) Please allow 72 hours for order processing to occur. This includes a $200 deposit or full payment. Complete payment is not required at the time of ordering, but is required before shipping or computer pickup.

Q) Where do I get my software package? When do I get Microsoft Office?
A) As an incoming freshman, you will receive your software bundles at the end of summer orientation, at the same time you get your Hokie Passports. Your tuition bill will include the charge for software. You should only buy software from the University Bookstore if you can't get it otherwise from Software Distribution or directly from the university.

Q) What is a laptop lock? Why do I need one?
A) A laptop lock is like a bike lock for your laptop. It plugs into a special connection on the back of side of the laptop and then wraps around a desk or other fixture, then locks into place, either with a key or a combination lock. This helps prevent theft of laptop computers on campus. After all you've spent on your computer, you want to be sure it's safe!

Q) Why do I need a laptop backpack?
A) A laptop backpack has a special sleeve specifically for a laptop, in addition to its normal pouches and compartments. This is essential for students at Virginia Tech because the padded sleeves help to protect the computer during travel. A computer in a normal backpack will jostle and could become damaged, or may even lose data if the computer is asleep! A backpack with a built-in padded computer sleeve will solve that problem. Be sure to get one with plenty of padding on the bottom, in case you accidentally drop your backpack once you get to class.

Q) What other protection can I get for my laptop?
A) Consider the following items:
- Accidental Damage Protection
- Computer Sleeve
- Hardshell Case
- LoJack