Students & Parents

Get Ready - Frequently Asked Questions

Am I required to bring a computer to campus?

Over 99 percent of College House residents have a computer but it is certainly not a requirement. There are computer labs which offer the most popular software applications in every College House and in many academic buildings.  However, for convenience and flexibility, it is best to have your own computer.

Do I need to purchase a printer?

All College House computer labs have high-quality laser printers, but you may purchase your own printer if you prefer. Please Note: Wireless printers are NOT supported on campus. These printers will not work on our wireless network.

What kind of computer should I have?

When determining what kind of computer to purchase, we recommend the following:

Do I need to order a new computer through Penn?

We encourage you to check out the systems that Penn offers through the Computer Connection's annual Back-To-School Sale. This year the sale offers exclusively discounted prices on Apple Macintosh and PC laptops. Laptops ordered via Campus Express Online ( ) can be shipped to you over the summer; otherwise your computer will be available for pickup at Penn when you arrive in August. The Computer Connection will be sending you information separately, or you can view the Back-To-School systems on the Campus Express website starting June 1st. Buying a computer through Penn has many advantages, such as extended warranties with accidental damage coverage, and configurations that meet or exceed the recommendations of Pennís central computing group, so be sure to check out their information.

What operating system should I have?

Review our information recommended operating systems

What do I need to get connected to the wired network?

All computers, laptops and most netbooks come with ethernet ports. Penn's College House provides high-speed Ethernet. To get access to the you must autheniticate using you PennKey and password.

What do I need to get connected to the wireless network?

All College Houses have AirPennNet, the Penn wireless network. Many academic buildings and public indoor and outdoor spaces on campus also have wireless access. To use the wireless network, your laptop must have a wireless network adapter. This is a built-in option on most laptops. If you do not have this option, you can purchase an adapter at the Computer Connection.

What else do I need to bring?

In addition to any necessary cables and connectors, it is very important that you bring all of your original software installation DVDs with you! If something happens to your computer and you need to re-install a program or the operating system, you must have all your original installation CDs and DVDs.

Anti-piracy laws require that you must have a license for all of your software. You can not borrow software media for use on your computer. If your computer did not ship with recovery DVDs, make them before you arrive. Check your computerís documentation on how to make recovery DVDs.

Is there anything I should do to my computer before I arrive?

Yes! Before you arrive on campus, make sure your computer is up-to-date with all critical operating system updates and patches.  Our 7 Steps to Safe Computing at Penn contains information on enabling your firewall, running operating system updates, setting a system password and more tips to keep your computer safe from viruses and hackers.

If you connect an infected or compromised computer to the wired PennNet network, your port will be shut off. If you use wireless AirPennNet, your access will be blocked.

Do I need anti-virus software?

Yes! The good news is that Penn provides anti-virus software free of charge for all students.You can download and install the anti-virus program from  before you arrive on campus. The software is set to automatically update itself once a day, offering you continuously updated protection from spam, computer viruses, and worms.

What should I do if I need help when I move in?

Your College Houseís ITA staff will be working additional hours during move-in to get you connected as quickly as possible. Just look for the College House Computing table near the entrance to your College House, and the staff will be happy to assist you.