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Mandatory Computer Ownership Policy for Students

The School of Law requires that each first-year student have a notebook computer sufficiently equipped to be used to support essential research, classroom, and communications tasks. Upon arrival in the Fall, students will be assisted in setting up their computers to access the School’s wireless network and will later be shown how to make their computer eligible for use in computer-based exams. The School of Law is convinced that requiring all students to own portable computers will increase their productivity and efficiency, improve institutional communications, and prepare students to effectively use this essential business tool.

Options for Satisfying the Computer Ownership Requirement

  1. Purchase a recommended computer.
  2. Use a computer you already own (if it meets our minimum specifications, below).

Minimum Specifications

You are welcome to use a computer that you already have, but it is important that it meet (and preferably exceed) the minimum requirements listed below to ensure that it will provide you with the type of service that you will need throughout your law school career.

Feature Minimum Specifications
Computer type PC (Windows Based)
  1. 2 GHz Intel Core Duo Processor or better
  2. 8 GB RAM
  3. 250 GB hard drive
  4. Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10
  5. 10/100/gigabit Ethernet wired connection — external USB if necessary
  6. 802.11 Wireless Network Card — Standard with all computers.

Students interested in a Microsoft Surface should note that ONLY Surface Pro devices are supported by the Softest examination software. Those using a Surface Pro device should pair it with an external keyboard (USB or Bluetooth).

Apple Macintosh

  1. 1.8 GHz Intel Core Duo Processor or better
  2. 8 GB RAM
  3. 250 GB Hard Drive
  4. Macintosh 10.10 (Yosemite) or higher
  5. 802.11 Wireless Network Card — Standard with all computers.
Display 14.1" or larger XGA/TFT display — Smaller display is OK.
Video Card 32 MB, or greater
PC Card Slots 1 or 2 Type II slots
USB Ports For PC (Windows Based) — 1 or 2 USB 1.X or 3.x ports.
For Apple Macintosh — 1 or 2 USB 1.X, 3.x or USB-C ports.
Operating System Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10 (for PCs) or Yosemite (10.10) or above (for Macs) are required.
Word Processing Software Microsoft Office 2013/2016/Office 365 or WordPerfect 12 or higher. Microsoft Office and WordPerfect 12 are installed on all Commons Area computers.
Warranty 3 Year, On-Site Warranty (strongly recommended)
Wireless Network Card (required to access the School of Law's wireless network throughout the Law Building) Laptops come standard with a built-in wireless card.
Standard Ethernet Network Card (optional) Typically built-in on most notebooks (required if you plan to connect to high-speed cable or DSL connections at home)
USB Flash Drive (aka — Pen Drive, Memory Key, Thumb Drive)
(optional)
Small, portable USB device (with varying storage capacities) useful for backing up data and moving data between computers.
Carrying Case (technically optional, but functionally essential) If your computer does not come with a padded case with sufficient room for your computer and supplies, you will need one for safely transporting it around the building.
Insurance (again, optional, but a very wise, and surprising inexpensive way to protect your investment)

If you computer is not covered by your homeowner's or renter's policy against theft or damage, you should consider purchasing a computer insurance policy. Several companies write this type of insurance which can cover repairs or complete replacement of damaged or lost/stolen computers. Several companies worth considering are:

Commons Area

There is a Commons Area located on the first floor adjacent to the Law Library. Twenty-four networked desktop computers are available for law student use. At present, the Commons Area computer labs are equipped with Windows-based computers, all of which are connected to our network and the Internet and loaded with a full complement of word processing, web browsing, and other useful software programs. There are seven public workstations located throughout the Law Library for public use.

Laser printing is managed through your Carolina Card. All law students receive a laser printing credit of $100 at the beginning of each academic year. Once your initial printing allotment has run out, you may add Carolina Cash to your account through your Self Service Carolina. You are well-advised to supplement the School of Law’s printing facilities with your own printer at home.

Laptop Support

The law school IT staff is prepared to help you get your computer connected to the wireless network and prepare it for use with Softest, our online examination software. There are some services we are not equipped to provide, however.  Services NOT provided by the School of Law IT:

  • Internal or external hardware repair
  • Computer partitioning and reformatting
  • Operating system installation and restores
  • Backing up and restoring personal data, including photos, videos and music files
  • Support for operating systems other than Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 10, Macintosh OS X, iOS and Android

Please check with your software/hardware vendor or outside ISP provider if you experience any of these problems. We apologize for any inconvenience.

Financial Aid Implications

Students who wish to add the cost of a personal computer to their loan funds should schedule an appointment with a counselor in the University’s Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships, 1714 College Street, Columbia SC 29208, by calling 803-777-8134. Bring the invoice or receipts for your computer purchase with you to the appointment.

Need Help with Computer Questions?

If selecting a computer is causing you any worries, please don't hesitate to call James Owens, Classroom Technology & Student Support technician at 803-777-1179 or e-mail lawhelp@law.sc.edu. Student IT support is available in Room 202K.