Students—Shopping List | Office of Information Technology

Students—Shopping List

Last Updated: 03/20/2017


Getting yourself connected with campus technology is an important piece in your educational experiences at CU Boulder. The university recommends that all students have a computer if financially feasible. Sometimes it's not that easy to figure out exactly what you'll need, and that's why OIT has devised this recommended shopping list of everything you might need for computing at CU Boulder.

Computer - new or existing

OIT has devised a set of minimum configuration recommendations for student computer ownership. Visit our other Recommendation pages for students to make sure your computer is properly equipped for the academic ride you're about to take. Please remember that the wireless network on campus is available in many locations for students who have a laptop computer.

The CU Book Store Tech Department has academic pricing available through many hardware manufacturers, such as HP, Lenovo, Dell and Apple. Product demos and computer selection help are available in-store from the Tech Department's knowledgeable staff. To simplify your computer purchase, OIT recommends you purchase your computer through the CU Book Store's web site at

Computers can also be purchased at any computer retailer, just be sure to check with our minimum configuration recommendations before purchasing a computer at

Connecting to the Internet

Internet connectivity is important for your education. It allows you to send and receive email, log into MyCUInfo, and conduct research for classes. Students living in the residence halls and university apartments (family housing and Bear Creek) have access to the university's high-speed Ethernet connection. To connect, each residence hall and university apartment student must have:

√  A CAT5/6 cable - A 25-foot cable is strongly recommended for easy connection to the ResNet Ethernet jack in the residence hall rooms and family housing residences.

Wireless for laptops

As a CU Boulder student, you will have access to UCB Wireless to connect to the Internet. UCB Wireless can be found in most university buildings on main campus and residence halls. One-time registration with your IdentiKey is required to use wireless on campus. In addition, students are prohibited from using their own wireless access points in the residence halls or university apartments (family housing and Bear Creek). Visit our UCB Wireless site for information about connecting to UCB Wireless, as well as using a secure connection with wireless networking.

√ Dual Band Wireless AC (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz) is strongly recommended for best WiFi experience on campus.


Black and white and color printing is available in various computer labs around campus to all students at CU Boulder. In addition, you can also print to these labs remotely from your residence hall room or university apartment (family housing and Bear Creek) and through wireless connections on campus. Learn more about printing. Through Student Printing and Scanning, after a set quota of prints at no charge has been exceeded, there is a fee assessed, paid with your Buff OneCard. Depending on the printing needs of each student, the cost to print on campus through the labs is often significantly less than purchasing a printer and the consumables for that printer. However, bringing your own printer is an option.

If you are bringing a printer to the residence halls and university apartments, OIT recommends USB wired printers. Wireless printers are not recommended.


Clickers are handheld devices that allow students to respond to in-class concept questions, and are an increasingly popular teaching tool at CU Boulder. Clickers are becoming more standardized on-campus, but it is highly recommended that you wait to buy any clicker before attending your classes and getting direction from your instructor. Learn more about CUClickers, OIT's supported clicker solution and the solution most used on campus.

Surge protection

Surge protectors not only provide extra outlets for you to plug your computer, monitor, and printer into, they protect your technology from the consequences of a power surge. Surge protectors, which are relatively inexpensive, can be purchased at the Buffalo Chip and at many other computer retailers.

Connecting cable for cable TV

If you are bringing a TV to campus for your residence hall room or university apartment (family housing and Bear Creek), make sure you bring or purchase a coax (TV) cable, because these are not provided for you. You can purchase the recommended 25-foot coax cables at the CU Book Store Tech Department as well as at other retailers.


Remember, when your computer is connected to the Internet it is vulnerable to Internet attacks, worms, and viruses. It is essential that you've installed all the updates to your operating system and that you have a current antivirus program loaded on your computer before connecting to the campus network. CU Boulder offers antivirus software at no charge. Once you have an IdentiKey or your computer is connected to the CU Boulder network, you can download this software for no charge. Please protect yourself by keeping your computer's antivirus software up-to-date with any needed patches and disabling file sharing. CU Boulder reserves the right to deny or revoke network access if your computer is compromised or found to be vulnerable. Learn more about IT Security.

CU Book Store

The CU Book Store Tech Department offers computer hardware, software and accessories, a wide range of calculators, headphones, cables, adapters and other electronic goods at affordable prices. Located conveniently in the University Memorial Center (UMC), the CU Book Store Tech Department has computer and other product demos, rental laptops and a repair service partner, as well as knowledgeable staff to help with all your technology needs.  For location, hours of operation, and purchasing information, visit the CU Book Store's technology website.

IT Service Center

Throughout your entire educational experience at CU Boulder, the IT Service Center is your one-start contact point for help with computing and on-campus phone services. Along with a well equipped walk-in center open Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., the IT Service Center provides over the phone support at 303-735-HELP (4357) Monday through Friday 7:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and Saturday through Sunday from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m., as well as help via email at The IT Service Center is located on the first floor of the Technology Learning Center.

Look for OIT during New Student Welcome

Representatives from OIT will be present at New Student Welcome Days to answer any questions you might have about purchasing computers, connecting to the Internet, telephones for on-campus residents, email accounts, and getting support for everything technology related.