Get Started: Students

Your computer is going to be an important tool in your college experience used for everything from completing homework assignments to taking notes in class to connecting with your project team. Rice’s Office of Information Technology provides computing services such as email, computer labs and printers, technical troubleshooting, and offering advice.

Note to graduate students: Most of the following advice and listed resources applies to you as well as undergraduates. However, be sure to check with your advisor and department about additional resources and recommendations.

Tech Prep for Rice

What type of computer do I need?

Access to a computer serves as an integral part of course instruction. You choose the specific type of computer to use, so base your decision on how comfortable you are working with a computer and its operating system. Whether you are buying a new computer or using an existing computer, you need to ensure your computer is robust enough for course work by checking that it meets some general minimum requirements. Each major has different computing and software needs so be sure to check with your advisor as well.

Purchasing Advice and Discounts

If you are buying a new computer or software, these resources might be helpful:

Computer Recommendations for Undergraduate Students

Free or Discounted Software Available to Students (Microsoft Office, Matlab, & more)

Should I bring a printer?

You don’t have to own a printer. The majority of your course work will be turned in online. If you are on campus and want to print, you can print in campus labs for a small fee. Many undergraduates have their own printer for convenience and often share the expense of a printer with roommates, just like a mini fridge.

List of printer and plotter locations and associated rates

How do I connect to the campus network?

You can find more instructions about connecting to the campus network online and can complete these steps before you arrive at Rice. Undergraduates: Each college room has a wired Ethernet connection port to connect to the campus network, which is much faster and more reliable than wireless connections. Consider bringing a standard Ethernet 568a cable (Cat6 with RJ-45 jack) so you can plug in. Be sure to buy a long, 25-foot cable so you have flexibility in arranging your room and note that some devices might require an Ethernet cable adapter.

Campus Resources

Computer Labs

Each college has a small computer lab with a printer, but other labs are scattered across campus; in fact, some of your classes may be taught in computer classrooms. Computers in labs have standard programs (word processor, spreadsheet, and web browsers) installed. If a course requires a special software program, you can find it installed on lab computers or might be able to purchase it at a discount.

Rice Email

Student email is managed externally through Rice Google mail. Once you receive your Rice student ID number, you can set up your Rice email account. Official communication from the university will be sent only to this account so be sure to monitor it (or forward to another email account).

Scam email alert: No one at Rice will ever ask you to verify your NetID account or ask for your password, student number, credit card information or other personal details by email. Hackers can make these phishing scams look like they are really from Rice so be careful. Also beware of fake employment messages–verify the job by contacting the person by phone or direct email (not a reply to the original message). If you are unsure a message is legitimate, before you respond, contact the OIT Help Desk for advice. Read more tips in the Security Awareness: Campus Guide (viewing requires login with Rice NetID and password).

OIT Help Desk

The Help Desk is a free service available to assist with lost data, crashed computers, network problems, and virus infections. Contact the OIT Help Desk if you need computer assistance or advice.

Online Help and Tips

Check out our web site for more information about OIT services or the detailed how-to instructions in the OIT KnowledgeBase, such as Getting Started in IT for Undergraduate Students or Getting Started in IT for Graduate Students.