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 keeping in touch with friends from home. 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. 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?

Rice requires every student to have a computer to serve as an integral part of course instruction. (If you need financial assistance with this requirement, please submit an application on the Access and Opportunity portal at However, 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.

Laptops vs. Desktops?

Your decision, but a laptop might be more convenient for a student’s lifestyle of taking notes in class, working with a study group in the library, or binge watching shows in bed on the weekends. Sometimes students have both and prefer the larger desktop monitor when studying in their room.

Purchasing Advice and Discounts

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

Computer Requirements for Undergraduate Students Free or Discounted Software Available to Students (Microsoft Office, Matlab, & more)

Should I bring a printer?

You don’t have to bring a printer. A past survey showed that about half of Rice undergraduates brought their own printer for convenience. Often roommates share the expense of a printer, just like a mini fridge. If you bring a printer, be aware that the Rice network does not support wireless printing so you will need a cable to connect your printer to your computer.

If you don’t bring a printer, you can print in your college computer lab, other campus labs, and Fondren library for a small fee. Printing costs 7 cents per page for black and white and 35 cents per page for color. Posters and architecture/engineering plots can be printed for about $3 per linear foot. Printing charges are included in your bill from the Cashier’s Office.

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 laptops might require an Ethernet adapter.

Campus Resources

Computer Labs

Each college has a small computer lab with a printer, but larger 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

Undergraduate 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).

Graduate student email is managed 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).

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. These emails are scams, known as phishing. Hackers can make messages look like they are really from Rice so be careful. If you are unsure about a message, please submit it using our Report an IT Security Incident form. If you replied to a phishing message, call the Help Desk immediately to reset your 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 Help Desk if you need computer assistance or advice.

Online Help and Tips

Check out our web site for more information about OIT services.

Detailed "how to" instructions can be found on Rice's KnowledgeBase, such as Getting Started in IT.