Computer and Account Advice

Setting up your Swarthmore College accounts

  1. The first thing you should do is set a password on your Swarthmore College account. Your user ID and temporary password are mailed out mid-May. This will allow you to check emails sent to your Swarthmore College email address, submit many of the forms we require online, and receive critical information like your housing assignment (when it has been completed). By activating your Swarthmore accounts, you are agreeing to abide by the Swarthmore College Acceptable Use Policy and the Copyright Policy.
  2. To set a password on your Swarthmore account, follow the directions found in the mailing from the Dean of Students. The webpage for changing your password is
  3. After setting a password you will be able to access the new student forms.

Computer advice

Mac, Windows, or other?

Information Technology Services supports both Mac and Windows operating systems. In addition, we recommend Apple and Dell hardware because they can be repaired by staff on campus. Other hardware vendors are supported but cannot be repaired on campus. Linux machines are allowed on the network, but are not supported by ITS.

Desktop vs. Laptop?

Both are good options. Desktops are generally less expensive, more powerful and durable, and less likely to be stolen or lost. Laptops allow you to take your work with you, and Swarthmore provides campus-wide wireless coverage. If you choose a laptop, the College highly recommends getting an extended service plan.

For those buying a PC:

We recommend a minimum of 8 GB of RAM, Windows 7 or higher, and a 20-inch professional widescreen display for a desktop or a 14.1-inch WIXGA+ widescreen display for a laptop.

For those buying a Mac:

We recommend a minimum of 8 GB of RAM, Mac OS 10.9 or higher, and a 21.5-inch widescreen display for a desktop or a 15-inch widescreen display for a laptop.

Whichever system you choose, bring everything that comes with your computer, including the operating system and software CDs. You can find more information about buying a computer at

What do I need in order to connect my computer to the network?

The College provides campus-wide wireless coverage. Swarthmore requires all students to install antivirus software to gain access to the network, but most major antivirus software vendors are supported.

What about software?

Swarthmore students can purchase software at significant discounts at the Swarthmore Campus and Community Store's web site ( Click on “Get Your Technology Needs Here”, and follow the link to the JourneyEd e-store for more information.

Office 365 Education for Students is available for free to students enrolled at Swarthmore College. Install Office on up to 5 PCs or Macs and on other mobile devices, including Android, iPad, and Windows tablets.

To enroll, visit Microsoft’s Office 365 page and log in with your Swarthmore email address.