You are about to enter college as an BFA Art student! Over the coming years you will learn lots of new ways to be creative, some may be more familiar than others. For some, you have been using computers daily for art making for others this may be new ground. In the Foundation program, you will be asked to use a computer daily to check email, make a blog, print out images and a variety of other tasks. Towards that end, you will need to purchase a computer and other technology to support your learning. In an effort to help you in your search, we have provided the following Technology Guide.
For your first year of study, we highly recommend that you bring to school a Mac laptop computer, digital camera, and printer. A flash drive**, CD/DVD’s**, extra printer cartridges, and a variety of regular and photo paper** are also recommended. It is convenient to have them on hand and buying them ahead of time may be your cheapest option. We would suggest that you bring with you any of the following if you already OWN them, but they are not required for coursework: cell phone, ipod, digital recorder. (A note about cell phones: coverage is sometimes spotty in the region. Some carriers are better than others. Check out http://www.alfredwireless.com for discounts on phone service)
You may find that you already own some of the suggested items. If this is true for you, it is perfectly fine to start the year with what you have and see how they work for your specific needs. If you do need to purchase new, we have found that buying from a reputable online business is one of the most effective ways to get the most for your money. These sites also can provide product information and customer reviews that are very helpful in choosing the best model for your needs.
What model you select will depend on your individual needs, what you want to spend, and your areas of interest. For example, if you intend to study in the Expanded Media Division you may want to consider a more expansive computer or if you plan to study photography, a SLR or Digital SLR camera. Remember however that you may change your mind about what area of study interests you most!
You’ll use a computer most days at Alfred, from checking your email (a Foundations requirement) to researching and writing papers, to adjusting images and printing them. A computer is an expensive investment and should be bought according to your needs, so consider several things: where and when will you most likely use it, a Mac or a PC, a laptop or desk model, what level of computer you need, your future goals and how much money you want to spend.
• As a college student you are eligible for an education discount from Mac, Dell and Gateway. To find out more about this check the Alfred University site, go to http://my.alfred.edu/its/index.cfm/fuseaction/other.comppurch.cfm.
• While the university as a whole uses PCs, the School of Art + Design and most artists/designers use Macintosh.
• Many people find that a laptop is the best choice because you can bring it to class, the library or a coffee shop.
• Watch out for incentives, often you can get a printer or iPod with your computer purchase. Currently Apple has a great incentive along with an education discount for a laptop: Apple Offer
*One note, some of you may be considering purchasing an iPad, while this is a great tool, it does have limitations. Please be aware of the differences before you purchase.
During the year you will be asked to use a camera for visual research and to document your work. Select a camera that fits your needs+ and budget. For most a compact model with at least 8 megapixels will work for most people. Since the quality of your images will be important, it is best to buy a good quality brand with the highest resolution you can afford. A couple good choices might be a Canon, Panasonic, Nikon, Olympus, or Sony.
You will find the best selection, lowest prices and most information by purchasing a digital camera online. Following are several reputable sites that faculty members have used over the years. You might start by checking the sites that provide a buying guide and reviews first (http://reviews.cnet.com/) and then look at Bizrate (www.bizrate.com), Epinions (http://www.epinions.com) or Price Grabber (http://www.pricegrabber.com) to see who offers the least expensive price after you have selected the model you desire. With a little research you can find an excellent resolution digital camera for a reasonable price.
You might also want to purchase additional storage for your camera. Most come with a CompactFlash, Smartmedia or other PC card, but usually this is not large enough to store many photos.
+Just a note, if you are planning on taking Photography courses you will need a SLR (single lens reflex) camera for Sophomore Photography and if you elect to take Digital Photography (junior) you will need a Digital SLR. If you do buy a SLR or DSLR you should consider purchasing a protective UV filter for your lens. Of course, these items do not need to be purchased for this school year.
Many times you will be asked to print out images from your digital camera or the internet and bring them to the class the next day. It is often difficult to find a color printer on campus for this purpose. We recommend that you purchase or bring with you a color inkjet printer that prints at least 8.5 x 11. Printers have come way down in price and sometimes are bundled with a computer purchase. You might also considering purchasing one together with your roommate. Excellent choices would be any inexpensive Canon, HP or Epson printer. For a good guide to printers check out: http://printers.bizrate.com/printers/buying_guides/basics.html
Remember to purchase extra cartridges, they are much cheaper online and you will run out!
USB Flash Drive or Thumb drive**
You will need to purchase a flash drive. These small devices make it easy to take your files to a printer or to share images. They hold lots of data and start at about $7 for a 4 Gigabit.
Things to remember
Printer cartridges (online is cheaper)
Inkjet Paper: photo, regular **
Extra storage card for your camera
**Note: Included in Art Kit.
Additional Art-making Tools (bring if you already own)
Sewing machine (spring)
Alfred, educational discount, (www.alfred.edu/its/index.cfm/fuseaction/other.comppurch.cfm)
Reviews +Price Comparison
Price Grabber (www.pricegrabber.com)
Better Photo (www.betterphoto.com)
Digital Photography Review (www.dpreview.com)
Digital Camera Review (www.digitalcamerareview.com)
Cnet reviews (reviews.cnet.com)
Consumer Reports (www.online.consumerreports.org)