Students attending Suffield Academy are required to have an Apple laptop. This page contains basic information about our laptop requirement and instructions for ordering a computer.
This page was last updated at 10:44 AM on April 8, 2017.
We currently recommend Apple's MacBook Pro with Retina display for all students. It comes in a 13" and 15" size, with a variety of options for memory (RAM), and flash storage (solid-state). Note that Apple also has the MacBook Air and MacBook (non-Pro) models available. Due to their relative cost and speed, we do not recommend these models for use at Suffield Academy.
As students may use their computers for all 4 years, we require that all laptops meet the following minimum requirements (note that machines purchased from our custom online store are configured to meet these requirements):
- At least 8GB of RAM (more can improve the speed of the machine)
- At least 256GB of storage space (more allows you to store a greater number of movies, pictures, and songs on the computer)
- Apple's 3-year AppleCare Protection Plan (extended warranty). This is not required for new seniors, but is still strongly recommended.
- No additional software purchase is necessary. We provide all software and updates to students through a one-time fee.
- A printer is not necessary. All dormitories have networked laser printers available for students, and other common areas on campus have printers for day students to use.
In addition to the requirements listed above, families may want to consider:
- A padded bag or case for the laptop. "Accidental" damage (dropping, liquid spills, crushing in a backpack, etc.) is not covered by warranty, and a case is the best way to prevent this sort of damage.
- Boarders may want to purchase a wired Ethernet connector, available as a separate purchase from Apple. Wireless is available in all indoor spaces, but some students prefer the speed and reliability of a wired connection in their rooms. Students should also purchase an Ethernet cable online or through the school bookstore.
- An external hard drive to back up important files. This is the best line of defense against data loss due to theft, damage, or hardware failure. The school makes server space available to back up work for classes, but students should purchase a drive to back up personal items (music, pictures, etc.). Purchase a drive at least as large as the storage in the laptop. Drives do not have to be purchased from Apple; any USB external drive should work. Many are available for $120 or less in different sizes.
- A separate insurance policy for the laptop. The warranty does not cover accidental damage (dropped machines, liquid spills) or theft. A rider on a homeowner's insurance policy, or a separate policy such as one sold by Safeware can cover these other types of events. Check your existing insurance to see if it already covers equipment for students living away from home.
Most students purchase the basic 13" model from our store, and are happy with its performance over 4 years. Students who wish to have a larger or faster machine are welcome to purchase a more expensive model, but unless you have a specific requirement for a more expensive machine we don't require anything other than the basic model.
Apple does not announce its new products ahead of time, making it difficult to time purchases around new equipment. There are rumor sites that give estimates of new product announcements, but they are not always accurate. We generally recommend purchasing new equipment in July or early August to get the latest models but still have them arrive in time for the start of school.
International students who wish to order and ship the computer directly to our campus may have difficulty purchasing with a non-US credit card. In this case, contact us and we can help make the purchase on your behalf and pay for the computer through the student's debit account.
If a student already has an Apple laptop, they may use that machine at Suffield Academy. However, we ask that families budget for the machine's replacement if the laptop will be more than 4 years old during a student's time here. For example, if a student arrives with a 2-year-old laptop their freshman year, they should plan on replacing it during their junior year. We cannot guarantee support for machines older than 4 years or machines that are no longer covered by warranty, so planning for replacement prevents a sudden unexpected expense.
If you have a little extra money to spend, consider purchasing additional RAM for the laptop. Apple's current laptops cannot be upgraded after purchase, so extra RAM can help extend the life of a machine.
Please note: Apple sometimes updates its machines during the summer. We recommend purchasing new equipment in July or early August to get the latest models available from Apple.
Suffield Academy has partnered with Apple to allow students and parents to order computers online directly from Apple's online store. Our section of the store features pre-configured machines that meet our requirements. Please visit our recommended systems page to see the available machines. If you wish to purchase in an Apple retail store, please print out the recommended systems page and take it with you. All of our pre-configured recommended systems meet our minimum requirements (listed above).
If you have any questions about the requirements, or need more details to make an informed purchase, please contact us:
Academic Technology Coordinator