Loyola University Chicago

Fine Arts

Department of Fine and Performing Arts

Frequently Asked Questions

In order to participate fully in courses that meet in our classrooms, you will need a laptop. If your current desktop computer is an older model, perhapsconsider selling it or using it as an auxiliary system. 

Upgrading the system processor (CPU), the video system, or display of your laptop is usually not possible. However, an operating system upgrade, additional RAM, and a larger hard drive may be able to compensate for a slower or less capable system. 

It’s up to you. Consider purchasing and using your own printer for these reasons:

  • You can print anytime without worrying whether lab printers are available, working well, or in demand by other users.
  • You can choose exactly the type of printer that is best for your own work.
  • You can control the costs of printing yourself, rather than relying on labs and print shops prices.
  • You can still use campus computer labs to print 

It’s difficult to say exactly how long a computer will last — mostly because you can tax the capabilities of your computer system more and more as you integrate it into your daily work. The recommended configurations are designed to last for a four-year stay on campus or to accompany you into your chosen profession after you complete your degree program. However, a three- or four-year-old computer sometimes frustrates the user. If in the future you expect to upgrade to the latest software or are going to use your computer for applications beyond its current capability, you may need to upgrade your hardware more frequently.

It’s your responsibility to ensure you have access to a computer by your first upper-division term. (Fall, Junior-level classes). We strongly encourage you consider purchasing a laptop once you become a Visual Communication student.

DFPA Art Support, located on the 7th floor of the Mundelein Center, has a limited number of Apple MacBook Pro laptops available for short‐term loan (up to one week) on a first-come, first-served basis. Please note that software or other data saved to a DFPA Art Support laptop will be deleted when the laptop is returned. DFPA Art Support will not be able to restore any lost data. 

Loyola’s Digital Media Services also has a limited number of Apple MacBook Pro laptops available for loan. 

There are wireless access points providing wireless access from most locations on campus. 

The Visual Communication program has designated Apple Computer as its preferred provider for these reasons:

  • Apple is the dominant platform for graphic designers and visual artists.
  • Departmental technical support and peripherals have been assembled based on students using an Apple computer.
  • Apple’s current operating system is far less susceptible to viruses than other computers. Viruses are a serious problem on university campuses.

The Visual Communications program does not recommend a Windows-based machine. Apple is the dominant platform for graphic designers and allied fields. The Visual Communication program has functioned as an all-Apple computer environment for 20 years. While students could use a Windows computer for graphic design, their peers and instructors may not be able to help them as much if they run into trouble. Visual Communication instructors use Apple Macintosh computers for teaching.

Eligible financial aid recipients may receive an increase in the amount of their loan package that will help with a computer and software purchase.

The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 allow for the purchase of a required personal computer to be added to a student’s educational expense budget that is used to determine financial aid eligibility. A budget increase does not necessarily result in additional financial aid to cover the cost. Students who have borrowed their annual or aggregate loan limits may not have eligibility remaining. 

The minimum recommendations will be updated annually so they keep pace with changes in technology. You may find that you need to update your laptop if it is more than three years old and/or does not meet the current minimum recommendations.

Unfortunately, no. A tablet or smartphone can be used as a supporting, secondary device, but for primary use you will need a laptop.