Information Technology FAQ
We require all students to bring their own Apple laptop to school. Review the information below for answers to frequently asked questions about computers and accessories.
Will students who already own an Apple laptop computer have to buy another one?
No. Typically laptops that are less than three years old can still be supported and used. Students who already own an Apple laptop can continue to use it as long as the computer meets Interlochen standards. They will be required to pay for additional software if and when it is needed based on their program's requirements. Students may also be required to install other software as needed to support our network, classroom environment, or required software for a particular arts discipline.
What are the standard specifications?
- MacBook Pro (13-inch or 15-inch, 2017 or later)
- MacBook Air (11-inch or 13-inch 2017 or later)
- MacBook (12-inch 2017 or later)
- We currently would recommend a MacBook Air or MacBook Pro. Our current model for most staff and faculty at Interlochen Center for the Arts is a 13-inch MacBook Air or 13-inch MacBook Pro with typically 8 GB of memory, and 256 GB of storage space.
- 4 GB or more of memory minimum
- 8 GB or more of memory recommended.
- At least 80 GB of free space for work and programs.
- macOS/OS X Mojave or newer.
- We highly recommend an external disk drive or a backup service. We also offer cloud storage through Google Drive for all students to store their files.
Are the new Apple Silicon Macs OK to use as a student?
As part of our research many pieces of software will run without issue on the new Apple Silicon (sometime also called M1 Macs). It is important to check any important software you might need to run to see if it is compatible with Apple Silicon. However over time many companies will update their software to natively run on Apple Silicon. Apple Silicon Macs offer benefits such as a much higher battery life and are generally less expensive versus their Intel counterparts. Many of the major companies like Microsoft and Adobe have already introduced fully compatible versions of their software such as Office and Creative Cloud.
Why not allow both Macs and Windows PCs?
As part of our research, we spoke to many 1:1 laptop schools. We were advised repeatedly, based on other schools’ experiences, to select one consistent computing platform to ensure program success for clear reasons:
- We need to be able to provide quality technical support with limited human resources and maintain a secure computing environment. It is more difficult and expensive to maintain the expertise needed to troubleshoot problems on several different types of computers and operating systems.
- One consistent computing platform also provides one consistent software platform. Not all software has the same features across the Windows and Mac versions. Interlochen arts programs use a great deal of discipline-specific software that is not web (cloud) based, and some works exclusively on the Mac (music, visual arts, film).
- We did not want to introduce technical complexity to the classroom by requiring teachers to deal with several different types of computers that run software differently.
After evaluating various platforms, we chose Apple for the following reasons:
- Technical support and reliability: In our experience, Macs requires much less tech support and are more reliable. We have already experienced this with the Macs we have purchased for our faculty, which have proven to be very reliable, while many PCs, even those protected with commercial-grade anti-virus, are frequently plagued by virus or malware issues.
- Track record supporting 1:1 laptop schools: Apple has helped more than one thousand school districts from around the country implement 1:1 programs. Apple is invested in our success and they have already been a huge help in the planning stages of this program.
- Battery life: MacBook Airs and MacBook Pros have the battery life needed to get through the school day without charging during routine use. Students will be required to charge their laptops overnight so they will not interrupt classes or their studies during the day.
- Total cost of ownership: Though there is a perception that Macs are more expensive than PCs initially, we have found that the total cost of ownership over time for Macs is actually lower. They have a better resale value and in general survive the rugged environment of high school in better condition than consumer Windows laptops. There are many online surveys supporting this viewpoint.
What accessories should I bring?
Laptops are fairly self-contained so no accessories are absolutely required. However, external keyboards, mice, and monitors would all be useful to have in the residence halls. Personal USB printers may also be used in the residence halls, though Interlochen is working toward a greener, less paper-intensive, online academic environment. Interlochen Center for the Arts IT department does not allow or support personal routers, repeaters, and personal wifi-enabled printers.
What happens if the computer is damaged?
The IT Help Desk will have laptop loaners available for short-term needs while a computer is being repaired. For hardware repairs, we recommend the local CityMac near the Grand Traverse Mall. Repairs will be the responsibility of the student/parent.
Will I be required to buy another laptop for college?
Colleges all have different policies on computer usage, but Apple remains a favorite among college students.
Why is the price of the laptop not included in tuition?
The reason it is not included in tuition is that there will be many students who will already have the appropriate laptop and building the cost into tuition would charge everyone for this cost.
Can financial aid apply to the purchase of the laptop?
The total cost of a student’s education including tuition, travel, and additional fees (including a laptop purchase, if applicable) are taken into consideration when financial aid is awarded.
Can I buy a laptop through Interlochen?
Unfortunately no, but you can purchase a computer directly via an Apple Retail Store, Best Buy, or the online Apple Education Store.
Can we rent or lease a laptop through Interlochen?
At this point in time, Interlochen is not able to offer a lease program for students.
Are there any other ways to save?
The online Apple Refurbished program is a good place to watch for less-expensive options that still carry an Apple warranty. eBay and Craigslist are also great sources of recent-model laptops, but please note that sites such as these naturally require additional caution to make sure the product is in good condition and offered by a reputable seller.
What happens if I want to purchase a new or replacement accessory once on campus?
There are many online options as well as retail stores in Traverse City that carry Apple accessories. We recommend Amazon.com, City Mac, or Best Buy. Interlochen Center for the Arts is stocked with the most popular accessories available for checkout if needed only on a short-term basis. The Interlochen ScholarShop also sells various computer accessories for Apple computers.
Is there a retail Apple Store near Interlochen?
CityMac and Best Buy, both authorized Apple retail stores, are located in Traverse City, approximately 11 miles from campus. CityMac is inside the Grand Traverse Mall, while Best Buy is across the street.
Have more questions?
Additional questions should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will respond as quickly as we can and continue to add new answers to this page as questions come up.