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EIU Department of Journalism

Department Laptop Suggestions

Our surveys show that more than 90 percent of our students own their own computer. Parents and students often ask us to assist them with purchasing the best computer to serves their academic and professional needs. We recommend a laptop.

Why a laptop

The EIU Journalism Department is dedicated to maintaining its position as a leader in educating tomorrow’s journalists. Laptops are the most versatile computers for  journalists who need to be able to report, write, photograph, shoot and edit video and adapt content for a variety of media and applications.  Many of our faculty use, laptops and have larger external monitors they connect their laptops to in their offices.

Our goal is to graduate the most prepared, most experienced, most talented journalists possible. In the past few years the department has spent thousands of dollars to provide students with digital still cameras, video cameras, digital audio recorders and specialized software for use by students with their laptops. The university also provides on-campus support and repair specialists.

The laptop you purchase will be used to work on assignments and projects in classes, in the field and in your residence hall or apartment. You’ll always have the hardware and software at your fingertips.

Can I get financial aid assistance to purchase the laptop?

The Higher Education Amendments of 1998 allow for the purchase of a 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. Please contact the EIU Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for further information at 217-581-6405.

What should I get?

The EIU Journalism Department (and most of our industry) has functioned in an all-Mac environment for more than 25 years. Therefore, we prefer that students purchase one of the following computers:

MacBook Pro with Retina display, 13-inch (or 15-inch), 2.7GHz i5 Processor, 8GB RAM memory, 256GB SSD*
If you prefer a windows/pc machine, we recommend the following:

Dell XPS 13 9350-4007SLV Core i5 256GB Signature 13-inch (or 15-inch)
Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM memory, 256GB SSD.*
*If a student interested in broadcasting we suggest a laptop with a 15-inch screen, a i7 processor, 16Gb of RAM and 512 SSD HD.
The “right” purchase depends on your pocketbook and how much processing power you’ll need. We recommend you also purchase the three-year AppleCare Protection Plan; it provides for on-campus repairs at no charge. Visit the EIU bookstore or call 217-581-7234. Be sure to mention that you are a journalism major.

Currently the department provides all of the software you will use in our labs. For your own laptop we suggest you purchasing a membership with Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe Software provides numerous combinations by which students can rent their software monthly. For example you can rent Adobe Photoshop CC and Lightroom for $9.99 month. If you want it all, a two-year, $49-a-month contract lets you download the entire collection of 20+ creative desktop and mobile apps, including Photoshop CC and Illustrator CC, and you get all updates free of charge. As a journalism major you’ll be using Photoshop, InDesign, Acrobat X Pro and Premiere Pro on a regular basis.  

You can get more information about Creative Cloud and purchasing a membership at

If you have other questions, please contact the EIU Journalism Department at 217-581-6003 or by e-mail at



Related Pages

Contact Information

Journalism Department

2521 Buzzard Hall
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920
(217) 581-6003

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