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Laptop Requirement: FAQ

Can I get financial aid to help purchase a laptop?

  • For Financial Aid questions, please contact the Financial Aid office.
  • If you have technology questions or need help deciding what technology to purchase, please contact the Help Desk.

Can I check out a laptop from the Media Center?

Media Center laptops are available for temporary loan check-outs while students obtain their own laptop. Students will need to first fill out a Needs Assessment form: Laptop Loan Program, then someone from the Media Center will be in contact about availability.

Should I buy a Mac or a PC?

Most programs at CCA use Macs, but some recommend PCs. Please check the recommendations for your intended major before making a purchase.

Note: Boot Camp offers a way to use Windows software on an intel based Mac. Instructions can be found on Apple’s support site and if you have difficulty, our Help Desk and User Support Specialists are available to help you. Boot Camp is not available on the M1 and M2 Macs, if you need to use Windows software for your program, you may want to consider purchasing a PC.

Please call, email, or submit a ticket online to make an appointment with User Support:

Phone: 510-594-5010
Email: helpdesk@cca.edu
Online: Submit Help Desk Ticket

What is the minimum laptop and external drive specifications for fall 2022?

If you know your major, please check the recommendations for your intended major before making a purchase.

General minimum recommended laptop model for fall 2022:

  • Apple 13-inch MacBook Pro M2 chip with 8-core CPU
    10-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine
    Minimum 16GB Unified Memory
    Minimum 512 GB SSD storage
    Retina display with True Tone
    2 Thunderbolt, USB 4 ports
    Purchase here: CCA / Apple Online Store Bundles (see Recommended System No. 1)

General minimum recommended external drive device for fall 2022:

  • External storage device:
    Connects via USB
    1 TB (Terabyte) minimum storage space
  • Recommended external storage devices:
    LaCie Mobile SSD High-Performance External Drive, purchase at CCA/Apple online store (see Systems No. 7 & 8).

What if I already have a personal computer with similar equipment or want to purchase something on my own? Do I still have to buy the CCA required/recommended laptop?

If you already have a laptop with comparable specs to the CCA required MacBook Pro, or the PC recommended for your specific major, you can arrive with your machine. That said, buying the CCA required computer will ensure that your laptop is fully compatible with your department’s curriculum. In addition, it will also ensure that you receive the best possible laptop program support from the college. CCA partners with Apple to provide CCA students purchasing new laptops additional discounts that they could not otherwise receive on their own.

Can I purchase a departmental laptop package for a department in which I am not a major?

You can do this, particularly if you think you are going to be changing majors. We encourage you to talk to your Academic Advisor or contact the Help Desk in advance of purchasing a new laptop. Laptop recommendations by major can be found on the Program Technology Requirements page.

Can I customize or change the laptop configuration or accessories?

We have selected this configuration to enable a broad range of use and a long working life for your computer. As long as your laptop meets the minimum specifications, you are welcome to customize your machine to suit your individual needs.

When should I order my laptop and software?

CCA recommends waiting until late summer before purchasing your required MacBook Pro, as Apple often releases new system updates earlier in the summer. Additionally, we recommend acquiring your software and having it installed 2 weeks prior to your arrival to CCA. This will ensure that you are running the latest version of the software and allow time to troubleshoot any issues that arise before of the start of classes.

Where can I access the software for my laptop that I need for classes?

Free Access to most software required for class use is provided by Creative Instructional Technologies (C.I.T.). Instructions to access software are available on this page. CCA provides all students with subscriptions for Adobe Creative Cloud Products. You can go here for instructions on accepting your invitation and then installing the Adobe Software on your laptop.

Can someone help me install my software?

Yes! If you are having difficulty installing the Adobe Creative Cloud or other software required for class, our Help Desk and User Support Specialists are available to help you. Please call, email, or submit a ticket online to make an appointment with User Support:

Phone: 510-594-5010
Email: helpdesk@cca.edu
Online: Submit Help Desk Ticket