Part of your college tuition grants you access to some of the most cutting-edge technology and research in the world. From journal subscriptions to reference e-books to high-tech computers, you have all kinds of resources to help you with your school work, and won’t have to pay extra for any of it. Whether you’re an online student or living in the dorms, here are 10 impressive college computer labs you’ll want to check out for inspiration. Just don’t get too jealous.
1. University of Texas at San Antonio: UTSA opened the nation’s first college campus bookless library in 2010, designed especially for students at the College of Sciences and College of Engineering students. The library can hold 80 students who are assisted by experienced librarians who have more time to help students find resources now that they don’t have to re-shelve books. Students can use 10 desktop computers, five LCD screens, a printer, scanner, and study rooms, and there are plans to incorporate ereaders and ebook collections for students to take home with them.
2. Kansas State Fiedler Engineering Library: Kansas States’ library — which sprawls across 20,000 sq. feet — is nearly 100% electronic, and has been since 2000. Its website also boasts that the library features a high-tech auditorium and “and small team learning rooms wired for the information age.”
3. Ringling College of Art and Design: This school earned the top spot on U.S. News and World Report’s 15 Most Wired College Campuses list, making available 2,500 computers to just 1,318 students.
4. Stanford Engineering Library: Not to be left behind, Stanford’s engineering library is also going the e-content route, moving nearly 100,000 books and journals offsite as digital content is used more frequently.
5. Oneonta Computer Art Lab: At State University of New York’s Oneonta campus, computer art students have a computer lab to themselves, including two studios plus one in the making. The studios contain Cintiq tablets, Pencil Test Bundle stations, Mac computers, projection systems, large format color printer, video cameras, and a lot more equipment and software programs just for students taking these classes.
6. Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: Founded in 1824 as the first technological university in the English-speaking world, Rensselaer Polytechnic now has plans to add 100,000 square feet to its computer lab, which already encompasses 120,000 square feet. Several other computer labs and facilities dot the campus, and students have lots of support when it comes to updating, networking and using their laptops for classes.
7. MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory: A few years ago, MIT’s computer science library and AI library merged, forming the largest interdepartmental library at MIT. Around 500 students use the lab to work on innovative projects from encryption to computer science theory in the 8-floor building.
8. West Point: West Point is ranked 3rd by U.S. News and World Report’s Most Wired College Campuses list, providing 5,195 computers for its 4,621 students, according to the study. All students are required to own or lease a computer and take a computer class. There are 28 computers around campus operating on Windows and Mac OSX systems.
9. Carnegie Mellon Clusters: The computer labs at Carnegie Mellon — there are over 23 of them — are called clusters and are open 24/7 for independent studying or teaching classes. Computers run on Windows, Mac or Linux and are located in 10 different buildings around campus, including the School of Music and School of Computer Science.
10. University of Toledo Virtual Lab: Students taking certain classes at the University of Toledo can use the virtual lab by signing in from their own computers to access virtual machines with pre-loaded applications and software, for free. All they need is a web browser and network connection, and they can access the software and information from anywhere in the world.