Tech Resources for New Students

Congratulations on becoming a Cal student! Whether you’ll be on campus or taking classes online, here are some strategies for making your first semester at Cal go as smoothly as possible, technologically. Be sure to also check out these tips for Black studentsEOP studentsgraduate students, and students with disabilities if applicable.

Before Classes Start

1. Prepare Device(s), Software & Apps

Identify the Device(s) You'll Need

  • Look at your class syllabi to see if you’ll need any required devices (laptops, tablets, iClickers, etc.).
  • Think about your note-taking and study preferences. Do you study most effectively with a laptop, a tablet, or paper and pen? Obtain the tools that work best for you.

Borrow a Laptop, WiFi Hotspot, or iClicker

  • Check out the Student Technology Equity Program, which lends laptops, Wi-Fi hotspots, and other hardware to eligible students.
  • You can borrow a laptop, chromebook, or iClicker for free from our campus libraries or student lending programs depending on your eligibility

Use Student Discounts on Device Purchases

  • Make sure to take advantage of student discounts from major retailers like Microsoft, Apple, and Dell when making device purchases.

Download Free Software

  • Check your course syllabi to see if you'll need any required software. 

  • Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Cloud, and many other popular software programs are free for students to download through Software Central. Check your eligibility and download software here.

Download Free Student Apps

  • Canvas Student: access your course documents, grades, and other bCourses materials easily. Download for iOS and Android.

  • UC Berkeley Mobile: access campus maps, directories, news, the Arts Passport and more! Download for iOS and Android.

2. Connect to Wi-Fi

Off-Campus

  • A stable and secure personal Wi-Fi connection is important for attending classes remotely. If you do not have access to a personal Wi-Fi hotspot, check out these off-campus internet resources.
  • You can also apply for free WiFi hotspot lending from the Student Technology Equity Program.

On-Campus

  • Eduroam is the main Wi-Fi network used on campus by students and staff. You can set up your access before you get to campus here.

In University-Housing

  • Dorms and campus apartment residents use the Eduroam Wi-Fi network.

  • University Village Albany residents must set up an ethernet connection and, optionally, a personal router.

  • Learn more about your options here.
Desktop Engineer

3. Secure Your Devices

Keep your devices safe by using CalNet 2-step verification, updating your operating system and software regularly, and installing anti-malware.

We recommend anti-malware by Avast, which is available for Windows, Mac OS, Android, and iOS for free. Get Avast at avast.com.

Learn more security tips here.

4. Receive Free Tech Support

Student Technology Services

We offer free tech support in-person, over the phone, and by email! Find our contact info and hours of operation here

Assisted Learning Support

Our campus offers ADA computer systems equipped with Assistive Technology Software and scan stations for DSP students. Grants for assistive educational technology are also available. Learn more here.

Strategies for Remote Learning

Staying Organized

  •  bCal: use Google Calendar to organize your class schedule and extracurricular activities by scheduling reoccuring events. You can also add the locations of your classes or links to Zoom meetings to the calendar events for easy access and reference.
  • bDrive: create Google docs, sheets, slides, and more and keep them organized in folders on bDrive. Keep your notes backed up and synced with bDrive so you can access them on any device at any time.

Staying Motivated

  •  Set a Routine: maintain a daily schedule by waking up, eating, attending classes, and working at the same times if possible. 
  • Make a Study Space: set up the area where you plan to work and study so that it is comfortable and free of distractions. Try adjusting the height of your chair and/or elevating your screen or desktop so that you are sitting in an upright position. If applicable, consider coordinating with others in your living space to ensure that you maintain social distancing and have periods of quiet and study time.
  • Connect With a Study Group: create a study group with your classmates or check out the study groups offered by the Student Learning Center. Study groups can help you stay motivated, build peer relationships, consolidate concepts through teaching your peers and learning from them, and solve problems collaboratively.
  • Take Breaks: remember to take breaks from your work and screen during this time of remote learning! Refrain from spending all your breaks on social media. Going for a walk, eating a snack, or looking out the window can help you rest your eyes. It's also helpful to schedule breaks so you don't forget to rest or take too long of a break. The Pomodoro Technique is one way to stagger study and break times to maintain your productivity.

Staying Well

  • If you're social distancing, set aside time regularly to call and connect with your support group.
  • Receive free counseling and mental health services from University Health Services regardless of your insurance plan.  
  • In this time of remote learning and working, we're spending a lot of time on our screens. Remember to take breaks, rest your eyes, and exercise regularly. Walks are a great way to do all three simultaneously! 
  • Remember to be kind to yourself. It's your first semester navigating student life at Cal and there will be a lot of learning moments! Take some time to identify ways to rest, relax, and recharge that work for you.

Additional Tech Resources

For On and Off Campus Students

Printing & Scanning

On & Off Campus Students

  • Check to see if your local public library offers free printing services. You can also scan documents with your phone by using the Notes app for iOS or with the CamScanner app for iOS and Android.

On Campus Only

  • Print at over 20 locations on campus for a nominal fee.
  • Print and scan for free at the Open Computing Facility in the MLK Student Union building, which also offers a drop-in computer lab, web and email hosting, and more for students! Learn more about their services here.

Explore Your Professional & Creative Interests 

On and Off Campus

  • LinkedIn Learning: access thousands of online business, creative, and technology courses for free as a UC Berkeley student, through the Student Technology Fund. Log in to LinkedIn Learning with your CalNet ID.

On Campus Only

  • Moffitt Makerspace: a free, open access, student-run makerspace on the first floor of Moffitt library giving students the opportunity to work with new technologies like 3D printing, Virtual Reality, and more (including educational workshops for beginners!) 
  • Check out the other makerspaces on campus here by clicking on the 'Makerspaces' tab.

iClicker (Classroom Response & Attendance Tool)

  • Some instructors at Cal use classroom response systems to keep track of attendance and/or administer polls and quizzes. Physical iClicker remotes are the most commonly used tool at Cal, but there are also mobile and web app versions of iClicker. 
  • Check your class syllabi to see if you'll need to set-up and/or purchase a version of iClicker. You can learn more about iClickers and where to borrow or purchase them here.

Tech  Jobs for UC Berkeley Students

On & Off Campus Students

  • Handshake: learn about remote tech and non-tech related work opportunities through Handshake, the Career Center's recruiting platform for students and alumni. You can connect with employers, apply for jobs and internships, find job fair event information, and more here.

On Campus Only

  • Campus Tech Jobs Guide: Student Tech Services put together a guide for all the student tech jobs on campus, including our own! Many positions welcome students who may be new to working within an IT setting and provide on-the-job training for new staff around technical concepts, troubleshooting strategies, and customer service skills. View the guide here.

General Student Resources

For On and Off Campus Students

Academic Advising

Professional academic advisors are available in each college and most departments to help you navigate your academic options and opportunities. Many counseling appointments, services, and resources are available to both on and off campus students. Learn more here.

Career Center

The Career Center assists undergrad students, graduate students, and alumni with career exploration, internship and job searching, and the graduate or professional school application process. Many counseling appointments, services, and resources are available to both on and off campus students. Learn more here.

New Student Services

For information regarding the Freshmen and Transfer Golden Bear Orientations, visit the NSS website here.

University Health Services

University Health Services, located at the Tang Center, provides medical, mental health, insurance, and health promotion services to all Berkeley students. Medical appointments, mental health counseling, and some health services and resources are available to both on and off campus students. Learn more about their services during COVID-19 here.