SOAR — Computing@MissouriState
As a new student (or parent of a new student), you probably have a lot of questions about computing at Missouri State University. We’re here to help.
Each summer, we give a short presentation to the parents at SOAR. You can find those slides here:
- What sort of computer should I bring?
- What software do I need?
- How do I pay my bills?
- What’s a BearPass Login?
- Does Missouri State provide antivirus software?
- Who do I contact for help in the residence hall?
- Where is there wifi on campus?
- Additional information for SOAR attendees
What sort of computer should I bring?
As a general rule, any recently purchased computer will work just fine, but your specific needs ought to be taken into account. If you just need to take notes during class, write papers, or check email, a netbook or lower-end laptop or desktop computer will be sufficient. For video or image processing or editing, you’ll need a computer with more memory and processing power.
The big question is always, “Mac or PC?” By and large, the same software is available on both, though a lot of advanced, program-specific software (such as ArcGIS or AutoCAD) are only available for Microsoft Windows. The decision largely comes down to the field you’ll be going into. If professionals in your field primarily use a PC, you should consider going that route. Alternatively, if you’re going into a field that predominantly uses Macs, it might be wise to begin learning that computer system during college.
We have both Macs and PCs in the Computer Services Open-Access Computer Labs, so whatever your course requires, we’ll have the hardware and software to meet your needs.
What software do I need?
Your software needs are going to be set somewhat by your program of study, but everyone will need a web browser and a word processing program. A web browser will be included with your computer, either Internet Explorer on Windows or Safari on Mac, and we generally recommend people use Mozilla Firefox for working on Blackboard or other sites.
Regarding word processors, many prefer Microsoft Word and the Microsoft Office suite, which you can find at the Missouri State Bookstore. Some professors will require documents be submitted electronically in Microsoft’s .doc or .docx format, so while you can use other word processors to create your documents, you may need to save into Microsoft’s format.
More advanced software, such as Adobe Creative Suite, AutoCAD, or ArcGIS can be expensive to acquire, but we have this software available in the Open-Access Labs. We also have some software that students can get for free; check out our Get Software page for more details.
How do I pay my bills?
Students can pay their bills using CASHNet through the My Missouri State portal. After logging in, you’ll find the Account Balance and Payments channel under the Profile tab. You can access your account and make payments here.
If your parent needs access to pay the bill, you will need to create a CASHNet account for them. Just follow the directions on our wiki to have a login and PIN emailed to them.
For detailed instructions for both students and parents, please review to the Bursar’s CASHNet guide.
Due to FERPA, Computer Services cannot give access to parents for them to pay a student’s bills. Students have to grant that access themselves using the steps given in the wiki article above.
What’s a BearPass Login?
Your BearPass Login is the account used to log into the My Missouri State portal, the computers on campus, and other Missouri State University systems. It is important that you not give your password to anyone else, and that you have set security questions to which you know the answers in the event that you forget your password. To change your password and/or manage your security questions, visit the Computer Account Management System.
Due to FERPA, Computer Services cannot assist parents in resetting a student’s password or security questions.
Does Missouri State provide antivirus software?
For student use, we recommend Microsoft Security Essentials for Windows computers and ClamXav for Apple Mac computers. Both are free to download and will help keep your computer secure. That said, the best security comes from having secure passwords that are changed regularly, not giving your password to anyone, and only visiting sites or opening email attachments that you trust.
Neither Computer Services nor Missouri State University will ever ask for your password.
Who do I contact for help in the residence hall?
If you live in the residence halls at Missouri State University, you have access to a group of computer support people who can help you access campus resources from your dorm room or provide other computer assistance. Just contact ResNET for help.
Where is there wifi on campus?
The Missouri State Networking page has a lot of helpful resources for connecting to the Internet at Missouri State University. Among these is a detailed list of current wireless areas on campus. Many classrooms and public areas already have wireless Internet access, and expanding wireless is part of the new five year plan at Missouri State University. To connect to wireless, you’ll use your BearPass Login and your operating system’s wireless client.
Please note that only current students and faculty at Missouri State University can use wireless Internet on-campus. Also, when you change your BearPass Login password, that affects devices that connect to wireless and they will need to be updated with the new password. If you don’t update this, your account may be locked due to failed connection attempts using your old password.
Additional information for SOAR attendees
If you need general information about SOAR, or if you need to register for SOAR, visit the Student Orientation Advisement and Registration page.
To sign up for housing, check out Residence Life’s housing page.
And if you’ll be attending transfer orientation rather than SOAR, visit the Transfer Student Orientation page.