4 Must-Have Software Programs


By Glenn Fredenburg, April 2016

Microsoft Office: Word, Excel, and PowerPoint: Yes, it goes without saying you will do a lot of writing in college. These programs are usually available for a fee, but they are free for Utica College students. Just follow the instructions to load the software to your computer. Write your passwords down or remember them to avoid complications.


  • :: For those unfamiliar with the software, Word has templates (including some for APA style) to help you type the paper that gets you an ‘A’. Of course, the software won’t actually write the paper, but it will make it easier to put that jumble in your head onto paper.
  • :: Excel is a spreadsheet program which allows you to read or create tables, manipulate data in tables or series, and project the numbers as graphs, charts, or pie graphs to correlate and interpret the data. Again, it won’t give you the answer, but it is a great tool to help.
  • :: PowerPoint is both a slide-show viewer and creation program, and I can guarantee that whatever your major is, you will both watch and create slide shows in your college career. If you have questions, the Help Lab can help you at helpdesk@utica.edu or 315-792-3115.

Adobe Reader: You’re going to open more than one PDF (portable digital file) in your college career as well. It’s a nice program which lets you save downloaded files to a folder, email, or print them. You can download files on your desktop, save it to the Adobe Cloud and open it on your tablet, so you can read philosophy texts on the beach! Or not.

Skype: The best way to chat with your collaborative team is in real-time. Plan a day and time (remember time zones for your friends that aren’t on the East coast), share Skype addresses, and then do a conference call. It’s far easier to manage your projects’ ‘to-do’ list verbally than trying to coordinate duties through email. The software is free and most all computers have a camera and microphone, and if yours doesn’t they are available relatively inexpensively

Side note: In regards to antivirus and spyware, be advised that it’s far too easy for hackers to install malware that randomly turns on your webcam. Unlike a regular video camera, there’s no blinking red light to let you know. I have a piece of paper taped over my lens that I peel back when I want to use the camera – an inexpensive security fix.

Antivirus: I cannot, as a veteran computer user and tech-savvy son of a 70-year old woman who cannot resist downloading a cat video or coupon program, emphasize how important a good antivirus program is on your system. The next step is to keep your antivirus software up-to-date so your profiles remain current and the program continues to work. I personally don’t use the auto-renew features when it comes to paying for my subscription, because a wise online shopper can find a new version of the same software available for much cheaper than the original antivirus company. If you install antivirus software, remember to set it up (a process that will vary by your preferred program) to work automatically and fully scan your system weekly. A good antivirus program helps prevent a fast $700 laptop computer from becoming a very slow paperweight.

About the Author

Glenn Fredenburg, bloggerGlenn Fredenburg has been a Registered Nurse for over 13 years, coming to the profession after a career in sales. His experience in nursing has been primarily in the critical care setting, with over ten years in the emergency room and intensive care areas. His mother is a retired nurse and urged him early in life to "become a nurse" because it's rewarding helping others heal and using your complete "toolbox" of skills to aid in the recovery of body and mind. In hindsight, his mother was right. Don't tell her.

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