Emerson College
Undergraduate Admission Blog

Mac Must-haves

March 25, 2013
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The following entry was written by Molly Benjaminson, Class of 2016.

The Class of 2017 has officially been admitted to Emerson! Now, thoughts are turning to what tools they’ll need to be successful in college. As a Film major, I’m constantly using my Mac laptop to take notes in class, edit films, or collaborate on projects. Although there are enough computer labs on campus that you don’t need to bring your own (Mac and PC friendly with every software you’d ever want), there are five Apps I’ve installed on my personal computer that I truly couldn’t live without. So if you’re coming to Emerson with an Apple, give these programs a try! They aren’t all free, but none of them will break the bank.

student typing on a laptop1. Alfred: Free! Alfred is what’s known as a productivity app. At first I wasn’t sure how helpful it might be, but it’s become part of my daily Mac usage. All you do is designate a keyboard shortcut of your choice, and small window pops up. In that window you type the first couple letters of the application you want to launch, and a result will appear below. Just hit enter when you see your desired result, and the application will open. It’s a huge timesaver that helps you hunt for programs and documents on your hard drive. This also works for Google and Wikipedia searches – a major help when you’re researching for a paper.

2. Google Chrome: Free! If you’re still using Safari or Firefox, time to upgrade! Chrome is the fastest browser by far, and the ability to Google search right in the URL box is amazing. It updates frequently, keeping it ahead of the game in terms of internet browsers.

3. Skype: Free! This app is invaluable to any college student, but especially international students for whom calling home can be expensive. It’s a visual and voice chat application, so you can bridge the miles between you and the family and friends you’re missing. Although quality isn’t always perfect, it can’t be beat for free software.

4. Pixelmator: Not free (but student-budget friendly), Pixelmator gives you all the functionality of Photoshop in a Mac-compatible environment.

5. Caffeine: Free! This app has saved my bacon so many times this semester. The function is simple: it gives you the ability to stop your Mac from going to sleep or deactivating with a simple click on the coffee cup icon. If you’re rendering video (which you will as a Film student – a lot!), downloading programs, or exporting movies, it will keep your computer running uninterrupted so you don’t have to waste time monitoring your progress.

A final word of advice for Mac users: don’t forget to update your software! A lot of my friends had never updated their software, and they wondered why their new Macs were running slowly. You can see if you need to update by clicking on the Apple in the top left corner of your screen and choosing “Software Update…” Believe me, you’ll be glad you took a few minutes to get your machine running in tip-top shape.

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