Search Google Appliance

You’ll have a lot on your mind as a new student. We don’t want tech-related questions to be one of them. So we’ve put together this simple step-by-step guide for you to follow to get you up and running in no time. 

Shopping for a computer?
Find the computers we recommend, and take advantage of special student discounts. If you are bringing one you already own, find out how yours compares to our recommended requirements.

Before you arrive on campus

Step 1: Register for your Kerberos/Athena/email account

Your Athena Account (sometimes called a Kerberos or MIT account) is your online identity at MIT, and the key to accessing a wide variety of technology services and resources on campus.  Once you set up your Athena account, you will be able to access your MIT email, educational technology discounts, student records, computing clusters, printing services and much more.

Undergraduate students: When you enrolled, you received your MIT ID and registered for your Kerberos/Athena/email account.

Graduate students: Go to the Athena Accounts Registration page or follow the directions you received from your department.

Step 2: Get certificates for your computers/laptops/mobile devices

Certificates let you log on safely to MITnet and the Internet, and identify you to various websites.

Desktop: First you need to download the MIT Certificate Authority.  Then you can download your personal certificate

Mobile Devices: Download your certificates.

Note: Certificates expire once per year, which means you'll need to renew them at least that often. Install them on each browser for each computer or device you will use to access certificate-protected sites.

Step 3: Familiarize yourself with your MIT email account

Visit owa.mit.edu to begin using email and setting up your preferences. MIT uses your @mit email address to contact you about everything and anything; however, you can always forward your @mit email to another account.

Note for Graduate Students: In addition to your MIT/Kerberos account, you may be assigned a departmental email address in a domain such as @sloan.mit.edu, @math.mit.edu, @csail.mit.edu, etc.  This account is separate from your @mit.edu account.  Contact your department for more information.

Step 4: Get MIT’s killer (and free!) mobile app

Learn more about MIT’s mobile app, which includes an interactive campus map, shuttle schedule and people directory.

And while we're talking about mobile devices and cell phones, you should go ahead and sign up for the MIT Alert, and program in the phone number for the Campus Police (617-253-1212), right now.

Step 5: See what mobile devices MIT supports

Find out if MIT supports your mobile phone’s operating system, and what steps you should take to get it set up to use at MIT.

Step 6: Find cell phone plan discounts

If you’re shopping for a new cell plan or thinking of re-upping with your current carrier, you might be able to save some money. Learn more about discounts on cell plans.

Step 7: Secure your devices, data, and identity

Unfortunately, MIT is a target for hackers. So protect yourself from cyber attacks by taking the necessary steps.

Step 8: Create a backup plan for your data

Don’t wait for a hard drive crash or software glitch to ruin your 50-page research paper the night before it’s due. Set up a data back up plan now and avoid a meltdown later.

Once on campus

Step 1: Connect to MIT's network (MITnet) and the internet

You can connect wirelessly or plug into to an Ethernet port. Either way, just click on your web browser and follow the on-screen prompts to register your device.

Step 2: Browse and download available software

As a student, you have access to a large volume of software, including Windows, Office, antivirus programs, and math applications. Browse and download what’s available.

Step 3: Locate computer labs and printers

Called Athena Clusters, these groups of computers and printers are located in various locations across campus, including residence halls, and are available for students. Learn more, including where clusters are located on a campus map.

Step 4: Review available resources

Now that you’re up and running, take a look at all the IT resources available to you.