As a Communications major you will spend a lot of time using your computer, making media, and critiquing media. So, we strongly recommend that you get your own laptop. While we do have common computers in the lab spaces and classrooms, having your own computer will make your educational experience much easier. Laptops are typically the best choice as they allow you to bring your computer to class, but also work in various other locations.
What Computer Should I Buy?
That is a really difficult and complicated question. Students in Communications can be successful using Windows, or Macintosh computers. Typically the best choice is to buy whatever you are most comfortable with.
The one exception is that if you are a student who knows you want to go into design or video production, then you would do well to seriously consider a Macbook Pro. In terms of software and professional practice Macs are pretty much standard in those industries.
What Software do I need?
As a first year student you do not need to purchase any particular software. As you progress thru the program you might find that based on your interests there are some pieces of software that you will want, but for the most part, there are free and open source versions of most things you will need. Although these options aren't always better than the commercial products (sometimes they are though) they allow you to try out several things before you commit to an expensive software purchase. Most software you would want you could also get at an educational discount when you are a student.
Any other advice?
Yes, glad you asked. This page on Superuser (updated every year) contains a host of information about things to think about when purchasing a computer for college.
For more specific information about purchase arrangements to get the computer equipment that will best support your work in Communication Studies, you can visit the Laptop Program website, or the Hawk Portal --login with your SJU userid and password then click the "New Hawks" tab for incoming students.