Personal computers at Barnard are close to essential. Yes, there are plenty of computer labs and printers, but due to the volume of students using them, not just Barnard students, but all Columbia University students, they tend to be crowded and often not working. Another hassle is the NINJa printing system, which limits students to 100 pages of printing per week in the computer labs. To Barnard's credit, nothing in the computer labs stays broken very long, but it is a very common occurrence for printers to be out of commission. On the plus side, the network provided for students is very fast and reliable. There are enough Internet connections to accommodate two people in most rooms, and there are also Internet connections in the labs for people who bring their laptops.
Having said that, it is possible for a student to get along without her own personal computer. Really, if you have the patience of a saint and don't mind hanging around the computer lab, then go for it. However, if the idea of sitting around watching some girl play solitaire when you need to write a paper makes you want to scream, you should probably look into purchasing your own computer. The case at Barnard is that most people have their own computer and use the computer labs mostly to check email and do work between classes or simply to print. While it is suggested that students bring their own computer, those that do not won't suffer here.