Many academic environments are over run with Windows based systems. I don’t personally know of a school that runs primarily on Mac, even if it is a design academy. With the prices of Mac, up until recently, the cost effective route is going to be Microsoft.
I could give you a list of all of the programs I was introduced to in High School but that list would take me quite a while to complete so I’ll say exactly which one stood out the most – Microsoft Office. I’ve been using this program for many years since then and on a regular basis am using Microsoft Money to keep track of all of my income, and outcome for that matter. I use the spreadsheet option on a daily basis with paid blogging and design work so I know exactly what kind of checks to anticipate at the end of the month.
I came across a site tonight named Costcaptain.com. They offer 100% Authentic Microsoft products at academic discounts. I paid $499.99 from Staples for Microsoft Office Professional, they charge only $179.99. It’s safe to say that if I were a teacher or even someone who was home schooled this would have been the route to take. It sucks that I couldn’t find them sooner but at the same time I’m not someone who’s eligible to even purchase their products. From what I can see, however, they offer great customer service. Once you’ve proven academic eligibility the product is promptly shipped to you. They even offer gift certificates which I think would be a really great deal considering school is starting up just around the corner.