I don't have professional. I have Home Premium, but your advice is great. I can just wait until I learn more about these versions and this link is where I can start.
Another thing that I noticed on the university download page is that if the university decides to terminate its license agreement on any of the os that it makes available to faculty, staff and students, then the os will be rendered illegal, I think. Right now, the IT admin is testing w8, so I am not sure how long the school will carry that agreement once or if they decide to upgrade to 8. I will get a free copy of 8, though and I can load it into a vm to test it for myself.
Thanks again for the advice!