An Online College Supply List of School Essentials (Free Printable PDF)

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Do you have a college supply list, yet?


Unlike grade school:

Colleges just do not put out a list of school essentials you should bring with you on your first day. This can lead to some confusion as to what sort of things you should get for college.

Starting college can seem like you’re beginning a whole new life! That can bring a whole lot of uncertainty into the picture.

And as a current college student myself, I know just how busy life can get leading up to the weeks before university starts. Considering what school supplies you need to succeed, is probably the last thing you want to dedicate a brain storming session to.


You found this online post! In it, I’m going to tell you what supplies you should pick up for college.

I even have a free printable college supply list PDF at the end of this article. So when you’re out doing your shopping, it’ll be easy to remember what you need.

Let that wave of mini relief wash over you, ’cause you have one less thing to worry about now.

Here is a basic college supply list that will help kickoff  your first day, the RIGHT way.

TIP: The best “Back to School” sales on school supplies happen in May, June & July. Try to pick up these items then if you can!

College Supply List of School Essentials

college supply list

  • Pencils

This item is going to be number ONE on the college supply list because of the daily use you’ll get out of them.

Mechanical pencils, or regular pencils; it doesn’t really matter the exact type you choose so long as you are comfortable using it.

This what I tend to buy for pencils.
I go for low for low prices and bulk sized packs.
If you do go for mechanical pencils, don’t forget to pick up some extra lead!

Related Article: Things You Need for College: 14 Freshman Essentials 

college supply list

  • College Ruled Paper (loose leaf and notebook)

This is an essential (and probably a no-brainer) for your college supply list because, like pencils, this gets used everyday!

Some instructors don’t like the edges that notebook paper leaves, which is why I suggest getting loose leaf in addition.

Find a fat stack of paper here for DIRT CHEAP
I’m all about saving money wherever possible!

college supply list

  • Paper & Binder Clips

Gotta be able to control all that loose leaf paper some how, am I right?

I use these all the time to keep relevant papers together. Like homework I’ve started and the instructions for it.

This pack has both paper clips and binder clips
Killing two birds with one stone.

college supply list

  • Folders

Honestly, you get sooo many handouts. It can be overwhelming!

Keep track of it all by getting a couple folders.

Oh and:

Make sure you CLEARLY label on the front which class each is for. It’ll save you time when rifling through your backpack.

These folders are what I’m using
Nothing fancy is needed. Simple, inexpensive folders will do nicely.

college supply list

  • Erasers

Big or small, these will come in handy! There’s always some erasing to be done.

Mistakes are just a part of life.

I personally like pencil cap erasers

college supply list

  • Wite Out

On the note that mistakes happen, it’s best to have some whiteout around when you’re in college.

For tests where you can only use a pen, or when you notice a spelling error right before you’re about to hand in an essay. It’s useful stuff!

Thankfully, Wite Out is pretty in expensive
If you want to get it for FREE, watch for coupons in your local newspaper.
They pop up around the time back to school sales do.

college supply list

  • Black/Blue and Red Ink Pens

These may seem like a banal item, but red and black pens have come in clutch for me on more than one occasion! 

From peer editing to writing notes, they have their uses.

At the college I’m attending black ink pens & pencils are preferred by my professors. This may vary by school, though.

A pack like this includes all three pen ink colors
A pretty good deal if I do say so myself!

college supply list

  • Highlighters

It’s no surprise that highlighters are another item worth taking to college.

There will be lots of homework and reading – you’ll be glad you have these when it’s crunch time!

These variety highlighter colors will get the job done

college supply list

  • Calculator

Will you be taking any math classes? Or other classes that use math?

If so, you’ll want to bring add a calculator to your college supply list.

Sure you have one on your phone, but phones are usually not allowed out during testing.

Check with your instructor before purchasing- some prefer a certain brand.

I recommend this calculator
It’s cheaper than a Texas Instrument, but has just as much computing power – if not more!

college supply list

  • Notebooks

These are handy for note taking, journaling, and brainstorming ideas.


I’m sure you figured you’d need these for college. However, it’s nice to have thoughts confirmed!

I like to use the best priced notebooks, which are here

Related Article: The Ultimate College Dorm Packing List

 college supply list

  • Sticky Notes

If you’re like me, you may be a little forgetful.

I use sticky notes as colorful little reminders. They are also a great way to take notes in your textbooks without actually writing in them.

A value pack like this will last you AWHILE
And by awhile, I mean possibly your entire college experience??

college supply list

  • Flash Drive

Much of college work is done digitally these days.

When it’s time to print or present in class, you can use a portable flash drive to take your work with you.

I recommend picking up a decently sized flash drive, like this one
Something over 8gb so you don’t run out of space at a bad time.

So these last two school essentials are the most expensive buys…


To me they are the most worth it. Because they will (hopefully) last throughout your whole college experience.

college supply list

  • Backpack

Yes, you still need one!

Especially if your campus is large, and all your classes are consecutive. There are no lockers, and there is no time to stop at your car to get your books.

This backpack is my fave
It’s lightweight, but still has a pocket for my laptop and plenty of space for other supplies!

college supply list

  • Laptop

You will basically LIVE on your laptop. From researching assignments, writing papers, and communicating with instructors, a laptop is a must!


Make sure your laptop can run all the programs required for your college!

This is the laptop I personally use
It’s been great and met all my needs. 
Look for “open box” deals to possibly score a lower price when you’re shopping around.

Hope this college supply list will help you along your way!

I just know that so far in my college career, these have been my main go-tos.

Related Article: 10 College Necessities For Freshman Year

Grab the PDF printable version of this list for free by just clicking below!

college supply list free printable PDF download

Are there any other school supplies that have been crucial for you?

Let me know down below!

An Online College Supply List of School Essentials (Free Printable PDF)

I'm Jade, a full-time college student pursuing a degree in nuclear medicine down in southern Oregon. Fun Fact: I'm a makeup and unicorn enthusiast! I'm just trying to navigate this crazy thing we call life, while also being a full-time mom to a fur child and a fur-less child.

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