2021 Packing List for College (Detailed for Girls & Guys)
The Only Packing for College List Students Need
All the things essential things to bring to college. Including stuff that’s nice to have, and what to NOT bring for freshman year.
There are endless articles offering advice on how to prepare teens for college. Not to mention a packing list for college in every color of the rainbow.
Most of these checklists are dated. The well meaning, but misguided information is often to the detriment of parents budgets.
Unnecessary items also overcrowd tiny dorm rooms and are likely to be tossed just to save space. What a waste!
Ultimately the wrong packing for college list isn’t in the best interest of incoming college freshman.
To prepare for your teen for college the right way, I put together a packing list for college. It has all the right stuff needed to start the semester off on the right foot.
There’s a detailed checklist for both girls and guys.
Included is everything a new student could ever possibly think to bring with them. Dorm room essentials plus optional items, and even what’s better left at home.
All the information is provided so you and your teen can make the most informed decision when it’s time for back-to-school shopping.
Both college packing lists are available for FREE download.
One word of caution – make sure to know what things are prohibited by the college before buying anything. It’s easy to check ahead of time by using the Bed, Bath, & Beyond tool to find that info for most schools.
Rather read than look at infographics?
See the written version of the ultimate college packing list.
Packing List for College Girl
Here’s a checklist tailored for girls.
Packing List for College Guys
This list is made for freshman guys.
Complete freshman year packing list for girls and guys (downloadable checklist). Updated for 2021.
What Students Should Not Bring
What a freshman should or shouldn’t bring with them to school really depends on the student.
Some teens will scoff at some of the items on the above packing for college lists. Others can’t imagine themselves going without everything on the checklists.
In the end, it all comes down to personal preferences.
Here are 12 things I recommend not bringing to college (& why):
1. Textbooks. Textbooks are not required on the first day of class. Find out which ones are actually required for the course before making any purchases. Save money by getting them from anywhere but the campus bookstore.
2. Window A/C Units. These are forbidden in (most) dorms.
3. Bed Risers. It’s standard for beds in campus housing to already be raised. The extra inches bed risers offer is unnecessary.
4. Sewing Kit. Chances are that your teen is never going to need this item. If they do, a sewing kit is readily available at a nearby box store.
5. Iron & Ironing Board. Students are very unlikely to use use an iron, but they will use Wrinkle Releaser Spray. It’s 100 times more convenient and it takes up a fraction of the space.
6. Alarm Clock. Smart phones already have built in alarms, a clock would be superfluous.
7. Light Bulbs. It’s better to buy one when a bulb goes out than to have a pack wasting space.
8. TV & DVD Player. Students can easily stream shows on a laptop, tablet, or phone. The less there is to bring to college, the better.
9. Printer. Trust me, there are plenty of places to print on campus. Depending on the school, your student may even have an allowance for free printing.
10. Pets. Unfortunately, 96% of the colleges don’t allow pets on campus.
11. Too many throw pillows. Your teen might have grand ideas for decorating their new room. Try to reel that in by keeping practicality in mind.
12. Dishes & Utensils. Paper plates and plastic utensils are a better alternative. The easier the cleanup the more likely your child will keep their dorm clean. Students who have a meal plan will be provided with everything they need.
Packing for college list final thoughts…
When your teen is making final decisions of what to pack for college, remind them that dorm rooms are small. They offer very little in the way of storage.
Anything that isn’t truly necessary will only be taking up valuable space. The best motto I have for freshman year is that less is more!
More tips for freshman year at college:
- The 14 things every college students needs
- School supplies for college classes (free PDF checklist)
- The top planner choices for college students