14 Things Every College Freshman Should For Sure Bring

*This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

14 Things for College Every Freshman Should For Sure Bring

Freshmen year at college is exciting but also a bit of scary transition it life.


Being prepared and knowing what things for college you need can help with some of the first semester jitters.

Already having the essentials when move-in day finally comes around will take some stress out of your life, too.

Here are is a list of 14 things for college every freshman should definitely bring.

Also Read: Everything that Should be on Your College Freshman Packing Checklist

14 Things for College to Definitely Bring

things you need for college
things you need for college

First and foremost:

You’ll need a backpack. But, not just any backpack.

A useful, functional, sturdy backpack. One that can survive semester after semester and year after year.

After all, why buy something multiple times when you can buy a quality one just once?


Since most college students will be carrying a laptop, its best to have a bag that compatible with carrying one.

It can be awkward to carry around a laptop in your arms and there is always a chance of dropping it. Get a quality backpack that will hold your laptop, books, folders and other supplies you need.

You don’t need to spend at lot, but you also don’t want get a poorly made bag. Cheap backpacks won’t last very long and don’t add any protection for your laptop.

Also Read: 10 Cute Laptop Backpacks for Women

Two affordable backpacks I recommend:

  • College Travel Backpack for 15.6-Inch Laptops – This one is water resistant, and it makes USB ports easily accessible. It opens from the side facing your back so it can’t be opened while you are wearing it – a nice safety feature. 
  • Backpack for Laptops Up To 17″ -This backpack has lots of organizational pockets, and although it’s not advertised, it is water resistant. The reviews clearly state that this.

things you need for collegethings you need for college

Yes I know you have a calculator on your phone, but typically cell phones are not permitted during testing. Testing centers at colleges don’t allow it, and neither do most professors.

For this one simple reason:

You will want to invest in a calculator. It doesn’t need to be an expensive or fancy calculator – that is, unless you are taking a class that has certain requirements.


Something like this Casio scientific calculator will let you do a lot more than just adding. It’s perfect for general math, trigonometry, statistics, algebra I and II, calculus, Engineering and even Physics.

All that computing power won’t cost you much, either!

things you need for college
things you need for college

You may have not used a planner in high school, but using one in college will make your life so much better!

With so much going on during your college years, its easy to get overwhelmed.

With a planner you can track when assignments are due, your class schedule and more. Track every detail of your life or just the basic framework.

But trust me:

It’s SO much easier to be successful in college when you’re organized.

See my top CHEAP (but still amazing) planner picks for students here; they range from track it all planners to minimal planners.

things you need for collegethings you need for college

If you go to school on a big campus, it’s likely you will be doing quite a bit of walking. And, it really sucks if you don’t have comfortable shoes!

You will want to have a pair that starts comfortable and stays comfortable for a long time.

Shoes like this can be a little tricky to find because you don’t want to have to pay $100 for shoes and you shouldn’t bother with very inexpensive shoes either.

‘Cause you know:

Cheap shoes can be uncomfortable, cause blisters and fall apart quickly.

Try going mid range on price.

A good starting place to look is Amazon since there are a WIDE range of styles, brands and free shipping when you spend $35. Or, get free shipping if you have a Prime account.

Find the best mid-range, walking shoes available right now for women here and men here.

P.S. Did you know that college students can get a free 6 month Amazon Prime trial?

things you need for collegethings you need for college

Lint rollers:

They’re way more useful than for just picking up lint!

They can be used to dust window ledges, lampshades, clean out a drawer (ladies, you know the ones with your brush and hair ties), clean out car crevices and more!

I LOVE it when something has more than once use.

Personally, I don’t recommend buying a lint roller from a dollar store; they just don’t work very well. Because of this, I think dollar store lint rollers a waste of money.

The lint rollers that costs a little more and are extra sticky, are where it’s at.

They have more lint sheets which makes them last longer, too.

Well worth the few extra bucks! This is the exact lint roller I like to keep around.

things you need for collegethings you need for college

In the frenzy of packing for college you may forget one of the simple, yet essential thing for college you need: hangers!

The nice thing about them is:

The cheap ones are pretty much just as good as the pricier ones.

Save your money for other things, and pick up a 10 pack for only a buck at your local dollar store.

Also Read: Dorm Organization Ideas for College Students on a Budget

things you need for college
things you need for college

Dorm beds are not exactly the epitome of comfort.

The mattress has likely seen a lot before you, and will continue to after you move out.


Do yourself a favor and invest in a quality foam mattress topper!

Getting enough sleep is always important. Be sure that you’ll be comfortable enough to get those glorious 8 hours, or more.

My recommendation:

This one has RAVE reviews and often goes on sale. Anything less than $50 for that one is a steal!
things you need for collegethings you need for college

As sucky as it is…

Some people steal.

It’s just one of those facts of life, no matter where you are in the world.

And that’s why next up on my list of things for college you should definitely bring is a safe.

Keep your valuables, like a wallet, important documents, cash and others, in it away from prying hands.

A safe like this one or this smaller, more portable one makes it easy to protect your stuff, while giving you peace of mind if your roomie has friends over often.

things you need for collegethings you need for college

I don’t many people who iron these days, no scratch that, I don’t know anyone who does.

Wearing wrinkly clothes that got left in the dryer too long however, is still less than ideal.

Luckily, there’s a simple solution:

Wrinkle remover spray.

A spray that removes wrinkles?? I know when I first heard of it my mind was blown too, but trust me this stuff works!

Not only is it good for removing wrinkles, it also works as a static remover and odor eliminator.

This is one of those things for college purchases you’ll be miles ahead of your peers with. They’ll wonder what your trick is for making it look like you didn’t sleep in your clothes, even though you probably did. ?

things you need for college

things you need for college

In this lineup of  things you need for college, you will find a dry erase board invaluable. It just has SO many uses!

Use it for homework, leaving notes for roommates or just drawing, if that’s what you like to do. Use a dry erase board to even make a grocery list.

And like a planner:

It’s a smart move is to write important reminders in multiple spots!

I like this one because it includes a cork frame if you want to pin papers to it AND it comes with the markers.

things you need for collegethings you need for college

I know this should be a no-brainer, buutttt….

While busy packing to leave and saying goodbye to friends, things tend to slip the mind. Just don’t forget to bring a fair amount of lined paper!

Keep a big enough supply and you won’t have to worry about it again until the end of the semester.


You don’t want to run out of paper on an evening after the stores have closed and you need to finish an assignment.

Not quite everything is done on a computer at this point in time. Some classes will require the pen and paper technique.

Lined paper is something you will want to buy at the store – ordering it online is more expensive.

Back-to-school sales are the best time to shop for supplies like lined paper. Prices will be as low 25¢, so save your change for the right time to head to the store.

Also Read: College School Supply List (Free Printable)

things you need for college
things you need for college

The LAST thing you want is to have your electronics burnt out by a lightning storm!

Another one of the things for college you’ll want is a surge protector (a wise investment). Power outages happen more often than you might think.

You don’t need a storm for the power to go out and if your laptop is plugged into the wall, you could lose it all in a flash.

The good thing about surge protectors:

Is that they’re cheap – much cheaper than replacing a computer. Get a nice 2 pack here and make sure you roommate has one, too.

things you need for collegethings you need for college

All that walking around campus you will be doing is bound to make you thirsty.


Get a water bottle and keep it with you, and filled, at all times. You never know how good a drink of water sounds on hot summer day in class, and they are reusable – which means cost effective.

One of my tips:

Keep two: one in the fridge chilling at home and one at school. ‘Cause if there’s something better than having water on a hot day, it’s having ice cold water.

I’ve used Nalgene water bottles for years and I love them because they last for well, years. The wide opening allows for easy filling, they are odor-resistant and they can hold up to 32 ounces.

Just remember that the cost of disposable plastic water bottles really adds up.

things you need for collegethings you need for college

Out of all the things you need for college, this one you may like the best. A fan can be a real life saver on hot, stuffy days.

A nice, small, powerful fan is the Honeywell Turbo fan – and if you don’t believe me about the turbo, read the feedback – this thing really blows! It is also available at a budget friendly price.

This is certainly not everything you need for college, but it’s a great start.

When you’re ready to start packing for college, head here to grab my FREE printable college packing checklist.

What are some items you would consider essential for college?

Tell me about it in a comment!

14 things for college every freshman student should definitely bring. These are college dorm life essentials you won't want to leave at home when it comes to your first year at school! #college #collegelife #collegestudent #student #studentlife #backtoschool #dorm #dormlife

I'm Jen, one of the co-founders of College Life Made Easy: a lifestyle blog that focuses on helping students navigate college life on topics of finance, organization, dorm living and more.

No Comments Yet

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.