Going to college soon and wondering what things you need for college?
In this post, I’ll show you 14 things you won’t want to forget at home.
Heading to college is exciting and intimating at the same time. You’ll be facing big changes in a very short period of time.
It’s different than high school, where you can do fine with when you have pens, papers and pencils. You’ll need a bit more than that to just get through the day.
Being prepared is an BIG part of what will help you succeed during this time of your life. Let’s start by preparing a list of things you need for college…
14 Essential 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 just buy a good one 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.
Here are two high quality, yet still 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.
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!
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 planner picks for students here; they range from track it all planners to minimal planners.
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. 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.
P.S. Did you know that college students can get a free 6 month Amazon Prime trial?
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.
In the frenzy of packing for college you may forget this one simple, yet essential thing you need for college: hangers.
The nice thing about them:
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.
You may have thought to bring laundry detergent, but what about dryer sheets?
Static-y clothes and I just DO NOT mix well! I wouldn’t want you to forget dryer sheets and have to deal with annoying static. ?
They’re super handy! You can save used dryer sheets to wipe down windows, faucets, dusting and more.
If you burn something in your only pan, soak it overnight with a used dryer sheet in it. It softens burnt on stains, making it easier to clean the next day.
With dryer sheets it doesn’t really matter what brand you get, but I like Gain because I think it smells the best. A nice big box of dryers sheets like this is relatively inexpensive and will last you at least 2 semesters.
An often forgotten item to bring to college is scissors. You will likely find many uses for them.
Instead of buying a standard pair, pick up a pair kitchen scissors. They can handle cutting paper and other more heavy duty type situations – liking cutting chicken.
Or bacon – it’s A LOT easier to cut it with scissors than a knife.
This particular pair even has a bottle opener and comes apart for easy cleaning.
Sure there is a calendar in your phone, but how many times have you ignored a notification when you were busy only to realize later you missed something important. I’ve definitely done that more than once….
DO continue to use your digital calendar, but it’s a good idea to note important events in more than one place.
Hang a calendar by your door and you’ll be hard pressed to miss looking at it daily. Get something you like, so you want to look at it (like puppies!).
Add this item to your dollar store shopping list, ’cause you won’t be miss much from the more expensive calendars.
If you like the one pictured above, it’s a printable design I made – available here.
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 I mentioned before – 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.
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. Seriously, 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 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.
The LAST thing you want is to have your electronics burnt out by a lightning storm!
One of the things you need in college 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 things that surge protectors:
Is that they are cheap – much cheaper than replacing a computer. Get a nice 2 pack here and make sure you roommate has one, too.
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 here’s nothing better than drinking chilled water after a long, exhausting day of school.
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.
$10 – $15 may seem like a lot for a water bottle, but it will save you money in the long run. The cost of disposable plastic water bottles really adds up.
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?