Are you a soon-to-be college student about to embark on the next chapter of your life? If so, you're probably wondering what you need to bring. Don't worry, we've got you covered.

From clothes and books to technology and toiletries, we've got everything you need to make your transition into college life as smooth as possible. Plus, we've thrown in a few extras that will make your time in school even better. Check out our list and start packing!

1. A Laptop or Tablet

These days, it's essential to have a computer with you at all times—especially if you're going to college. Whether you need it for classes, research, or just to stay connected with your friends and family, having a laptop or tablet will make your life much easier.

You can use it to take notes, write papers, mail, do your homework, and stay organized. You can even use one to play games or listen to music when you need a break from studying. Plus, with all the social media platforms and online resources available, it's easy to stay connected and in touch with what's going on back home.

You see, desktops are great, but they're not exactly portable. So if you can, try to get a light and easy laptop to carry around so you can take it wherever you go. Just make sure to get a good case or bag to protect it.

Tip: Don't sleep with your laptop in your bed. It's not good for the device and can be a fire hazard.

2. A Backpack or Tote Bag

You'll carry many things to and from classes—textbooks, notebooks, your laptop, and more. So it's important to have a backpack or tote bag that can fit everything and is comfortable to carry.

Your backpack should have enough space for all your things, but it shouldn't be so big that it's a pain to carry around. And if you're going to be lugging it around all day, make sure it's comfortable. Look for one with padded straps and an even distribution of weight.

If you're looking for something a little more stylish, plenty of fashionable backpacks and bags are out there. But at the end of the day, it's all about finding something that works for you and your needs.

Tip: If you're carrying a lot of heavy books, consider getting a rolling backpack. It may seem a little dorky initially, but trust us, your back will thank you.

3. Dorm Essentials

Clothes, bedding, bathroom supplies—you'll need it all for your dorm room. College campuses usually have stores that sell everything you need, but it's often cheaper (and more fun) to shop for these items before you get to school.

For your clothes, bring a mix of casual and dressier items. You'll need both for class and for going out. As for bedding, most dorms have extra-long twin beds, so make sure to bring sheets that fit. You'll also need a pillow, a blanket, and maybe a comforter or quilt.

As for bathroom supplies, you'll need the basics like shampoo, soap, and toothpaste. But you might also want to bring a few extra items like a razor, shaving cream, deodorant, and body lotion. And don't forget your towel!

Some other dorm essentials you can consider bringing are:

  • A laundry basket or bag
  • An alarm clock
  • A desk lamp
  • Posters and pictures to decorate your room

Tip: Bring flip-flops or slippers to wear in the shower if you'll live in a place with communal bathrooms.

4. School Supplies

You'll need more than just pens and paper for college. But don't worry, most of these items you probably already have lying around your house.

Here's a list of school supplies you'll need:

  • Pens and pencils
  • A sharpener
  • Notebooks and folders
  • Binders and dividers
  • A planner or calendar
  • Highlighters
  • Post-its
  • Sticky notes
  • A stapler and staples
  • A paper cutter
  • A hole puncher
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • A whiteboard and markers or corkboard
  • Reading lamp
  • Printer
  • Push pins
  • A binder
  • A journal
  • Envelopes
  • Index cards
  • A ruler
  • Paperclips
  • Desk organizer
  • Tapes
  • Computer chair

And don't forget your iPad or laptop and charger. You'll need those, too. And pack some extra batteries just in case.

Tip: Buy in bulk to save money and get a planner to help you stay organized and on top of your assignments.

5. Toiletries

This one's pretty self-explanatory. You'll need all your normal toiletries like shampoo, soap, toothpaste, etc. But you might want to consider bringing a few extra items, too:

  • Deodorant
  • Body lotion
  • Razors and shaving cream
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • Lip balm
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Tissues
  • Mirror

Tip: Don't forget your toiletries when you travel home for a break. It's easy to forget them in the excitement of going home, but you'll be glad you have them when you need them.

6. Chargers

Unless your gadgets are solar-powered, you'll need to bring chargers for all your devices—your laptop, your phone, your tablet, etc. And it's always a good idea to get an extra charger, just in case.

You might also want to pack an extension cord and a power strip. That way, you can charge all your devices at once and don't have to fight over outlet space with your roommates. And avoid buying cheap knock-offs. They're not worth the risk, and you'll only end up having to buy a new one sooner.

Tip: Label your chargers with colored tape to easily tell which one is yours.

7. First-Aid Kit

You never know when you'll need a bandage or pain medication, so bringing a small first-aid kit to college is always a good idea. You can buy a pre-made kit, or you can make your own.

Here are some items to consider putting in your first-aid kit:

  • Band-aids
  • Gauze
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Pain medication
  • Allergy medication
  • Cold medicine
  • Cough drops
  • Safety pins
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors

This kit is especially important if you have any chronic medical conditions requiring medication or special care. If you can, include a list of your prescriptions, emergency contacts, and medical insurance information.

Tip: Store your first-aid kit in an easily accessible place, like under your bed or in your closet.

8. Cleaning Supplies

A dirty room is a breeding ground for germs. Aside from the ick factor, no one wants to get sick in college. So do yourself a favor and bring some cleaning supplies with you.

Here are some cleaning supplies you'll need:

  • Trash bags
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Bathroom cleaner
  • Disinfectant wipes
  • Paper towels
  • Glass cleaner
  • Laundry detergent
  • Stain remover
  • Dish soap
  • Sponges
  • A toilet brush

Tip: Invest in a small vacuum cleaner to keep your space clean and dust-free.

9. A Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is important, especially when you're constantly on the go. So make sure to bring a water bottle with you to college.

Opt for a reusable water bottle you can fill with water from the tap. That way, you'll save money and help reduce your environmental impact. And make sure to clean your water bottle regularly to prevent bacteria buildup.

Tip: Bring a water filter with you, too, if you're worried about the water quality on your campus.

10. Kitchen Supplies

If you're living in a dorm, you probably won't have access to a kitchen. But that doesn't mean you can't eat healthy or homemade meals. You just need to be a little more prepared and get a few kitchen supplies to help you out.

Here are some kitchen supplies you'll need:

  • A mini fridge
  • A microwave
  • A toaster oven
  • A coffee maker or electric kettle
  • A set of dishes
  • A set of silverware
  • Cooking utensils
  • Pots and pans
  • Storage containers
  • Canned goods
  • Non-perishable snacks

With these items, you'll be able to make all sorts of meals from breakfast to dinner. Just clean up after yourself to avoid attracting bugs or rodents. Watch out for your equipment's maintenance, too. You don't want to start a fire in your area.

Tip: Get to know your campus food options before you decide what kitchen supplies to bring. That way, you can save money and space by only bringing the items you'll actually use.

11. Clothes and Shoes

Of course, you'll need to bring clothes and shoes to college. But don't overpack. You won't have enough space for everything, and you'll always wear the same few outfits.

Instead, pack a mix of casual and dressy clothes so you're prepared for any occasion. And make sure to include a few season-appropriate items, like a jacket or rain boots. As for shoes, pack a pair of comfortable shoes for walking around campus and a nicer pair for special occasions.

And don't forget to pack a few basics, like socks, underwear, pajamas, shorts, sportswear, belt, and scarf. Bring accessories, too, like jewelry, watches, and sunglasses. Organize them using hangers, plastic bins, and storage boxes.

Tip: Do your laundry often to avoid running out of clean clothes. And invest in a small sewing kit so you can quickly fix a piece of clothing if it rips.

12. Decorations

Your dorm room is your home away from home, so make it feel like it. Bring some decorations with you to add a personal touch to your space.

Here are some ideas for decorations:

  • Posters
  • String lights
  • Area rug
  • Throw pillow
  • Blanket
  • Wall tapestry
  • Mirror
  • Desk lamp
  • Plants
  • Picture frames

A bulletin board or whiteboard is also a great way to keep your space organized and decorated. You can use it to display pictures, post reminders, and pin important documents.

Whatever decor you choose to display or items you want to bring with you, make sure they fit within your budget, the dorm room's size, they're renter-friendly to avoid losing your deposit, and they won't violate the school's housing policy.

Tip: Get to know your roommates before you move in so you can coordinate your decorations to avoid ending up with two of the same items or clashing with each other's style.

13. Snacks

Trust us, you're going to get hungry between meals. So make sure to bring some snacks with you to college. Opt for healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables, yogurt, whole-grain bread, trail mix, granola bars, and nuts.

But don't forget about your sweet tooth. A few indulgent snacks like cookies, candy, and chips can go a long way. Just don't overdo it, or you'll end up with an unwanted college weight gain or a toothache.

Tip: Bring a reusable water bottle to fill up throughout the day. That way, you'll stay hydrated and avoid snacking out of boredom.

14. Miscellaneous Items

There are a few other items you'll need to bring to college, but they don't necessarily fit into any category. For example, the rainy season is the perfect time to get an umbrella with you to keep yourself dry.

Bikes are also a popular means of transportation on many college campuses. If you plan on bringing one with you, make sure it's small enough to fit in your room, you have a place to lock it up, and you have a lock that's difficult to break.

Other miscellaneous items to consider bringing with you include a safety box and toolkit. A safety box is perfect for storing your valuables, and a toolkit can come in handy for any small repairs you need to do in your dorm room or assembling furniture.

You might also want to bring a fan for those hot summer days or extra blankets for the cold winter nights. Flashlights, extension cords, and power strips are also essential when the power goes out, or when you need to charge your devices.

Tip: Check with your school's housing policy before bringing any appliances with you to college. Some schools have strict rules about what you can and cannot bring.


There you have it! These are the top essentials to bring with you to college. Be sure to pack these items before heading off to school so you can prepare for anything and everything. With these items, you'll surely have a successful and enjoyable college experience.

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