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What to Bring to College

When packing up to attend an on-campus college or university, you’ll certainly want to make sure you pack the essentials: clothes for all seasons, a good backpack, computer supplies and accessories, personal items and toiletries (and something to carry them in), and basic schools supplies (i.e., pens, paper, pencils, notebooks) to get you started. Here’s a closer look at the obvious supplies you’re likely to need:

  • Plenty of clothes to cover all seasons
  • A good winter coat and rain jacket
  • Gym and workout clothes
  • Swimsuit
  • Comfortable walking shoes
  • A few dressier outfits for formal occasions

Personal Items

  • Essential toiletries
  • Makeup
  • Waterproof basket or bag to carry bathroom items in
  • Hair dryer and accessories
  • Yoga mat or other gym supplies
  • Sturdy, all-weather backpack

School Supplies

  • Paper
  • Notebooks
  • Folders
  • Pens and pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Stapler
  • Scissors
  • 3-hole punch
  • Paper clips
  • Sticky note pads
  • Weekly planner (or app for your smartphone)

Computer Supplies & Accessories

  • Laptop
  • External hard drive or data backup service
  • USB flashdrive
  • DVD player
  • MPS player
  • Personal printer (a laserjet printer will save money on ink)


  • Bed sheets (check with your residence hall about the size of the beds--they are often extra long)
  • Pillows (if you have are picky about them)
  • Pillow cases
  • A comforter and extra blanket
  • Mattress pad
  • Towels and washcloths


  • Computer supplies (see above)
  • Mini refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • Iron or clothing steamer
  • Power strips and surge protectors

Some essential and indispensable items often get overlooked. Consider also bringing these often forgotten (but very handy) items:

  • Ear plugs
  • Door hangers and hooks
  • Storage containers
  • Air fresheners
  • Baseball cap or sun visor
  • Envelopes
  • Cough drops, pain relievers, and vitamins
  • First aid kit
  • Fan
  • Hangers
  • Laundry bag
  • Deck of cards or travel games
  • Quarters for laundry and vending machines
  • Stamps
  • Duct tape
  • Flashlight
  • Batteries
  • Umbrella
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Book light
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Robe
  • Sewing kit
  • Can opener
  • Laptop lock
  • Water purifier
  • Alarm clock
  • Social security card
  • Copy of your birth certificate
  • Desk lamp
  • Bed risers (to create under-bed storage space)
  • Cleaning supplies

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