College Planning

The “Going-Off-To-College” Essentials

Going off to college is, for many students, the first time you’ve lived away from home.  More often than not, you’ll probably be used to the comforts of home, where everything you could need is right at your fingertips.  That is why many are often confused as to what they actually have to bring when they start packing for college (so don’t worry, you’re not alone).

There’s a lot of considerations when it comes to what exactly you’ll be needing for the next nine months, so where do you start?  Well, while a lot universities will give you a basic checklist of what you’ll need, we put together a list of some of the things your school may include, and also some things they may not.

  • Microwave.  Most schools will allow you to have a microwave in your room.  You’ll definitely want to coordinate with your roommate beforehand to see who will bring what, but a microwave will be your best friend for those late night cram sessions.
  • Refrigerator.  Another dorm essential that you may want to coordinate on with your roommate.
  • Alarm clock.  In an article we read by Naomi Rockler-Gladen at, you will want to choose an alarm clock that is loud enough to wake you up.  You may also want to choose a battery-operated alarm clock, so if the power goes out in your building, you will still wake up in time for class.
  • Telephone.  Although a lot of students don’t go anywhere without their cell phone nowadays, you will still want to make sure that you have a cell phone with you when you move.  Rockler-Gladen says that you may also want to make sure that you have a plan that will fit your needs when it comes to making those daily phone calls to your friend in California.
  • Computer.  While a computer is not an absolute essential for college, it will make your life a lot simpler.  You’ll want to shop around for the computer that suits you best.  For example, if you’re trying to decide between a desktop and a laptop, you may want to consider where you want to do your studying.  Would you want to study in the library?  Would you want to bring your computer to class?  You’ll want to ask yourself questions like this to make the right decision for you.
  • Bathrobe.  If you’ll be living in a dorm with a bathroom at the end of the hallway, you will especially want to consider getting a bathrobe for those long walks back to your room.  Even if the bathroom is right next to your room, you’ll want to be sure that you won’t be giving your roommate a show.
  • Flip flops for the shower.  Trust us on this one:  you have no idea what is on that floor.
  • Shower caddy.  This makes those trips back and forth from the shower easier.  Pick a container that you can carry everything you’ll need in it, like shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc.  You may also want to choose one that is waterproof so that you can take it right in the shower with you.
  • Basic hygiene materials.  Although it seems obvious, you’d be surprised what you’ll forget.  You want to be sure to bring shampoo, conditioner, soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc.  Whatever you use on a regular to keep you clean you’ll want to bring with you.
  • Linens.  You may want to bring two sets of bed linens just in case one in is in the laundry.  You’ll also want to bring extra towels so that you don’t run into the same problem.
  • Cleaning materials.  Your best friend will be the disinfectant.
  • Medications and first aid.  You obviously will want to bring any medications you take on a daily basis.  But you also want to bring things like band aids, antibacterial ointment, antacids, cotton balls, etc.
  • Basic school supplies.  You’ll definitely need pens and pencils, but don’t forget things like printer paper, staplers, pencil sharpeners, and extra staples.  You may also want to get extra printer ink, in case you run out in the middle of printing out a paper the night before it’s due.
  • Good backpack.  Rockler-Gladen suggests that you get a backpack that you’ll be able to carry all your books and your essentials in.  If you’re bringing your computer to class, you may want to ensure that it will fit in your backpack.
  • Laundry materials.  You want to get laundry detergent, as well as a hamper and/or laundry basket to carry your clothes back and forth from the laundry room.
  • Rain jackets.  Trust us on this:  you’ll want a rain jacket with a hood.  You may also want to get a waterproof winter jacket if you’ll be somewhere where it snows.  We promise you when we say that you want to be prepared for all types of weather.  Remember that at most schools you’re classes will be in different buildings around campus.  That means that when it rains, you’ll have to walk through that.
  • Rain boots.  Again, you have to be prepared for everything.
  • Umbrella.  This is for the days where you could get away with just an umbrella, i.e. there isn’t wind accompanied with the rain.
  • Snow boots with treads.  Seems a little dorky, but trust us that you’ll need them.  If you’ll be in a place where it snows, you will want to make sure you don’t fall on your face walking to class.
  • Flashlight.  In case the lights go out or you lose something under your bed, you’ll want one of these handy.
  • Decor.  You’ll want to decorate your half of the room to remind you of home.  Don’t forget about those pictures that will get you through those long nights of studying.

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