Back to school time for college students is exciting but it can also be challenging, especially for those who are first-time college students.
College requires many different supplies for classes and for other aspects of college life. If a student is living on campus or moving into their own apartment there are also many supplies that are essential for moving out of the family home.
It can be overwhelming to choose the supplies a student will need so having a list with the essentials can be incredibly helpful when you’re shopping for back to school supplies.
Going to back to school during the college years can be a completely different experience than earlier school years. College students may need very specific supplies for certain classes.
Many professors will send an email to students to inform them of any supplies that are needed for class. It’s important for a college student to keep up with their school emails to be sure they have any relevant information on needed supplies.
You can keep a running list of supplies that are needed so that you can buy them as you find them without the chaos that comes with purchasing everything at the last minute.
The following information can help you purchase the items needed for classes and life after class is over. The lists for essential back to school items include: academic supplies, cleaning supplies, dorm furnishings, and dorm supplies.
Purchasing the right academic supplies can greatly improve a college student’s chances of success in their classes. College supplies can be much different from what was needed in earlier school years.
College students will need a good computer and may also find some other electronic items useful for completing their assignments. Some classes may require a certain type of binder, folder, or other specific items. If a student is taking higher level math and science classes they may need to purchase a certain scientific calculator.
The information for all these specific items may not be available until the first day of classes so it can be helpful to purchase the basics beforehand and then buy the other items once you’re sure exactly what you need. The following is some information on some college academic necessities that can help a student start the school year out right.
Notebooks, binder, and loose leaf paper – These basics will likely be needed for each class. Some professors don’t mind what type of paper you use while others may want students to keep a certain type of notebook for the class. It can be helpful to buy one or two of each item based on what the student prefers to use. You can later supplement with any other notebook needs once classes start.
Pens, pencils, highlighters – Having plenty of writing utensils is important to college students as they will likely be taking a lot of notes in all their classes. Most college students can choose pens or pencils based on their preference when it comes to taking notes in class. Some classes may require a certain type of pen or pencil for tests. Highlighters come in handy when it’s time to study for tests and quizzes.
Laptop and/or tablet – Most college students will need their own laptop to complete their assignments. While campuses will have computers in a library or computer lab for students to use, it’s much more convenient if they have their own device to use whenever they need it. Some students also find a tablet to be useful as they can easily use it in class to take notes.
Small miscellaneous items – Most students will need the following items at some point during the term. These items have many uses and can help your student be more successful. Some items to remember to stock up on include: tape, note cards, scissors, and paper clips.
Desk accessories – There are some other small items that can be useful but aren’t always necessities. These items include a small stapler with staples, a 3-hole punch, a desk organizer, and a printer. These items aren’t needed everyday but can make a student’s life easier so they won’t have to borrow from another student or run out to purchase the item when it’s needed.
Whether a student is moving into a dorm or their first apartment, cleaning supplies are a must. It’s important to consider the fact that most college students are not going to want to spend a lot of time cleaning.
You should just buy the basics so that they’re able to clean up quickly. If a student is sharing their space with a roommate it can be helpful to coordinate among each other to decide what each person will bring.
This is especially true for larger and pricier items. The following is a list of cleaning basics that can help the college student clean up quickly.
Dish soap or dishwasher tabs, dishcloths, and a dish drying rack – Most college students may turn to paper plates and plastic cups for convenience but there will inevitably be some dishes to be washed. You can check with the dorm or apartment to find out if it has a dishwasher.
All-purpose cleaning supplies – There are many cleaning sprays that can be used all around the house to clean up spills and messes. These are ideal for college students as they won’t have to put a ton of effort into keeping their place clean. An all-purpose spray and a few micro fiber cloths can help them keep counters, windows, and other surfaces clean. Paper towels and disinfecting wipes are also must-have items.
Broom, mop, and vacuum – Even the smallest apartment or dorm room can benefit from being swept, mopped, and vacuumed regularly. Students who are going to be sharing with a roommate can get together to find out who is bringing what so they end up with everything they need.
Laundry Supplies – Most new college students will be doing their laundry in a shared laundry facility so it’s important they have at least 2-3 hampers to separate their clothes so the laundry process is easy. It’s also important to get laundry detergent, dryer sheets, stain spray, and any other essential laundry items.
Most dorms come equipped with the basics to eliminate the amount of things a student needs to bring. Be sure to check with the school and ask about a checklist that will help you shop and prepare for the new school year in a dorm. The following are some furnishings that most dorm residents will need to bring with them.
Bedding – Dorms don’t supply bedding so it’s important that a new college student brings a mattress cover, sheets, pillowcases, pillows, and a comforter or quilt. Most students may also like to have an extra blanket that will come in handy for many uses.
Towels and washcloths – The amount of towels and washcloths needed will depend on how often a student wants to do laundry. A good starter set should include at least 2-3 towels, 2 hand towels, and 3-4 washcloths.
Microwave – Some dorms will have a built-in microwave. Others will require a student to bring one. Be sure to talk to roommates beforehand so that you don’t have more than one.
TV – Depending on the type of dorm the student is in, it may have a TV in the communal living space. If a student wants one in their room, they’ll likely have to supply it on their own.
Mini-fridge – Some small dorm rooms may come with a mini-fridge while others will require a student to provide one. In most cases, if there is enough space, it can be helpful for each roommate to have their own mini-fridge to keep their food separate from others.
A well-stocked dorm means that a college student can live comfortably with all the essentials where they need them. Before purchasing items for the dorm it can be helpful to request a list of what’s already provided.
Most dorms are minimally equipped and require the students to bring all personal items they’ll need. The following are some basics that most college students will need in their dorm.
Desk lamp, flashlight, and extra batteries – These essential items will not only help a student study during those late hours, but will also be needed in case of an emergency where the power is out.
First aid kit – A basic first aid kit should include bandages of various sizes, anti-itch cream, medical tape, gauze, rubber gloves, anti-microbial cream, alcohol wipes, and basic pain medications.
Toolkit – Many college students may have small pieces of furniture or other items that need assembling. Plus, you never know when something will need basic repairs. A tool kit that includes screwdrivers, super glue, pliers, and other basics will be used more often that you think.
Personal grooming items – These items will depend on the preference of the student. Some important things to remember are hairbrush/comb, nail clippers, hand sanitizer, tissues, toilet paper, dental care items, and a shower caddy. If the student is using communal showers, it’s also important to have a pair of shower shoes or cheap flip-flops.
Heading off to college, especially for first-time college students, can be stressful. One way to relieve some of that stress is to have a list of all the essential items the student will need for classes as well as life in the dorm or other housing.
Both parents and students can feel much better about the whole process if they feel prepared with all those necessary items. These items can vary based on where the student will be living and the classes they will be taking but a basics list can help ensure you don’t have a bunch of things to buy at the last minute.
When choosing items for the college student there are four basic categories to cover: academic supplies, cleaning supplies, dorm furnishings, and dorm supplies.
In each of these categories, there are essentials and there are also items that some students won’t need based on their individual circumstances. It can be helpful to get a list of needed items from your student’s dorm or housing unit.
The student can also check their school email to see if they have lists from their professors to be sure they’re prepared for classes.
Most importantly, you can always buy those last minute items when you realize you need something that wasn’t planned for. By making some lists and doing some basic prep work, you can greatly reduce anxiety that comes with heading off to college for the first time.