What to Bring to College

There's a lot to remember when packing for your first year of college. To figure out what you'll need, visit your school's website to see if there's a recommended list, since there may be items to bring or leave home, depending on what's available on campus. To avoid duplication in your dorm room, talk to your roommate early and coordinate who's going to bring what. Remember that space is limited.

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Bedding Supplies

Before you buy sheets, find out in advance what size bed you get in your dorm. Twin? Or twin extra long? In addition to sheets, pillows, and a comforter, you'll also want a mattress pad. 

Bath and Toiletries

Find out what your bath situation is. Do you have your own private bath? Do you share one with another room? Is there one big one per floor? You are going to want to consider portability when purchasing bath supplies, especially if you have anything other than a private bath. If there are things you're accustomed to having around at home, like antacids, tissues or bandages, be sure to include those with your toiletries. Shower shoes and a tote for your shampoo are also a good idea if you have a shared bath.

Laundry Supplies

Find out where your laundry facilities are located and how far away they are from your dorm. Are they in the same building? Will you need cash or is there a card payment system? Do you have to go off-campus? In addition to detergent and dryer sheets, make sure you have a bag or basket for carrying your clothes.

Office and Desk Supplies

Think about what your school already offers, and what you like to have when studying. See if you can find out what type of desk you'll have in your dorm room, and whether you will have storage for supplies or will need a desk lamp.


Consider what the climate is like where you will be going to school, and if you will be returning home before the seasons change. If you can avoid bringing clothes for every season at once, do so; clothing space is usually minimal.

Room Needs/Décor

Figure out what furniture is provided, if any, and whether you are allowed to hang things on the walls. Some schools don't allow tape or nails on wall surfaces. If space is very limited, consider bringing storage cubes or under-bed boxes. You might also need to bring your own hangers or bedside lamp.

Computer Supplies

If you are bringing your own computer, find out the type of Internet access available in your room and what the compatibility requirements are so you can be prepared. Check to see if there are campus printing facilities or if you should bring your own printer. Don't forget the essentials for your computer, like the power cord or a laptop lock.

Electronic Supplies

Find out what kind of electronics are allowed and supplied in the dorms, and make sure to consult with your roommate—you don't need duplicates of big-ticket items like speakers, TVs or refrigerators.

Cooking Supplies

Even if you have a dining hall, there is a good chance you'll want to whip something up in your room. Find out what the policy is at your dorm on cooking, specifically for cooking electronics like microwaves, coffee pots and hot plates. Some schools allow them and some strictly forbid them.

Food Supplies

There will be moments when you feel like "eating in" or having a late-night snack in your dorm, so pack some snacks. Don't mess with perishable food; dry food is best, and stuff that can be stored easily. Popcorn, ramen and mac 'n' cheese are a few items that can be prepared without too much hassle.

Cleaning Supplies

Living on your own also means you have to pick up after yourself. When it comes to areas like the bathroom and kitchen area, you'll want cleaning supplies like a portable vacuum, all-purpose cleaner and dust wipes on hand. Check to see if your school provides any of these before purchasing.

Miscellaneous Stuff You Might Need

You want to be prepared for everything, so try to think of unique situations and what you might need to handle them. What would you need for a dentist appointment? If something breaks? If you want to study outside? Also remember that you will be very busy, so you don't want to bring too much.

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