Millions of teenagers around the world are likely still reeling with pride for having recently graduated high school, yet walking across that stage and throwing their caps in the air was just the beginning. While most of those students are currently enjoying their last summers at home, in just a few weeks, they’ll be returning to the grind more seriously than ever before as they continue their educations in college or university.
Perhaps more important than the fact college means long hours of studying, for many of these students, they’re also taking a huge personal leap by moving out of their parents’ homes and into dorms. On the plus side, this means mom and dad can never again stop them from doing whatever they want. Unfortunately, there’s also the drawback that they pretty much have to fend for themselves on the day to day from now on.
Every college is different, so the exact items a student requires will differ depending on which institution they plan on attending and what it is they’re going to study there. Some things on the following list may actually be covered by the college, so incoming students should double check with their institution specifically before taking our generalities at face value. It’s also good to coordinate larger items with roommates to ensure there’s space for everything. That said, everyone needs to start planning somewhere, so keep reading for a basic checklist of 30 things a new college student needs on moving day.
30 Power Sources For When the Lights Go Out
Necessary as electricity is to modern existence, the possibility for power outages exists in college dorms as it does anywhere else. This means students won’t always be able to plug into an outlet when staying up late to study from their textbooks. The only way to get power in this situation is by having a few spare batteries, preferably of all sizes. Of course, this won’t help unless the students lamps, alarm clocks, or other devices have the option of being battery powered, so this entry should probably be kept in mind throughout the whole list.
29 Good Hygiene Is Key In New Environments
Truth be told, a lot of stuff on this list should be fairly obvious to anyone who has ever moved before, to college or anywhere. However, any of them could fall through the cracks thanks to how hectic the experience can be, especially if left to the last second. In fact, the simplest everyday things might be the easiest to forget. For example, everyone needs to cut their nails, and while college may induce new stress into a person’s life, it’s still not a good idea to chew them off. Instead, simple nail clippers can do the trick, so long as a person has them at their disposal.
28 A Way to Travel Off Campus
Because college is already an extremely expensive affair, the unfortunate reality is that not every student will be able to afford this next item. Of course, that only means the people who already have a car when they drive up to campus will be amongst the first to make new friends. No matter how happening the student union may be, every student will want to grab a few things off campus now and again, and public transportation means relying on tight schedules that limit exploration. It’s much easier to just have a car of one’s own.
27 Methods to Communicate With Everybody
In this day and age, it’s hard to imagine a student in high school going without a cell phone, but it probably does happen in some rare cases. However, it’s just about essential that people have some type of cellular device by the time they get to college. Although most dorms do still have landlines, it’s infinitely easier to plan study sessions and after-class hangouts via text. Phones can also double as daily planners, allowing students to easily organize their assignments and due dates. Plus, it’ll help them keep in touch with all their old friends who now go to different schools.
26 Something to Watch In The Dorm
Okay, so no matter what it is a student plans on studying, chances are they won’t have nearly as much time to sit around and watch TV as they once did. That doesn’t mean they won’t still get bored now and again, and having some form of entertainment always helps pass the time. Many colleges provide students with some form of cable, and even if they didn’t, there’s still DVDs and other forms of video. TVs are also necessary to hook up a video game console, which with the right games could make them a fun social hut for the whole floor.
25 A Place to Keep Food and Drinks
Every college has a dining hall or two, plus any number of standalone restaurants varying from one school to another. However, there will definitely be times when walking all the way across campus just to get a meal three times a day can gradually start to feel like a slow and tedious affair. That’s not even mentioning the need for cold drinks, because no student wants to pay the vending machine every single time they get thirsty. Luckily, both of these problems can be solved with the always-versatile mini-fridge, where students can store any food or liquid they desire.
24 Cooking Utensils and Related Materials
Due to potential fire hazards and electrical limitations, few college dorms allow students to have microwaves or other machines that cook hot food. To make up for this, many instead have communal kitchens with ovens and stovetops so students who love cooking can make their meals. The catch is that they’ll need to bring their own pots, pans, plates, utensils, and so on, plus the necessary cleaning materials for after the meal is over. To some students, carrying all of these items through the hallway isn’t worth the effort, but those in love with culinary arts should definitely consider them.
23 Products That Will Keep the Room Clean
Depending on how clean a given student is, the full extent of this next item may vary. People only live in dorms for about 4 or 5 months at a time, and if they don’t spend all that much time in the room, it may not get particularly dirty. On the other hand, accidents happen when least expected, and the smallest spill can turn into a huge mess if the person who caused it isn’t prepared for a hasty clean up. In the very least, some sort of cleaning product and a few paper towels should probably be kept on hand just in case.
22 Nothing Beats A Cup of Coffee in the Morning
For whatever reason, not every college is going to allow this next item, and even if they all did, it should go without saying not every student in the world is going to need one. That said, for every person who doesn’t drink coffee, there’s someone else calling the delicious caffeinated beverage their lifeblood, making it almost essential to have a personal coffeemaker on hand for that morning cup of Joe. Pod-based coffeemakers might be ideal, letting students quickly fill a single mug before rushing off to class. Just make sure it’s okay with the college before plugging it in.
21 Keep the Music Confined to Headphones
Fun as it may feel to blast music as loud as possible, not everyone appreciates an eternal life of the party. Dorm rooms are tight spaces, and they don’t typically come with the loudest walls, meaning any music a student tries listening to without headphones will be heard both by their roommates and potentially the entire building. Novel as it may be once or twice, that isn’t always going to cut it, making a way to enjoy the tunes quietly and personally just about essential. The same is of course also true when watching TV or movies from a laptop.
20 Bulletin Boards Help Planning and Spreading Messages
In the modern era of texting and social media messaging, the idea of a simple bulletin board might feel a little bit archaic. However, one should never underestimate the power of the handwritten word, which can survive power outages, drained batteries, and forgetful people not checking every last text. For a college student, there’s at least two ways to use a bulletin board that instantly stand out — either as a weekly planner to remind oneself of their assignments and due dates, or a way to send messages to a roommate they can’t possibly miss.
19 Anything Specific to the Major or Area of Study
For the most part, this list is being as generic as possible to make it equally accessible to all students. That said, it’s also worth noting that almost every area of study requires a different set of supplies of their own. Hopefully, anyone getting in to a major that requires they purchase their own gadgets and technological instruments will know what they need. The best we can offer is that more mathematical fields probably require a calculator and maybe a protractor, and everyone else can use that train of thought as a jump off point for more.
18 Ways to Stay in Shape And For Athletes to Train
To some students, simply making the trek from the dorms to the dining halls to class and back may be all the exercise they need. More active types need a little bit more exhilaration than that, and while many campuses contain gyms of some kind, having a few personal ways to exercise is more convenient. This is especially the case for collegiate athletes, because practice shouldn’t necessarily end the second coach blows the whistle. Even people who don’t play sports regularly might want to consider bringing a football, basketball, hockey puck, or anything like that, allowing for quick friendly games with new acquaintances.
17 Clothing For All Weather and Occasions
Tempting as it may be for a new student to simply bring their entire wardrobe along with them to college, the reality of the situation is this probably isn’t necessary. Unfortunately, the average dorm doesn’t have the biggest closet, meaning a limited amount of space for unique and varied clothing. For this reason, students should consider necessity over style, making sure they have at least one outfit for any sort of weather before worrying about unique social situations. Move-in day may take place in the middle of summer, but college doesn’t end until winter, meaning students should pack a coat with their shorts.
16 Stay Away From That Scruffy Look
Chances are, the majority of people heading off to college have already started shaving, and this probably isn’t going to change now that they’re away from their parents. Obviously, the only way this is possible is via a razor, either the old fashioned kind or a more powerful and efficient electric version. Once in college, there’s no more borrowing from the family supply, so every student needs their own stock of razors, shaving cream, and any other related grooming accoutrements to keep their faces feeling smooth.
15 Extra Assurance Everyone Will Wake Up On Time
Okay, so just about every cell phone in existence these days has an alarm feature, and they already featured on this list, so it may feel a little redundant to mention standalone alarm clocks. Here’s the thing — cell phones run out of batteries, get set on vibrate, and get lost or forgotten, all of which can cause students to miss out on attending an extremely important class, or worse, handing in an assignment on time. An easy extra precaution to ensure that sort of thing doesn’t happen is to bring along an alarm clock.
14 Lights To Keep The Studying Going At Night
Obviously, everyone dorm room has a lighting system of some kind, but there’s usually only one, that’s naturally built in to the ceiling and controlled with a light switch by the door. This means students who want to lay in bed until they get tired then turn the lights off are out of options unless they bring their own lamps. Anyone looking to do some late night studying while their roommate sleeps is equally disadvantaged without the same preparation. The exact type, size, and shape of lamp a person might want is left up to style and convenience, but everyone needs something to brighten their day.
13 Something To Keep Cool When the Heat is On
Hopefully, every dorm room in the world will have some sort of air conditioning and heating system, and even if they didn’t, there’s always the simple option of opening or closing a window. Of course, that’s only so helpful in truly dreadful heat or freezing cold temperatures. Because of the fire hazard, not every campus will allow a space heater, but most of them can also be a personal fan to keep the room cool. The white noise can also help drown out rowdier students when trying to sleep.
12 Decorations Make Dorm Rooms Personal and Livable
Depending on how one feels about personal comfort, this next item is either the most or least important item on the list. While some people are completely fine with plain white walls and simplicity, others feel the need to cover every inch of wall space in something more befitting to their personal style. Traditionally, this can mean movie and music based posters, and more adventurous students might spring for sprawling tapestries or light displays. No matter what winds up on the wall, make sure it isn’t permanently affixed there, meaning always use loose tape over any sort of thumbtacks or pins.
11 A Place to Throw Out The Trash
Across the board, colleges all pay for trash removal for students living in the dorms. At the same time, though, it’s obviously up to the students to ensure their trash gets where it needs to go in order to be collected. Because it’s a little inconvenient to carry discarded objects all the way down the hall just to get rid of them, students should bring their own small trash cans and plenty of trash bags along with them to consolidate trips. Of course, when it comes to tossing leftover food, it’s probably worth the trip to a more permanent disposal area.
10 Being Safe Means a First Aid Kit
Theoretically, college students are in the prime of their lives, ready to take on the world physically and mentally. That said, accidents can strike at any point, as can unexpected sickness and diseases, which can suddenly bring a thriving student to a standstill. While any decent school will have some sort of infirmary, on-campus medical center, or at least a nurse or two, the first line of defence from illness and ailment is a simple first aid kit. Because few students know that much about medicine, simplicity is probably key here, and anything beyond adhesive strips and braces should probably require medical attention.
9 Surge Protectors to Safely Light the Room
At this point in the list, it’s probably becoming evident that a whole lot of things a college student needs require an electrical outlet. Obviously, every dorm room has some sort of power source, but the amount of them can be shockingly smaller than an incoming student expects. Because extension chords can cause a fire hazard when overused, safer surge protectors are generally the way to go when plugging in a whole bunch of separate electronic devices. The size of a surge protector should be decided based on how many other items on the list genuinely seem necessary.
8 New Knowledge Lasts Longer When Written Down
Even in an era when almost everything is typed onto computers, the power of the literally written word cannot be overstated. Booting up a computer, clicking on a word processor, and then shutting it all off 10 seconds later after a note is taken can be a little tedious, so having a pen and piece of paper to write down quick thoughts is still an essential part of the learning experience. Let’s also not forget that college includes lots of test-taking, and most teachers still prefer having students write out their answers on paper to typing them into a computer.
7 Don’t Forget A Toothbrush
Breath-freshening, teeth whitening gum might work in a pinch, but the mere fact someone is of college age obviously doesn’t preclude them from needing to practice actual oral hygiene. New academics still need to brush their teeth like anyone else, meaning they’ll have to bring a toothbrush and toothpaste along with them to school, plus any sorts of mouthwash or other such product that’s part of their routine. On the subject of daily preparations, students should remember any skin lotions or moisturizers they need to feel presentable, as well.
6 A Special Caddy Just For Showers
For people who like privacy, one of the harder things to get used to about living in a dorm is that new students suddenly need to share their shower with a whole building of strangers. To deal with this issue, the first thing they’ll need is a bathrobe and maybe some special shower sandals or shoes, because these cleaning facilities typically only get cleaned once or twice a day. They’ll also need a way to carry the soap, shampoo, and other shower supplies to and from the bathroom, meaning a shower caddy or similar small waterproof container is pretty much essential.
5 Bath Towels, Because Paper Isn’t Enough
On the subject of showers and cleaners, the thought may as well continue to the next part of the process in drying off. No one has time to stand around and drip dry in a bathroom, so the solution is for students to bring a few towels with them on their trip. That may feel obvious, but it’s easier to forget they’ll also need smaller towels for drying off after washing their hands or cleaning their face, as well. For whatever reason, not all college bathrooms even provide paper towels, making personal drying tools a necessity.
4 Mattresses Look Better With Sheets and Pillows
Luckily, college dorms are at least willing to acknowledge that students need to sleep there, helping out with this goal to the extent of giving them a mattress and bed frame. The downside is that this is all they offer, leaving the rest of a comfortable sleeping arrangement up to the individual student. In addition to blankets sheets, a comforter, and any other layers a student may want, they should also make sure to remember a few pillows, along with any additional accoutrements needed to drift into slumber land.
3 Carrying Cases for Clean Clothes
Even if college might sometimes mean students are too busy to change their clothes every single day, just about every dorm has on-site laundry available to students who feel the need for clean apparel. Unfortunately, some of them require quarters or some sort of laundry card to operate, and even the free ones require students to bring their own detergent or fabric softener. Another item students are on their own with is a hamper or laundry basket, which is definitely a necessity when carrying a week’s worth of dirty clothing down to the basement, where most laundry rooms are found.
2 Notebooks and Folders Keep Everything in Order
No matter how digital this world has become, one object college students will always require is the simple and effective folder. Notebooks are also pretty much always going to be a given, providing students with hundreds of pages to write down important information. Even if a student intends to take every last note on a laptop, they’re going to find themselves needing paper now and again, and teachers will in turn be handing out all sorts of materials they’ll want to store in one convenient place.
1 Computers Are Absolutely Essential
Ultimately, aside from everyday health products, the most important thing for an incoming college student to own is probably some sort of laptop or PC. Yes, just about every college has a whole lab or section of the library dedicated to computers, but there’s a limited number of them, and these buildings close at a certain point in time. The only way to ensure students will always be able to write papers, do online research, use social media to connect with one another, or do any of the other many things computers allow is, well, bringing one along and putting it in their room.
References: CollegeBoard.com, refinery.com, teenvogue.com