There are over 14 million students enrolled in public universities and another 5 million in private universities. If you or your child is about to join that statistic, you may be feeling a bit overwhelmed.
Filling out college applications, choosing the right university, figuring out financial aid, and going back to school shopping can all be a bit stressful. But if you’ve already checked those first three tasks off your to-do list, you likely just need to buy the essential college items before the school year starts this fall.
Luckily, compiling your back to school shopping list doesn’t have to be so hard.
Do you need some help getting started? Keep reading to discover 7 things that you can’t go off to college without.
1. School Supplies
It should come as no surprise that every college student needs a good collection of school supplies. And many of these are the same as what you got in high school: pens, pencils, highlighters, notebooks, and folders.
In order to keep yourself organized, consider getting one notebook and one folder per class. You’ll also want extra supplies so you don’t run out of pens halfway through the semester.
Additionally, you’ll also need some more costly school supplies, like a laptop and printer. While you can use the school’s library or computer lab, it’ll be much easier if you can do your homework and print out papers in your dorm instead of having to run out in bad weather or late at night.
Of course, you’ll also need to buy your books. This can get quite costly, but some loans for students include books. So, make sure you look at your loan more closely before you hit the school bookstore.
2. Toiletries and Cleaning Supplies
If you plan on living in the dorms or in an apartment, you’ll need basic cleaning supplies and toiletries. Shampoo, conditioner, body wash, bath towels, shaving cream, and a razor are all a must. Those living in the dorms will also need a shower caddy and shower shoes.
When it comes time to clean, you’ll need a feather duster, disinfectant wipes, and a small vacuum. If you plan on living in an apartment, you’ll also need a bathroom cleaner and a toilet brush.
You’ll also need a laundry basket, laundry detergent, and dryer sheets as well as plenty of quarters to do your laundry all semester.
3. A Calendar
It can be hard to balance all your classes when you first start college. To help ensure you succeed, consider getting a calendar or planner to keep yourself organized.
Planners are great because you can take them with you wherever you go. But if you plan on doing most of your work in your room, consider getting a dry erase calendar with an attached corkboard. This will let you write down all your assignments and have a place to hang important notes and reminders.
4. Mattress Pad
While your dorm will come with a mattress, it won’t be very comfortable. This can leave you tossing and turning all night and waking up feeling tired and sore.
In order to get that good night’s sleep you need, consider investing in a mattress pad. Although they are thin, they make a huge difference!
To complete your comfortable bed, you may want to get new sheets, a new pillow, and a warm comforter. Space is tight in dorm rooms, so your comforter is a great way to stay comfortable and show off your personality.
5. A Lamp
Sharing a room isn’t always easy. You may find that you need to stay up in order to finish an assignment after your roommate has already gone to sleep.
Turning the light on isn’t really fair for your roomie who wants to sleep, so getting a desk lamp is a great compromise that can avoid potential arguments. Make sure you find one that’s bright enough to help you see but not too bright that it lights up the entire room.
This is also another chance to add some personality into your room. So, consider finding a desk lamp with a unique stand or a cute shade.
6. A Microwave and Mini-Fridge
Your university probably has plenty of cafeterias and dining halls. But you won’t always want to or be able to go to them. If they close at a certain time or if it’s late at night, you may prefer to just make a quick snack in your dorm.
That’s where a mini-fridge and microwave come in handy. You can store drinks and snacks in your fridge and use a microwave to heat up things like leftovers, popcorn, canned soup, and instant noodles. If you want to get really creative, you can even make scrambled eggs in the microwave!
7. Something to Personalize Their Dorm
Your dorm will likely look a bit cold and uninviting when you first move in. While comforters and desk lamps are a great start, you’ll want to add something else to personalize the room and make it feel cozier.
A rug is a great solution for this. Not only will it make a big impact, but it’ll also help keep your feet warm on cold winter days.
Photo boards, picture frames, fairy lights, tapestries, and wall art are also great ideas. The key is to find a few things that can be hung on the wall next to your bed with some tape or command hooks. This way, you’ll get to decorate your side of the room without cluttering up your desk or end table.
Essential College Items You Need to Buy
Don’t start your freshman year of college unprepared! Instead, follow the list above to ensure you buy all the college items you need in order to succeed in school and feel like home in your dorm.
Do you need tips to save money for these college expenses? Then check out our money tips blog page today!