- What do first-year students need for college?
- College essentials for adulting
- College essentials for decorating
- First-year college checklist for dressing
- College checklist for eating and drinking
- College packing list for entertainment
- List of things you need for college for healthcare
- Miscellaneous things to take to college
- Things college students need for sleeping
- What do college students need for studying?
- College dorm essentials for washing and grooming
- What should you not bring to college?
Congratulations, you're heading off to college at last! You're about to take one of the most significant steps of your life, and a world of possibilities awaits you!
It's easy to get carried away, but planning your big move properly is the key to getting off to a great start. Of course, we don't want you to forget anything important, so we've put together a college checklist you can use to pack for your first exciting semester! 🌟
What do first-year students need for college?
Whether you're staying in a dorm or private accommodation, you're going to need some stuff to start your new independent life. 💪
The first thing to do is find out how big your accommodation is and what’s already there. For example, check what’s in the kitchen - is there a kettle, microwave, and toaster? Also, ask if there are bedsheets in your room.
Second, find out if there’s anything that isn't allowed, some places have restrictions on bringing in things like kitchen appliances, heaters, and electric blankets.
Next, everything else! Our college checklist is right here:
What do college students need most?
If you want a very short list: Clothes, ID, credit cards, a laptop, and a phone, are probably the most essential things for college students and for human beings in general. But let's go into detail about all the stuff you really need for college.
College essentials for adulting
Starting college is a big adventure; you're striking out on your own for the first time and beginning to live as an adult. That means taking responsibility for your own affairs too, and you'll find there's a lot of paperwork that comes with being an adult!
You never know when certain documents will come in handy, so we've included them as student essentials for college.
You should take:
- Bank cards, a copy of your bank account details, and any recent bank letters as these can be helpful when applying for things. You really don’t want to be without access to your money, especially during your first weeks of college
- Details of accommodation and contract - because it's always good to know what rights and responsibilities come with your living space
- Driver's license
- Insurance policy information - College students own an average of seven tech devices each, so it's not a bad idea to take out an insurance policy. You can find ones tailored specifically to students which cover any valuables and gadgets you bring with you
- Letter showing your address - among other things, this may be required to register with a local health center or doctor
- A paper copy of important phone numbers as a backup if you lose your cellphone
- A passport, driving license, or another form of ID is essential
- Purse or wallet to store all your cards etc
- College acceptance letter - last but definitely not least, you certainly wouldn't want to forget this!
We suggest you take a photograph or scan each document before you pack it. Then, put all the photos in an encrypted folder and copy them onto a pen drive that you leave at home or upload to a secure cloud storage space. That way, if anything happens like fire, flood, or theft, you'll have all your important info backed up. It's also a good idea to store these documents in a secure metal lockbox or padlocked case in your college accommodation to prevent theft. 🔐
College essentials for decorating
It's a good idea to take a few small things to personalize your room, but don't go overboard. It's not uncommon to feel a bit homesick when starting college, and it can help to have familiar things around you to help settle in. 🎨
- Blu-tac or drawing pins to put up some posters or pictures
- Photos of family and friends
- Posters, not too many, one or two is enough to make you feel at home
- Small ornaments or knick-knacks you can put on your desk or shelves
- A blanket and a cushion for making college chairs more comfortable
First-year college checklist for dressing
The key here is not too much but not too little. You'll be at college for Fall, Winter, Spring and a bit of Summer, so you'll want to bring clothes to cover all weather possibilities. Bear in mind, that you might not have much wardrobe space for more than a week's worth of clothes. You don't need to go overboard at the start, if you're planning to go home the occasional weekend or during the Christmas or Easter breaks, you can swap out your wardrobe then, but it doesn't hurt to have things on hand for different conditions.
- Comfortable, casual clothes you can wear every day like t-shirts, jeans, hoodies, and sweaters
- A robe to make the walk from the bathroom back to your room much more comfortable
- Gloves are good, also get yourself a pair of fingerless gloves for warmer typing during Winter
- Hangers for the wardrobe, annoying to pack, but essential!
- Hats to keep your head warm, disguise bed head, and look good
- A scarf really makes a difference when there's a chill in the air
- Party clothes for partying and random acts of socializing
- Shoes for various occasions: a pair for daily use, a pair for exercise, and a pair to impress
- Sleepwear- invest in some decent pajamas before you leave home!
- Smart clothes you can wear to official college events or job interviews
- Sportswear to feel comfortable while you play or work out
- Sunglasses to protect from glare
- Underwear: it is definitely time to get some new underpants!
- Warm jacket or coat because Winter is always coming!
College checklist for eating and drinking
Preparing enjoyable, healthy meals isn't that hard, you just need to be prepared. Taking control of your own diet is a learning experience, so prepare to experiment!
BONUS TIP: If you share your kitchen with other students, you might want to put a little mark on your stuff using a permanent marker to identify it as yours in case anyone takes a fancy to it. ✅
- Baking tray - essential to avoid making a big mess every time you use the oven
- Trash bags - useful for rubbish, but also for dirty clothes
- Bottle opener and corkscrew - you will lose these, buy cheap ones
- Chopping boards - you should have at least two: one for raw meat and one for everything else
- Silverware - spoons, teaspoons, knives, and forks - at least two of each in case you want to entertain. Don't forget sharp knives for cutting meat, bread, etc.
- Dishcloth because spills are inevitable
- Grater to use with cheese or veggies
- Herbs and spices - the secret to all tasty dishes
- Measuring jugs or cups for kitchen wizardry
- Mugs - at least two for you and a mate’s daily brew
- Oven gloves - keep your pinkies safe
- Pans and pots - one small one and one medium-sized one, and a frying pan
- Plates big and small, and bowls - at least two of each so you can feed a friend now and again
- Recipe book - if you're new to cooking, get one aimed at students, which should explain the basics. A recipe book is safer to handle in the kitchen than your precious phone or tablet
- Sandwich bags - useful for storing food in the fridge or your backpack
- Some basic food supplies to get you started when you move in
- Coffee to keep you going morning, noon and night
- Tin opener - when your student loan runs out enjoy some cans of soup!
- Tupperware - a few various sized containers suitable for precooked meals or saving leftovers
- Vegetable peeler to maintain your healthy diet
College packing list for entertainment
All work and no play etc. etc. It's good to have some entertainment resources on hand to use for improvised game nights or rainy Sunday afternoons! 🎲
- Board games or playing cards to keep you and your mates entertained when you're all studied out
- An extension chord or two will always come in handy
- Headphones because sometimes you just want to entertain yourself!
- Speakers for video games, films, parties
List of things you need for college for healthcare
As well as topping up any prescription medication you need before leaving home, you should pack:
- A basic first aid kit with bandages, painkillers, band-aids, antibacterial gel or spray, and rubbing alcohol
- Camomile tea - great for making a calming, soothing drink when you're stressed out with deadlines
- Glasses or contact lenses, if you need them, and a copy of your prescription
- Vitamins, we especially recommend having some vitamin C with zinc to make colds and touches of flu easier on your body
Miscellaneous things to take to college
Some other things that you should consider:
- A bike is an excellent investment for college: it's a flexible means of transport and good exercise, don't forget your helmet, and make sure you get a strong lock or three!
- Scissors and tape will see you through good times and bad
- Small sewing kit - to repair small holes and tears or to put together a costume for themed parties
- Torch - for emergencies
- Umbrella - for when your hood just isn't enough
Things college students need for sleeping
Some dorms supply sheets, so find out what's on offer before you start packing. Also, if you're bringing your own sheets, don't forget to find out what size your bed is! Finally, it's not a bad idea to get a spare set to use because you might not always have time to wash and dry everything in one day. 🌛
- Duvet and cover - the higher the "tog" rating, the cozier you'll be in the depths of Winter
- Earplugs - absolutely essential in shared accommodation!
- Pillows and pillowcases
What do college students need for studying?
A student's stationery needs are vast and different courses will have their own requirements. 🎓
But at the very least, you're going to need:
- A4 Binders plus A4 file paper for your notes
- Agenda or calendar to keep track of everything
- Desk fan - may or may not be helpful depending on the year
- Desk lamp - to save your eyesight
- Ethernet cable to connect your laptop directly to the internet for a reliable connection and maximum speed
- Highlighters to help you identify key points to remember
- Hole punch - because sometimes the lecturer doesn't have time
- Laptop and charger - if you don't have one, get one! Check the minimum specs for Windows 11 and buy a second hand or new laptop that exceeds them and you’ll be sorted
- Notebooks - handier for taking notes than file blocks
- Pencils and pens of different colors
- Portable hard drive - get one and back up your laptop regularly!
- Post-It notes are great for ordering your future self to do important stuff your past self didn’t do
- Stapler - to make pages behave themselves
- USB stick - for transporting documents to printers, copying files from classmates, and backing up work at college
College dorm essentials for washing and grooming
Everyone has their own routine, but don't forget the basics:
- Aftershave or perfume
- Deodorant or antiperspirant
- Face cloth or sponge
- Hairbrush and/or comb
- Nail clippers or scissors
- Razors and shaving gel
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Soap or shower gel
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Towels big and small
- Washing detergent for your clothes
What should you not bring to college?
This could be quite a long list, but let's look at some things people might actually be tempted to bring with them. ❌
- Your bookshelf - look, you'll have access to plenty of books at college; there's no need to drag your own library about the country. Books are heavy and take up a lot of space, leave them at home.
- Your pets - a student lifestyle is not pet-friendly. Most student accommodation will not allow you to keep so much as a stick insect, so don't even think about dragging along your cat or dog. Your roommates won't be happy, your pet won't be happy, and you won't have enough time to look after them properly anyway.
- Your microwave/kettle/toaster/mops/brushes/couch - these should already be available in your accommodation, and there won't be room to put your own there as well.
- Your printer - printers are big and expensive to run. If you want to print stuff, it's cheaper and easier just to use the facilities at college. Also, if your friends find out you have a printer, you'll be tortured at all hours by people wanting to print off a last-minute assignment.
- Your car - parking spaces outside your college are probably quite limited, and as most colleges are in the middle of cities, it's easier to get around by bike or public transport.
- Your iron - Seriously? You’ll never use it!
So that's it, all the college essentials and non-essentials are covered!
Good luck starting your new life as a student! Don't forget that GoStudent tutors are always available online to help you get to grips with your college subjects. Our tutors are experienced, patient and professional, and they've also been through all the ups and downs of college life and lived to tell the tale! Hit this link to book a free trial class today!