The Mega List of Things You Need for College


Did you know that about 65% of students enroll in college after graduating from high school? If you’re preparing to make the transition from high school to higher education, congratulations! Getting into college is a huge accomplishment and something you should be proud of.

Between now and move-in day, however, you have a lot to do. This is even more true if you’ll be moving into a dorm. There’s a long list of things you need for college if you want to start this new chapter of your life prepared.

Shopping for college can be overwhelming. You want to make sure you’re getting everything you need—and not accidentally purchasing a bunch of stuff you don’t actually need.

Here’s the thing: every student is different and has different needs, so there’s no one-size-fits-all list of things you need to bring. But there are some essentials that we think everyone should have as they head off to college.

We’ve got everything from basic necessities like clothes and food to dorm room decorations and electronics. We’ve also got a few fun items for those who want to add a little personality to their dorm rooms! Looking to explore your options? Let’s look at 4inlanyards to bring some customized lanyards for your college need.

The Mega List of Things You Need for College

Don’t worry, we’re here to help! Outlined below is a detailed guide to everything you need to include on your college checklist.

A Few Tips for Packing for College

Before we get into what you should pack, we need to go over a few guidelines. Because when you’re moving into your first “home,” it’s easy to make a wrong turn. As you’re creating your list and packing your belongings, remember these tips.

1. You Can’t Bring It All

Even if your dorm room is on the larger side, it’s still a dorm room. Meaning you’re going to have less space than you do in your childhood bedroom. You need to pack with this in mind, reminding yourself that you can’t bring everything you own.

The last thing you want is for your dorm room to be a cluttered mess. This will bring down your mental health and productivity levels, and college is hard enough as it is.

All of your little knickknacks and keepsakes will be at your parents’ home waiting for you when you return, pack only the necessities for your dorm.

2. Your School Will Provide Some Items

Obviously, you don’t need to bring a bed along with you. But there are other items, such as a desk and a mini-fridge, that your school will likely provide as well. If not, you can typically rent the essentials from the school at an affordable price.

Do your research before you begin packing. Every school is different, so you need to find out what your specific school and dormitory provides and what they don’t before you make your packing list.

3. Do Your Best Not to Stress

It’s okay to feel a little stressed about the prospect of packing for college, and everything else that comes with this new chapter in your life. However, allowing yourself to become completely overwhelmed won’t solve anything.

Do your best to stay calm, cool, and collected. This will make the process easier to tackle and allow you to see it for the fun and exciting experience that it is.

And remember, if you forget anything important, it’s not the end of the world. You can buy a new one once you’re settled in if it’s something essential like a toothbrush. Or, if it’s something that can wait a week or so, your parents can send it to you!

Things You Need for College and Tips for Packing Them

The importance of having a packing list and a plan before you begin storing your items in boxes and bags cannot be stressed enough. If you jump straight into packing without any preparation, you’ll almost certainly forget something (or many somethings) along the way. To help you with this process, here’s a list of everything you need to pack and how to pack it!

Clothing Items

As you pack your clothes, remember that you’re going to have very limited closet space. Because of this, it’s a good idea to buy a few plastic drawer sets or packing cubes to store the things that won’t fit in your closet. You can also bring a large plastic container to store all of your out of season items.

Going through your closet and dresser to pack your clothes is a great opportunity to declutter. Put your clothes in three piles: what to pack for college, what to leave at home, and what to give away.

If you haven’t worn something in the last 6 months, it’s probably time to say goodbye. Someone else can get more use out of it.

In your pack for college pile, be sure you have the following:

  • Casual shirts
  • Long-sleeve shirts
  • Formal shirts
  • Dress pants/skirts
  • Jeans
  • Sweatpants
  • Casual shorts/skirts
  • Underwear (2 weeks’ worth)
  • Socks
  • Jacket
  • Sweatshirt
  • Raincoat
  • Swimsuit
  • Gloves/mittens
  • Shoes (4-5 pairs)

You should also bring along any accessories you use regularly, including belts, sunglasses, hats, scarves, and jewelry.

Dorm Room Essentials

Once you have your clothing squared away, it’s time to move on to your furniture and other items for your dorm room. As mentioned above, there’s usually no need to bring large furniture items, but you will need to bring any extras you might want or need.

Here are some things college students need for their dorm room:

  • Beanbag or chair
  • Ergonomic desk chair
  • Storage trays and drawers
  • Shoe rack
  • Rug
  • Photos and sentimental items
  • Full-length mirror
  • Curtains
  • Corkboard

It’s also good to have plenty of adhesive hooks and command strips. Like any rental home or apartment, you’ll need to leave your dorm room in good condition when you’re done with it. To avoid paying expensive repair fees, it’s best to stick things to walls rather than using tacks or nails.

Toiletries and Other Bathroom Necessities

When it comes to toiletries, you can either pack them in your suitcase or buy them once you arrive at your school. Either way, however, you should have a list of what you need.
If your dorm has a communal bathroom, the two most important things to pack are a shower caddy and shower shoes. Other than that, pack the following:

  • Towels
  • Washcloths
  • Robe
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash
  • Floss
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Body soap
  • Face wash
  • Moisturizer
  • Deodorant
  • Nail clippers
  • Razor
  • Shaving cream
  • Tweezers
  • Sunscreen
  • Cotton swabs
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Brush or comb
  • Styling products
  • Hair ties/headbands

First, ensure that everything you need for the shower fits into your shower caddy, then pack all of these items into a separate toiletry bag to keep your suitcase organized.

School Supplies

It’s easy to get carried away when shopping for school supplies, especially when you’re purchasing them for something as exciting as college. And while there’s nothing wrong with buying that pack of rainbow pens, try to stick to the basics as much as you can.

Although you’ll be relying on technology for a large portion of your work, there are still some basic supplies you’ll need.

  • Pens
  • Textbooks (rent them if possible)
  • Index cards
  • Printer paper
  • Sticky notes
  • Pen holder
  • Laptop stand
  • Calculator
  • Planner
  • Scissors
  • Stapler/staples
  • Ruler
  • White-Out
  • Tape

And, of course, the most important school supply of all: a laptop. Though you don’t need a top of the line computer to get your schoolwork done, it’s best to have one that’s high enough quality to last you the entire four years.

Start your laptop search as early as possible. That way, you have plenty of time to look for deals. Both brick and mortar and online stores are always offering sales on electronics. Lenovo, for example, has some fantastic deals on everything from laptops to hard drives to monitors, take a look at


College is tough, and you’ll likely be spending a great deal of time between the books. But it’s unhealthy to work from sunup to sundown seven days a week, so be sure to bring some entertainment with you as well.

This will be specific to you and your hobbies and habits, but these are some ideas to add to your college supply list:

  • Board games
  • Camera and SD card
  • Headphones
  • Musical instrument
  • Gym equipment
  • Portable speaker
  • Sketchbook
  • Paints/paintbrushes
  • Crochet materials
  • Tablet
  • E-reader

If your college campus is bike-friendly, bring your bike along as well! Biking is not only an excellent way to get around quickly, but will also give you some much needed physical activity.

Important Documents and Other Items

You’re going out on your own, it’s going to be your responsibility now to keep up with all of your important documents. Anything that doesn’t belong in your wallet should be kept in a place that’s easily accessible but safe and out of sight.

Bring the following with you:

  • Bank documents
  • Financial aid documents
  • Health insurance card
  • Product warranties
  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Copy of social security card
  • Credit and debit card
  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Student ID

Make the Ultimate Packing List With This Guide

Preparing for college is incredibly exciting, but it can also be stressful. It’s a major change, after all. That said, if you stay organized and prepare well, you can put the stress aside and enjoy the experience to the fullest.

And one of the most important steps to take in preparation is to create your packing list. By using this guide to the things you need for college to build that list, you’ll have everything you need on your first day.

For more tips for getting the most out of your college experience, take a look at our blog!


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