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What to Bring to College

College and University Blog - Resources, help, and insight for your college experience

Countless freshmen arrive at their dorm lugging huge boxes and suitcases only to discover that they brought too much or forgot something. Your dorm room will probably be the smallest place you ever live. Add in a roommate and you are even more space-challenged.

The clothes you bring depend a lot on where your college is located. Find out the average climate for every season and bring what you need. Think about the activities you like to participate in and plan accordingly. If you make regular trips home, you can bring your clothing to campus as needed. Remember, your storage space in the dorms is at a minimum. This may limit what you bring.

  • Bring comfortable, casual clothes and shoes you can go to class in.
  • Bring a few dressy outfits and shoes for more formal occasions.
  • Bring a professional-looking outfit and shoes for interviews and professional situations.
  • If you plan on taking advantage of campus recreation, bring work-out clothes, shoes, and maybe a bathing suit.
  • Bring a light jacket and a heavy coat, mittens, hat, and scarf if you are going to a college with a colder climate.
  • Bring rainwear – this includes an umbrella.
  • Make sure to pack clothing to lounge in – include slippers for hanging out in the dorm.

Get a look at a dorm room or call the housing office to find out how big your room is and what it comes with. If you have a roommate, contact them before move-in. You can decide who is going to bring the big stuff. You don’t have room for two TV’s, two refrigerators, two stereos, two microwaves, etc. Some things that you’ll need are:

  • Linens – comforter or bedspread, pillows, blankets, sheets, mattress pad
  • Kitchen supplies – coffee mug, drinking cups, dishes & silverware for snacks, salt and pepper shakers. small refrigerator and microwave, can opener, dishwashing soap
  • Alarm clock
  • Fan
  • Room decor – pictures, posters, poster putty for hanging posters
  • Stereo equipment – stereo, I-pod, headphones (so your music doesn’t bother your roommate)
  • TV/DVD player
  • Lamp (if not provided by your college)
  • Cell phone & cell phone charger
  • Power strip and extension cords (if allowed at your school)
  • Storage containers – great for storing snacks and organizing your room
  • Cleaning supplies – paper towels, glass cleaner, surface cleaner
  • Message board for your door
  • Sewing kit, scissors, safety pins
  • Shower supplies – bathrobe, shower shoes, towels, washcloths, soap, shampoo, small bucket for carrying items to the shower
  • Personal care items – blow dryer, styling devices, shaving cream and razors, tissues, band-aids, OTC medicine, prescription medication (if needed), aspirin, first-aid kit, toothbrush, toothpaste
  • Laundry supplies – laundry basket/bag, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, quarters, hangers
  • Tools – screwdrivers (both kinds), hammer, pliers, flashlight, etc.

Having the right equipment can contribute to your academic well being. Having a few supplies around will keep you from having to pay the sometimes-higher prices charged in college bookstores. Some things you might find useful include:

  • Computer/laptop
  • Printer and printer ink
  • Blank CDs
  • Binders and folders
  • Paper – computer and writing
  • Writing utensils – pens, pencils, highlighters
  • Dictionary and thesaurus
  • Backpack or book bag
  • Calculator
  • Calendar or Day Planner
  • General office supplies – tape, stapler, paper clips, etc.

Consider your activities and hobbies and bring what you’ll need. If you’re artsy, you might want to bring art supplies or a camera & film. If you’re a jock, you might want to bring sports equipment. If you have any special needs, make sure you include the things you will need.

Keep in mind that there are certain items that you will not be allowed to bring: hot plates, halogen lamps, pets, etc. Your college housing office will advise you of what is not allowed.


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