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What to Bring to College—The Ultimate Packing List

February 05, 2021 · 5 minute read

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What to Bring to College—The Ultimate Packing List

After the stress of submitting college applications and waiting for the results, an exciting task for preparing for college comes next: packing.

Of course, figuring out what to bring to college can cause some angst, but it’s also a liberating beginning to a brand-new chapter. Preparing for this new experience doesn’t have to be a struggle.

Here is a breakdown of things that college freshmen should plan on bringing with them.

School Supplies

Don’t be fooled into thinking that the only necessary supplies are a laptop and phone. Additional supplies can help students manage their college courses.

Even though phones and laptops have built-in calendars, having a physical planner is a good idea as well. Writing information down can help you remember it better , and it can be less distracting having school information in a physical planner, away from all those social media apps.

When it comes to taking notes, some professors don’t want everyone on their computers during class, and some don’t mind. It’s a good idea to have a notebook for each class just in case, along with pens, pencils, and highlighters.

Check the specific course requirements as well. The syllabus for each class should be available early enough to read through and see if the professor lists any required materials. If you’re taking a math class, for example, a specific type of calculator may be required.

Depending on how many books students have to lug around campus, they may want to invest in a nice backpack or messenger-style bag. The most suitable bag will also depend on students’ schedule, how long they’re on campus, and how many classes they have in a row.

It might be good to wait to choose this item after you’ve selected your courses and can see what each day is going to require.

Shower Supplies

Students who choose to live in the dorms will need to bring shower supplies with them. Sharing a bathroom is going to be another adjustment in starting college. There are a few must-haves for a comfortable experience.

Shower shoes are one of these musts. A cheap pair of flip-flops will do the trick. These are shoes that are worn only while taking a shower. What’s the deal? They help to prevent athlete’s foot, a fungal infection that can result from public showers. Just make sure to rinse and dry off the shoes after each use.

A shower caddy is another essential. Most students will likely be walking from the dorm room to the shower, so they’ll have to bring all shower supplies with them. A portable container makes this much easier.

The caddy will have room for your shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and so on, and some of them also come with hangers, so they could potentially be hung up in the shower. In choosing a shower caddy, look for one that is waterproof and has holes in it so it doesn’t fill up with water.

Last, don’t forget the towels. At home, there’s always a stack of clean towels ready to be used. This won’t be the case in the dorms.

In addition to towels, it might be handy to have a robe that can be thrown on while walking from the dorm room to the bathroom and back.

Wardrobe

Hopefully, students already have a solid array of clothes to choose from. If they’re moving out of state for college, they definitely should check what the weather will be like all year in their new home. If students are used to living in a place where the weather doesn’t change much, they’ll have to add clothing to their wardrobe that’s appropriate for each season.

Dressing for college is more fun than high school for many because there isn’t a dress code. This is a great time for students to explore how they like to express themselves through clothing.

Some college students opt to be comfortable, rocking sweatpants to lectures. Others who are looking to make a good impression on professors—or romantic interests—may dress accordingly.

Don’t Forget Shoes

College campuses are much bigger than most high schools, so investing in a good pair of walking shoes is important. Classes may end up being a solid 15- to 20-minute walk away from each other.

It’ll take a toll on a student’s mood and physical comfort if they try to handle that walk in heels, unsupported sandals, or ill-fitting shoes.

Shoes take up a lot of space while packing, so trying to bring just the necessary pairs is wise. If your college is in a state that will experience cold or snowy winters, make sure to invest in some warm boots.

Bedding and Room Necessities

What else do students need to bring to a college dorm? Most dorm rooms will come with a bed but not sheets. Pack a couple of sets of sheets and a nice comforter. Some college students also recommend bringing a mattress pad and backrest pillow because you may spend more time in that bed than expected.

As for the rest of the dorm room, here’s a dorm room essentials list to figure out what else to bring. It’s vital to look into the school’s list of restricted items so you know what you should not bring to college. The college may also list the furnishings that come with the room. Check out your school’s website first so you don’t buy something that’s already there.

It can also be helpful for students to contact their roommates ahead of time and see if they’re planning to bring anything that could be shared.

It’s not a bad idea to pack on the light side. Most things you need can be ordered online anyway, so that way students won’t waste money.

Planning how to make the most of the small space provided in a college dorm is going to be great practice for when students are ready to move into apartments.

The Takeaway

The packing list has been made and the shopping trip planned, so what’s next? Paying for everything. There are a lot of options for financing the entire college experience, and students can try to get help from more than one avenue if they need to.

Students seeking financial aid should look into scholarships and grants and then federal aid. If federal student loans do not cover the full need, or if a student is not eligible for federal aid, private loans may be an option.

Private loans are issued by private financial institutions. A co-signer is often necessary. Look for loans that don’t have origination fees and offer extra services like co-signer release and hardship deferment.

To learn more, here is a guide to private student loans. Be aware that all the aid given cannot add up to more than the cost of attendance.

Families that decide that a private loan could be useful can see what SoFi has to offer. SoFi private student loans come with competitive rates, flexible repayment options, and no origination fees, no late fees, and no insufficient-funds fees.

Interested in a SoFi Private Student Loan? Check your rate with ease.



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Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.
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