Use this checklist to make sure you have everything you need for your first year at college. These are just suggestions; you should adapt this list to suit your own situation.
To save packing or shipping, it might make sense to buy some of these items after you arrive. It might also make sense to pack for one season at a time and switch items when you go home during breaks.
- Copy of a photo identification such as a driver’s license.
- Copy of your social security card.
- Official high school transcript.
- SAT or other college approved test scores.
- Medical records including immunization records.
- Lots of underwear and socks.
- Clothes for sleeping/lounging. Pajamas. Leggings. Comfortable t-shirts/sweaters. …
- Workout clothing. Running shorts. Tank tops. Cropped leggings. …
- Going out clothes. Rompers. Dresses. …
- Jeans (only a few pairs)
- Shorts (only a few pairs)
- T-shirts/tank tops.
- Casual tops/blouses for class.
Packing for your first year at college doesn’t seem that daunting until you’re… packing for your first year at college.
Many of these things can be purchased at your school bookstore if you are moving long distance and need to minimize what you have to carry with you!
- Backpack or large tote bag
- Day planner
- Pens (blue, black, red)
- Multicolored tabs for note taking
- 3 hole punch
- Binders and binder paper/notebooks
- Index cards
- Sticky notes
- Laptop or desktop computer (though you can use the computer lab)
- Permanent markers
- Tape: scotch and duct tape
- Desktop organizer
It can be tempting to bring everything from your bedroom at home, but keep in mind you’re likely sharing space with your roommate.
- Desk lamp with an extra bulb
- Power strip
- Small fan for white noise and cooling you down
- Whiteboard or whiteboard wall decal (removable)
- Laundry basket or large bag – think about carrying it up and down stairs
- Clothes hanging rack for things that can’t be dried
- Clothes hangers for the closet
- Sheets, pillows and pillowcases, and blankets – check with your school to see if they need to be “dorm sized” or extra long, meaning regular twin sheets won’t work
- Mattress cover – ideally get one that covers the entire mattress, top and bottom
- Bed risers to create more space under the bed
- Under-bed storage totes with lids to keep out the dust
- Portable three-drawer storage — can be used at the desk or for all of your socks
- To go containers and Ziploc bags for bringing snacks along on those long days
- Water bottle
- Tea/coffee travel mug
Dorm rooms are notoriously bland, so you’ll want to bring some decorations to make it feel like home.
- Area rug
- Washi tape (better than wall putty!)
- Photos from home
- Twinkle light strands
Essential Roomie Stuff
Discuss these things with your future roommate – no need to double up!
- Mini fridge — communicate with your roommate to be sure you don’t end up with two!
- Electric kettle
- Water filter pitcher
- Microwave, if your school allows
- Shoe rack
- Two sets of plates, bowls, forks, and spoons for late night snacking
- A collection of starter snacks like crackers, granola bars, popcorn, peanut butter, instant oatmeal, and any other favorites. Don’t forget tea bags, too.
Don’t wait until Mom and Dad are coming to visit to keep your dorm room clean!
- Small handheld vacuum
- Disinfectant wipes
- Small trash can
- Paper towels
- All purpose surface spray
- Laundry detergent and dryer sheets
- Stain stick
- Electronics wipes for your computer or laptop
Communal bathrooms may be a first for you — here’s a survival list for how to handle them in style.
- Plastic (washable) shower caddy
- Shower flip-flops
- Your favorite bath products – consider using liquid body soap instead of a bar for ease of carrying and storing, and make sure to find a place for your caddy where it can dry out during the day. Nobody likes bacteria growing in their razor.
- Two towels and two face cloths, for when one really needs to get washed.
Other Essential Items
All necessary insurance cards (health, dental, travel) and IDs (bring your passport, you never know when you’ll need it!)
- Gym bag
- Computer lock
- Bicycle, bike lock, and helmet
- Personal care necessities: soap and shampoo, flip-flops, toothpaste and toothbrush, deodorant, hair products, and cosmetics
- School stuff: pens and pencils, notebooks, sticky notes and highlighters
- Medications: headache pills, cold and flu medicine and first aid kit
Paper Products and Cleaning Supplies
- Toilet paper
- Paper towels
- Garbage bags
- Freezer bags
- Laundry soap
- Fabric softener
- Dishwasher soap
- Dishwashing liquid
- Window cleaner
- All-purpose cleaner
- Floor cleaner (wood-specific for those nice wood floors!)
- Cleaning sponges
- Chicken, beef, or vegetable broth
- Canned tomatoes
- Pasta sauce
- Whole oats
- Hot cocoa
- Lentils and other dried or canned beans
- Snacks like pretzels, chips and salsa, granola bars, etc.
- Olive oil, sesame oil, coconut oil
Condiments and Sauces
- Salad dressings
- Maple Syrup
- Worcestershire sauce
- Soy sauce or Tamari
- Steak sauce
- Mayo or Miracle Whip
- Peanut or Almond Butter
- BBQ sauce
- Vinegar (Apple Cider, Balsamic, White, Red/White Wine)
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
. Keep yourself healthy with:
- Spinach (or other greens)
In most cases, you will likely be bringing all your personal care items with you. However, if you are starting from scratch, you will want to include:
- Bath and hand soap
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Fresh toothbrush and toothpaste
- Cotton swabs and balls
- Facial cleaner
- Feminine products
- Shaving cream
- Lip balm