What to Bring to Your Freshman Year of College

What to Bring to Your Freshman Year of College

It’s that time of year again — back to school season! Except, if you’re on this post, it’s not just any fall — it’s your first year of college!! (WHOOO!)

Or maybe you’re a concerned parent for your college-bound one?

Either way, you’re in good hands because I was in your exact spot! I’m the first in my family to get into college (and now, graduated from college), so I had to do a lot of this research and prep myself and I’m excited to share what I brought to prep for my first year and what I wish I had gotten after living through the whole dorm experience! Listed below, I’ve split my list of things to get into various “need” levels, starting with the not so obvious.

Things to bring that you may not have considered

  • Extension cords
  • Power strips
  • Outlet wall tap/extender – adds 2-3 extra outlets, great for top bunks where power strips would be too heavy to hang off wall
  • Bedside organizer – I lived in the top bunk my freshman year and this organizer was so helpful. I put my glasses and cellphone here and before I went to sleep, I would fill up my water bottle and leave it in this organizer. Because once I got up to my bunk, I got way too comfy (read: lazy) to climb back down haha. 
  • Reusable water bottle – Some common brands on campus: hydroflask, swell, etc. There are also a lot of cheap alternatives, like this one from Amazon. Praisella has this bottle in Sweet Taffy which is this pink blue ombre color and she loves how cool it keeps her water and of course, how cute it is.
  • Lanyard for keys
  • ID case or ID wallet case for student ID (and can attach to lanyard)
  • Mini Fan 
  • Mirror – cosmetic mirror and/or wall mirror if your room doesn’t have one
  • Ear plugs
  • Closet organizer
  • Shower slippers
  • Cold medicine – At least two bottles/packs because you will DEFINITELY get sick your first year and you’ll be sharing a lot of it with your dorm-mates/room-mates. It’s an easy way to make friends! I usually go to Costco for the 2 pack.
  • First aid kit – or at least some bandaids, Neosporin and Q-tips
  • Desk lamp (if dorm doesn’t provide any)
  • Sunscreen
  • Tupperware – The residence halls/school usually hosts events with free food. And that means food you can take back to your dorm 😉 Leftovers makes for great late night study snacks.
  • Mug/cup
  • Command hooks 
  • Lotion – I stick to Cetaphil for my moisturizing needs. It’s nothing special but it does what it’s supposed to do without any extra scents and works for sensitive skin. Plus you can a good amount for a low cost. 
  • Pads/tampons

BASICS — Things you NEED need

  • Bath towel
  • Toothbrush – I suck at remembering to floss so my mom got me an electric toothbrush for my first year. One unexpected pro — this buzzing of the toothbrush helps wake me up in the morning! 

  • Toothpaste
  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Body wash
  • Comb/hairbrush
  • Deodorant
  • Laundry basket/bag
  • Bedsheets – For my college dorm and I believe most dorms, the bed sizes are Twin XL so make sure you select the right size! If you’re the type of person who likes to feel your bedsheets before you buy them, I also love the T-shirt jersey bedsheets from Target, they’re super comfy.
  • Pillow
  • Blanket
  • Hangers – If you have the budget, I would highly recommend getting velvet hangers over plastic ones. Velvet hangers are flatter, which allow you to pack in my clothes in your closet and the velvet texture prevents the clothes from slipping off the hangers.

Nice to have

  • White board (studying, writing reminders)
  • Eye mask for sleeping (when roommates study in the room at night and use their desk lamps)
  • Picnic blanket (grass or beach) 
  • Pocket tissues
  • Vitamins (I like the Kirkland Vitamin C tablets from Costco)
  • Swimsuit
  • Mini-fridge (there should be rental companies who partner with the school)

Study Tools

  • Post-its
  • Pencils
  • Pens
  • Highlighters
  • Folders
  • Paper
  • Notebooks
  • If you can afford it or already have it: a tablet (easy and lighter to carry around than a laptop, great to read e-books or pdfs with)

Hope this helps and don’t fret if you forgot something on this list and it’s the night before you move (does that sound scarily accurate because that totally didn’t happen to me..). You can always pick essentials up from the campus store or a retailer nearby your school. And if anything, there’s always Amazon (bless their two day shipping). Most importantly — have fun and ENJOY your first year!! You’re going to make a lot of great memories and new people and it’s going to be all kinds of fun! 🙂 


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