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College move-in will be coming soon for many new and returning students. You will probably receive a checklist of the items you’ll need to bring to campus, such as bedding, a shower tote, and school supplies. While the housing office will do a good job of listing all of the items you need to bring to campus, they may leave off a few items. Below are some items to not forget to include on your college shopping list.
- Extra-long twin sheets. This will probably be on the list, but you might miss it. Most colleges have extra-long twin mattresses in the dorm rooms and this will probably be in the paperwork you receive from the housing office. Unfortunately, many students don’t read through the paperwork carefully and bring regular twin-sized sheets to campus and find that they are either too tight or won’t fit at all. If your college provides extra-long mattresses, make sure to bring a set (or two) of extra-long sheets.*
- Mattress pad or topper. The mattresses provided by colleges are typically uncomfortable. Many of the mattresses are plastic and have many springs. You need your sleep and having a comfortable bed will help you sleep better. Think about adding a nice mattress pad or topper* to your list to make it a little more comfortable.
- Small fan. Find out if your college has air conditioning in the rooms. Some college dorm rooms do not have air conditioning if they are older and/or in an area of the country that typically is not very hot during the school year. However, you will be moving in right at the end of summer when it may get a little hot. A small fan* may provide a little relief when air conditioning is not available.
- Surge protector. Protect all of your electrical devices with a surge protector that has multiple outlets. It may also be worth it to find a surge protector with USB ports* to save space when charging your electronic devices. Try to also find one with an extra-long cord in case the electrical outlets are in inconvenient places in the room.
- Reusable water bottles. Staying hydrated is important and you never know when you’ll make it back to your room during the day. Take your reusable bottle* when leaving to ensure you always have water. Fill them up at the dining hall or at one of the “hydration stations” many colleges are installing on their campuses.
- First aid kit. A first aid kit* is great to have around if you get a minor cut or scrap. You can create your own kit, or pick one up that is pre-made.
- Common medication. In addition to your first-aid kit, make sure you’re ready for common ailments such as headaches or the common cold. Stock up on pain relievers, cold medicine, cough drops, and other things you think you may need while away from home.
- Mini-vacuum. Many residence halls have full-sized vacuums you can check out. However, checkout could be inconvenient if you have to wait until your resident advisor is available (they’re students too and are not always in their rooms) or if you have to go to the front desk. Plus, you don’t always need a big vacuum. A mini-vacuum* is great for small messes.
- Tool kit. You might need a screwdriver or wrench at some time while living in the residence hall. Simple tool kits* have everything you need and are very compact.
- Sewing kit. A button may fall off your favorite shirt while away at college. Instead of throwing the shirt out, or wearing it with a missing button, sew it back within minutes. A sewing kit* is very compact and will have everything you need to fix simple clothing mishaps.
- Shower shoes. Unfortunately, residence hall showers are breeding grounds for fungus and bacteria no matter how often they are cleaned. Shower shoes* or simple flip-flops are a great way to protect your feet while showering.
- Personalize your space without damage. It is important to decorate your room so that it feels like home. However, nails and other items that can damage the wall are not allowed. Therefore, pick up some strips* or hooks* that will hold your items in place but will not cause damage.
- Social security card. If you think you may get a job while at college, you will need to provide your future employer with your social security card. Without your social security card, employment may be delayed until your card arrives from home.
- Health Insurance Information. Sickness is bound to happen sometime during your time in college. Having health insurance information available when visiting the doctor will save money.
Many stores, such as Bed Bath and Beyond, will also have college shopping lists. However, you may find that many of the items are not necessary. For example, a study lamp is on the list but many colleges provide a study lamp in the dorm room. Go to college with the items you know you’ll need for sure and add items later only if you need them. You may want to consider getting a Prime Student* membership with Amazon. Traveling to a store to get items you need may be difficult, especially if you don’t have a car on campus. Amazon.com makes it easy to get everything you need and the Prime Student membership will get you your items within two-days (textbooks are sometimes cheaper on Amazon than the bookstore). You can get a free 6-month trial of Prime Student when you sign up and you can cancel anytime.
Good luck as you head off to college!