What should I pack for college academics, social, and dorm life? What do most students forget?

College Prep

Our counselors answered:

What should I pack for college academics, social, and dorm life? What do most students forget?

Tyler Burton
President Burton College Tours

Wait until you get there!

The best approach to outfitting your dorm is to wait until you arrive to make any purchases. You can always order online from your dorm or budget for a cab ride to Target. If you are going home for Thanksgiving wait to bring the bulk of your winter clothes. Take home most of your summer clothes at winter break and to a swap. Repeat in the spring. Be aware of airline baggage fees and consider third class mail for shipping.

Nina Berler
Founder unCommon Apps

What to Pack

Packing is fun for many, but it can be nerve wracking as well. It's always interesting to see dorms on move-in day, when some students are comfortable and organized, while others look like they've packed for all four years away from home. Start with your most important items. For most students these days, that means a laptop, phone and debit card. Bedding is also important, so be sure to have linens with you or awaiting your arrival on campus. Depending on where you go to school and how far you are from home, you'll have to make some decisions. For example, if there are extremes in weather, make sure you'll have access to cold weather gear on time. If you'll be home for Thanksgiving, that might be a good time to pick up more boots and sweaters. Students can really burn through a budget with clothing purchases, so be careful with your spending. You might need one dressy outfit, but may not be more unless you're involved in many social functions. I remember going out to get a blazer for my son, only to have him leave it at home. (I wound up sending it Federal Express!) If your parents plan to come to campus in the fall or spring, remember that they can bring down extra clothes or blankets as well as take away others so that you're not too burdened when it's time to move out of the dorm. I often hear that girls overpack for college, yet I also recall seeing dads at the bookstore purchasing full-length mirrors. So if you're the type who likes dorm-room amenities, check with your roommates about who is bringing what. It's likely that storage is at a premium. By your sophomore year, you'll have a much better feel for what you really need. You'll also know more about where you'll be living and if kitchen items or flat-panel screens really need to be hauled in from home.

Helen Cella

What should I pack for college academics, social, and dorm life? What do most students forget?

Bring a computer, printer, paper, notebooks, pens a calculator. Xl bedding, bathroom caddy, lots of hangers and storage for under your bed. An alarm clock! Most students forget a touchstone from home, like a family picture.

Pamela Hampton-Garland
Owner Scholar Bound

What should I pack for college academics, social, and dorm life? What do most students forget?

The items are too numerous to spell out, however if you ask the same question in a search engine it will give you a common check off sheet. Apologies for not being more specific.

Reecy Aresty
College Admissions/Financial Aid Expert & Author Payless For College, Inc.

What should I pack for college academics, social, and dorm life? What do most students forget?

Since most reference info can be found on the Internet, it limits what books a student will need, however a pocket dictionary is always useful & 1 in another language as well. Everybody forgets something, there's no 1 thing that most kids forget - maybe a first aid kit. Bring enough writing materials, stapler & remover, scotch tape, stickies, paper clips, staples, note pads, etc. These can be expensive at the book store.

Laura O'Brien Gatzionis
Founder Educational Advisory Services

What should I pack for college academics, social, and dorm life? What do most students forget?

Many colleges have a shuttle bus to the neighborhood mega store -- and you can easily find all your dorm needs there. If you are arriving from overseas or even from within the US by airplane, it will probably be easiest to make a couple of supply runs to the shops. However, do bring basic supplies with you--your computer and favorite clothing and something to personalize your dorm room. Research the typical weather for your new location and do not forget that while it may be summertime when you arrive that the weather will soon turn to the chillier autumnal season!

Whitney Bruce
Independent College Counselor Accpeted.com

The best thing to take to college is an open mind...

You can’t borrow or buy an open mind, but it will serve you well in your transition to college.  Your college roommate is likely to be someone with whom you share a similar living style, not necessarily your best friend.  As you begin your college experience and learn to live with a new group of people, allow room for differences of many kinds, and learn from them.  Bring an open mind and your best communication skills with you as you make the transition to residence hall life.

Todd Johnson
Founder College Admissions Partners

Ship it don't pack it...

If you are moving any distance away to college, you will probably have limited space to take all of your belongings. The solution? Ship easy to pack items like clothing.  By shipping you know that the items will be available to you when you arrive on campus and you don’t have to worry how you are going to fit everything into your suitcase. For bulky items like bedding, think about buying those items in stores close to campus so pick them up once you arrive.

Susie Watts
College Consultant College Direction

Unusual essentials to pack for college...

Extra-long sheets, alarm, and shower flip-flops are obvious things you need for college.  Some other essentials you might consider unusual but are just as important: basic tool set, regular and Phillips screw driver, small hammer, nails, duct tape, power strip and surge protection, hard drive key chain, can opener, message board for dorm door, Poster putty to hang things on the walls, and basic first-aid kit to take care of minor injuries. Check with your roommate to see what you can share.

Steve Thomas
Director of Admissions Colby College

Plan with your roommate and get off on a good start...

Pack some unbridled energy, unparalleled curiosity, acute sense of adventure and a fresh excitement for new experiences as you head to college this fall!  Some of the practical things to bring or buy, room refrigerators, stereos, printers et al, can be shared with your roommate.  It's important to speak with your roommate prior to arriving in order to have a cooperative plan about this.  Bring and present a welcoming attitude as you meet your new roommate.  Nothing will make your year go so smoothly as getting off on the right foot with your roommate.  Bean bag chairs are a must!