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The Top 10 Things No One Told You to Bring to College

Packing for college can seem like a pretty daunting task, especially if you’re a girl. Managing to fit your CDs, movies, books and shoes—not to mention your entire wardrobe—into one vehicle is impressive and very time-consuming. But after you’ve stuffed your life into neat little boxes and bags and you start unpacking at school, you’ll realize that there were a few important things that you forgot to pack.

That’s where we come in! This handy checklist will help you to be the most prepared person on your hall, or maybe even in your entire dorm! Read on to discover the Top 10 Things No One Told You to Bring to College. You won’t want to forget these important (but often forgotten) items!

1. A Safe– this may sound ridiculous, but senior UK student Shannon Springer said that it could be necessary—especially if you’re randomly placed with a klepto roommate. “My friend had a safe with a key, because she and her roommate didn’t get along, and her roommate actually admitted to stealing some of her things,” she explained. If you’re rooming with a friend, then you should be safe (no pun intended) . If not, better bring a lock! You don’t want your stuff mysteriously disappearing behind your back! (Cost: about $30.51)

2. A Panini Grill– Sophomore Elon student Maddy Carretero said she couldn’t live without her panini grill in her dorm room! “It’s the BEST THING you could possibly bring with you. It came in handy so many times!” she said. Maddy lived a good distance from main campus, so she found it really beneficial to have something in her room that she could use to make her own food when the walk just didn’t seem worth it. So if you know that you’re going to be living far away from food or from campus, then be sure to bring a Panini grill with you! You won’t regret it! Also, be sure to have some bread, lunchmeat and cheese in your room for some homemade hot sandwiches! (Cost: about $35.99)

3. Earplugs and a sleeping mask– You will no longer have your own room—better get used to this idea now. You will be sharing a room with another person. Another person who might snore, talk in her sleep, watch TV all night long or listen to extremely loud music. Senior University of Pittsburgh student Emily Grant suggests bringing a sleeping mask. “I ended up using one of those (sleeping masks) to block out light since my roommate didn’t go to sleep at the same time,” she said. You might even end up sharing a room with more than one person at some point.  For example, Maddy Carretero lived in a suite with seven other girls. She found earplugs essential to her living situation. “I regretted not bringing earplugs (because of) my sexually active suitemates,” she said. Even if you don’t think this will happen to you, there’s always the chance that it will—or that your roommates will listen to really loud music. Better to be safe than sorry! Pack a pair of earplugs for sure. (Cost: about $4)

4. Cheap snacks– Having snacks for yourself in your room is a no-brainer. But you don’t want to waste the good stuff on all of the visitors that will end up hanging out in your room. Here’s where the cheap snacks come in: stock up on low-priced snack food that comes in bulk so you have some snacks to offer to your guests without worrying about them plowing through your secret stash! Senior Susquehanna student Holly Belkot recommends stocking up on Freeze-Pops. “You know those childhood popsicles that are really just juice in plastic? They are cheap and they come in packs of like 50. They are great for having people in your room (when) you don’t want them eating your real food,” she suggests.

5. Your receipt to Bed, Bath & Beyond– If you’re traveling a long way to school, then Bed, Bath & Beyond will be your new best friend. They offer a really awesome service called Pack & Hold. This service allows you to order all of your dorm room essentials online and have it all shipped to a Bed, Bath & Beyond near your school so that you can pick it all up once you’re all settled into your dorm room! It’s pretty simple: all you have to do is place your order and indicate your dorm room address and the date you’ll need your items to be shipped. The other really great thing about this service is that you don’t have to pay for your order until you’ve picked it up at the store. So if you decide that you don’t actually need something that you ordered, no problem! You don’t have to buy it unless you need it.

6. A Brita filter– Sure, you may have a sink in your room that delivers an endless supply of water, but do you really want to drink that? Depending on how long your dorm has been standing, I’d say probably not. That’s why you should definitely invest in a Brita filter. It’s worth the 20-something bucks to have nice, clean drinking water on hand at all times. And it’s way cheaper than buying bottled water twice a day! Senior Kentucky student Shannon Springer swears by it. “It’s quick and easy to have a Brita filter in your room,” she said. “And who wouldn’t love to save some money?” We wouldn’t mind, that’s for sure! Nalgene bottles are also great to carry water around with you from class to class. (Cost of Nalgene bottle: about $10; Cost of Brita filter: about $20)

7. Rain gear- It doesn’t matter if you’re going to school in Florida or Pennsylvania—it will rain. And you will have to walk a mile across campus in the rain to your morning class. And if you don’t have rain boots or an umbrella, you will be one wet and unhappy chick. So trust me, it’s worth it to invest in a pair of rain boots, a rain jacket and an umbrella. You’ll be happy that you did.

8. Quarters– You will be doing a lot of laundry in college. And you’ll run out of quarters much quicker than you think. So I’d suggest bringing a few rolls of quarters that will at least last you until Thanksgiving break. Then you can go home and get mom and dad to fill up your rolls with some more quarters. Because trust me, you’ll be needing them.

9. A flash drive and a hard drive– If you think you had a lot of papers due in high school, then be prepared to write that times five in college. You’ll probably be writing a paper a week—depending on your major, of course. But even if you aren’t writing papers, you’ll be working on projects, labs and PowerPoint presentations. You’ll be working on different computers in different buildings. Instead of emailing every document to yourself, invest in a flash drive. It’s small enough that you can stash it in your purse, and you’ll never miss turning in an assignment with your handy dandy flash drive on-hand. [Cost of a flash drive: $6.00!]

You might also want to invest in a hard drive. You can back up your laptop by putting all of your files from your laptop onto a hard drive. That way, if your laptop inexplicably crashes at some point during the year, you won’t lose all of your files! (Cost: about $115—but if your laptop crashes: priceless)

10. Plastic ware, dishes, cups– For the first few weeks of school, you’ll be eating out at different places all around campus, and you won’t think you’ll be needing any utensils, plates or bowls in your dorm room. But after the initial excitement wears off, you’ll be eating in your dorm a lot more. You’ll spend countless nights ordering Chinese takeout and eating with your hallmates until the wee hours while you all cram and try to finish papers at the last minute. And then you’ll be wishing you had some forks to eat with and some cups to drink out of! If you or your roommate joins a sorority, you’ll have an endless supply of cups to drink out of once you live in the sorority house. But until then, be sure to pack a few plastic cups and some utensils. They’ll come in handy!  

For a really helpful, practical and basic checklist of what to bring with you to college, print out this one from Bed, Bath and Beyond!



Shannon Springer, University of Kentucky

Maddy Carretero, Elon University

Emily Grant, University of Pittsburgh

Holly Belkot, Susquehanna University

Gabriela Szewcow is a freshman Print and Online Journalism major at Elon University in North Carolina. She is originally from Pittsburgh, PA. She is the Design Chief of Elon University’s award-winning newspaper, The Pendulum. She is also a designer for Elon’s yearbook and has a weekly radio show. She is a Spanish minor and hopes to study abroad in Spain sometime during her next three years at Elon. Some of her favorite things include York Peppermint Patties, Jane Austen novels, anything involving Hello Kitty and The Morning Benders. She hopes to someday be a page designer for a newspaper or magazine.
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