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What To Bring To College Dorm Freshman Year

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What To Bring To College

What to bring to college dorm freshman year

Real quick there are two things I want to explain.


1. * Ive marked items with an asterisk to indicate that I think its a better idea to get these things after moving into your dorm room.

Because those items are either

  • bulky to pack
  • might spill on your way there
  • may be prohibited by your college
  • you might not need it right away
  • its a shared item that you should touch bases with your roommate before buying
  • or its generally something thats better decided on after physically being in your new digs

2. If something is highlighted that just means that its an item that I wouldnt consider to be absolutely necessary or essential to college living.

They are nice to have, but theyre totally optional items to add to a college packing checklist. These items can make a dorm room more comfortable or make your life a little easier.

What To Consider When Packing Clothes For College

There are a lot of things to keep in mind when packing for college. Lets go through the most important things so you dont get caught without the important stuff. Not having what you need is a real pain, but dont fret. You can always buy what you need on campus or nearby!

How frequently will you travel home in college?

First, youll need to consider how frequently youll be going home. For me, in boarding school, I went home very few times a year. However, if you live pretty close to your campus you might find yourself going home for long weekends throughout the semester.

When I studied abroad, for example, I didnt go home for almost 6 months. That means I had to bring what I needed for several seasons or buy things along the way.

If youre going to be away from home until winter break, youll probably need to bring more clothing than if you plan to go home a few times before December. Remember, its always better to bring less than to bring too much! I know this sounds crazy and downright terrifying if this is your first time living away from home, but trust me! Youll likely buy more clothes once you get to campus, and you can always grab more clothes when you do eventually go home. Ive even had my parents mail me clothes from home before!

Whats the weather like?

I went to college in Florida, so I packed a lot differently than someone going to school in New York. Its important to keep in mind the climate and the time of year.

What will you be doing?

Dont Skimp On The Towels

Its a well-known fact that college students rarely maintain good laundry habits. You know what the problem is there are a million distractions. But you should always be prepared. Make sure you bring at least three bath towels with you. Unless you are okay with using an unused but poorly-cleaned one.

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Tips For Starting Your List

First of all, start with the list weve created here for you. It is a fully comprehensive list, so you can edit down based on your needs. Our list might also spark ideas for other items you may want to add, so start here and tweak it to make the perfect checklist just for you!

Check your college dorm or apartment rules for what kinds of things are allowed and what is explicitly forbidden. Examples may include pets, certain appliances, and making even temporary decor changes.

Make sure to check what is already included. New apartments sometimes come furnished, with kitchen appliances or basic furniture. Dorm rooms may include basic things such as a desk, chair, bed/mattress, and lamp.

Find out who your roommate or housemate is/are. Make a plan to meet them, either virtually or in person, to discuss similar interests, basic room rules, what each of you will be bringing.

Check with your program about specific items you may need for the program you are studying. You may need special software such as Adobe or Microsoft Office, or a headset for lectures.

Know your study preferences. Check in with yourself before making your desk checklist about what you need for studying, and what type of environment works best for you .

Find out what is already included. No need to buy double of anything!

Use what you already have. Remember you will likely only be studying for 9 months. Theres no need to buy all new things for only a portion of the year.

How To Fully Utilize Your Luggage Space

College Packing Checklist: What to Bring to your Dorm Room ...
  • Taking the time to thoroughly ponder on it will allow you to pack effectively and take less space in your tiny dorm room or off-campus apartment. Focus on rolling your wrinkle-resistant clothes instead of folding them. This way, you can fit more once you place the items of clothing inside the bag.
  • Stuff the nooks and crannies of your luggage with undergarments, like bras, socks, and underwear.
  • This is a guideline for the number of each article in an established wardrobe: 5 shirts, 4 bottoms, 3 casual tops, 2 pairs of shoes, and 1 dress or suit. It is important to adjust the list to your needs. Dont forget to add at least one bathing suit.

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The Ultimate College Packing List: 110 Must

College is an exciting and challenging time for many young adults. Whether you’re going far away or staying nearby, having the right supplies can make a huge difference in making college feel like home. Plus, remembering everything will save you those rushed last-minute trips to the store or waiting for your trash can to be delivered along with your month-long supply of popcorn and ramen.

Check out this college packing list to find out what to bring to college. Make sure to also get the ! But first, what is dorm life really like?

Going Out Outfits For College

Next, lets talk about what to wear when you go out. Whether youre heading to a party or dinner with your roommate, sometimes you want to dress up a bit. Here are my recommendations:

  • 1 Fancy dress Even if you have no plans, bring a nice dress. A good choice is a cocktail dress. You never know if youll be invited to an upscale event, so being prepared is key.
  • 2 Nice pants Nice pants might be an elevated pair of jeans or trendy slacks. Either way, make sure theyre something you can get a lot of wear out of.
  • 3 Nice tops You have a lot of options here. You might pick your favorite button-down, a crop top, or even just a cute blouse. Make sure its something you wear a lot!
  • 1 Blazer Last but not least, a blazer is important if you find yourself needing a professional outfit for a job fair, meeting, or interview.

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The Only Packing For College List Students Need

All the things essential things to bring to college. Including stuff thats nice to have, and what to NOT bring for freshman year.

There are endless articles offering advice on how to prepare teens for college. Not to mention a packing list for college in every color of the rainbow.


Most of these checklists are dated. The well meaning, but misguided information is often to the detriment of parents budgets.

Unnecessary items also overcrowd tiny dorm rooms and are likely to be tossed just to save space. What a waste!

Ultimately the wrong packing for college list isnt in the best interest of incoming college freshman.

To prepare for your teen for college the right way, I put together a packing list for college. It has all the right stuff needed to start the semester off on the right foot.

Theres a detailed checklist for both girls and guys.

Included is everything a new student could ever possibly think to bring with them. Dorm room essentials plus optional items, and even whats better left at home.

All the information is provided so you and your teen can make the most informed decision when its time for back-to-school shopping.

Better yet:

Both college packing lists are available for FREE download.


One word of caution make sure to know what things are prohibited by the college before buying anything. Its easy to check ahead of time by using the Bed, Bath, & Beyond tool to find that info for most schools.

Dont Pack Anything Thats Prohibited


The vast majority of college and student housing complexes have rules about what is and isnt allowed to be brought in. Unfortunately, things like your favorite candles, toaster, and yes, even string lights might be on the forbidden list. Before packing, please double-check what items are and are not allowed at that destination. That way, you wont accidentally pack something thats not permitted and have to throw it away.

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Dorm Room Essentials In : The Ultimate College Dorm Checklist

All products featured on Teen Vogue are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

After a year of studying virtually remembering all the dorm room essentials you need to cross off the list can be quite overwhelming. But that doesn’t mean it’s an impossible shopping task. Whether you’re moving back to your dorms or you’re still studying from home, over at Teen Vogue we’ve broken out the list of essentials into different categories, making your back-to-school shopping even easier.

However, its extremely important to note that different colleges have specific rules on what you can and cannot have in your room especially when it comes to kitchen supplies, extra furniture, and so definitely make sure to check your schools website before your RA confiscates that mini-fridge or that coffee maker during your first week of college.

Now, without further ado, scroll down to find the ultimate college checklist. From bed sets and desk lamps to face masks and backpacks, we’ve got you covered:

Dorm Essentials: A College Freshmans Checklist Of Everything Youll Need

Moving to a new town can be overwhelming the first time. What can you bring with you? What can you not bring with you? How are you going to transport all of your things there? If your house is close to your university, youll probably need to take at least two trips to help you move. However, if you live out of state, it can get a bit more complicated.

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What Not To Bring For Use In Your Room

Providence College takes fire safety seriously therefore, the use of the following items in traditional hall student rooms is not permitted: clothing irons, coffee makers with hot plates , and heated styling tools. These items can be used in common areas such as kitchens and bathroom.

The following prohibited items will be confiscated and disciplinary action will be taken if found in the residence halls:

  • Instruments or amplification devices producing excessive volume, including, but not limited to, subwoofers and speakers
  • Electric heaters/air conditioners
  • Select electrical lights, including tube and neon lighting, paper lights
  • Electric blankets
  • Multi-plug extension cords without surge protection
  • Homemade bed risers
  • Additional furniture
  • Real plants larger than 3 feet
  • Gasoline operated machinery

Note: students are encouraged to bring extenders with surge protection or 3-prong extension cords . All 3-prong multi-plugs must be surge protected.

Don’t: Bring Something That May Be Restricted

The Ultimate College Packing Checklist: What to Bring to ...

Mini fridges, microwaves, coffee makers, electric tea kettles, toasters and candles are often restricted, Cohen said. Each school shares a list of dorm-restricted items prior to students arriving on-campus. Take a look at what is on that list, as you dont want to bring items that are just going to be taken away or result in a fine for you if campus security comes by.

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Who knows where the power outlets will be located in your dorm, and who wants to crouch in a corner because your roommates using the outlet near the bed? A surge protector will give you plenty of power options, and, said Heffernan, one that has a USB port, too, will be a multitasking star.

Belkin outlet surge protector, $38.99 at

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Extras That Make College Better

Whether youre studying on campus or remotely this semester, these items can help make your life easier, more efficient, and comfortable during college. With these items, youll be prepared for whatever the semester throws your way, plus the list contains fun, practical items to help you personalize your space, like these Command hooks ! From weekend beach trips to yoga classes and beyond, check out these items that are curated to help you be ready for anything in college and have some fun along the way.

  • Command Large Picture Hanging Strips
  • Bathrobe
  • Tumbler/cup
  • Bathroom cleaning supplies
  • Scale

What To Pack For College: A Complete College Packing List

Now that you have some idea of what to bring, heres a complete college packing list to help you bring everything you need. The following items in our college packing list include the essentials and certain luxury items that might be worth bringing. However, its up to you to determine which items you can bring with you.

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Saving Money On Dorm Room Essentials

Many retailers have free shipping and other special savings for college students so read the fine print and take advantage of every offer. Your student may have to provide their .edu email address to be eligible which seems like a fair ask to unlock the savings.

Furnishing Of Your Room


Although you may share your room with one, two, or three roommates, each student is provided with his/her own furniture. Your room is equipped with a bed, desk, chair, and either a dresser or under-the-bed-storage unit . All furnishing requests must be e-mailed to The vinyl mattresses supplied in the residence halls require extra-long twin sheets . All college-supplied furniture must remain in the rooms at all times or a charge will be assessed to each student of the room. You will need to provide all other items for furnishing your room according to your own needs and preferences.

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Don’t: Go Bonkers With School Supplies

I spent $400 in the school supply aisle. I bought markers. I had a ruler in my bag. I bought a different notebook for each class. I wound up using one, said Amy Wheeler, a 2014 Wright State University grad. And I only needed the $90 calculator for one math class I took.

They never, ever did, says mom of two recent college grads Beth Greenwald, from New York City. Ditto under-bed storage and bed risers: Until you arrive, you wont know how that bed is configured.

Tupperware came in

handy to sneak food out of the dining hall, says Hamilton College rising sophomore Hallie Waletzko.

Kelsey Nixon Essentials storage set, $24.95 at

Dorm Room Essentials List: 12 Things Every Freshman Needs For College

The good news is your kid is GOING to college. The bad news is your kid is LEAVING for college. There may be a long list of things they WANT to buy, but here is the shortlist of the things that every college student needs to bring with themthe real dorm essentials. We have cut to the basics and listed only the 12 must-haves that they will truly need on day one.

In a few instances, we added extras for you to think about while shopping but have otherwise kept this college packing list deliberately short. Consider this a solid starting point and layer on the items that your college student knows they will use, not the myriad things that retailers and schools identify as Essentials. Besides, this is not 1990 and your student can easily order supplies and furnishings after theyve moved into their new space.

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How Should I Pack My Clothes For College

Its best to settle for enough clothing to get through one or two seasons at a time. When returning home for winter break or another occasion as the season changes, you can take some clothes back and exchange them for others. You may want to consider bringing some formal wear in the event of a job fair, networking opportunity, or a job interview. You can also start by packing some neutral-colored clothes to make coordination easier. If you exercise or use a gym, dont forget to bring some workout clothes.

Pro Tip:

If you know how to sew, bringing a small sewing kit can help you patch up clothes in an emergency.

Another way to make unpacking easier is to leave all your clothes on their hangers when youre packing. Once youre in your room, you will be able to simply remove them from the box and hang them in your closet. This also means you dont have to put hangers separately on your college packing list! If you dont have boxes that are big enough to hold your clothes and their hangers, you can use a large bag such as a garbage bag, with the hanger hooks poking out of the top. Using bags to carry clothing may also be best to keep dress shirts and slacks from creasing.

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