The Ultimate College Necessities List
OK, that time is approaching. The college countdown is on, and it takes a lot to prepare for the start of your freshman year. One of the most important (and exciting things) is choosing (and buying) what to bring. In this article, I not only give you (what I find to be) a more broad, more flexible list than Keuka will send you, or what else you might find on the internet, but I also give you strategies and lessons I have learned so that you might be able to save some money, not come with too little (or too much!), and be able to transport your stuff without too much hassle.
So fist I took Keuka’s list, and I coded it. Most things are legitimate needs, but some of them are unnecessary expenses that you don’t need. In my opinion, there are also a lot of gaps; however, anything that is italicized is unnecessary, and anything that is bolded is super important (at least in my experience). Got it?
This is really important; do not overlook it!
This is not mandatory, merely auxiliary, and in many cases, you are better off without it.
Keuka College Suggests…
- Throw rug
- Telephone (I only know of one person who has a dorm phone… hello cellphones!)
- Stereo/radio (most people use their ipod or pandora, but nice computer speakers are good)
- Notebooks (self explanitory)
- Snack food
- Small refrigerator
- Surge protectors (later, power strips with built in surge protectors are listed; don’t be redundant)
- Stapler (whenever you print something that needs to be stapled, you will be at the library where they have a stapler)
- Window fan/box fan (the rooms can get pretty stuffy)
- Memo board
- Cable-ready TV (the lounges have TV, and your friends probably will too)
- Desk lamp
- Laundry basket (a place to keep your dirty clothes is a good idea)
- Laundry detergent
- Power strips with built in surge protectors
- First-aid supplies
- Shower bucket
- Plants (I don’t know any college student who would regularly remember to water these things, myself included)
- Pens/pencils (LOTS)
- Alarm clock
- Clothes hangers
- Iron/ironing board (I do not know a single person who uses this; mine was a waste of money)
- Shower shoes/flip flops (this isn’t a choice with community bathrooms)
- Small microwave
And Keuka College Forbids…
- Halogen lamps
- Holiday lights
- Answering machines
- Space heaters
- Hot plates
- Toaster oven/toaster
- Air conditioners
- Coffee pots (except those with automatic shut off)
- Pets (except fish in a tank of 20 gallons or less)
- Extension cords
OK, now that we’ve gone through the initial list, let’s take a look at my list, which has tips and explanations and is categorized by school supplies, electronics, dorm supplies (personal v. shared), clothing/hygiene, fun, and other.
Note Taking Tips:
If you are used to teachers telling you, or at least suggesting to you, which supplies to use, you won’t have that in college. But don’t sweat it. Some classes require a lot of note taking, and others are more discussion and project based. The easiest thing to do is to buy a bunch of loose-leaf lined paper (that you can keep reusing semester after semester), two or three 1 1/2″ binders, some dividers, and a couple folders with labeled pockets for each class. Furthermore, in many cases, you will be required to bring your books to class, so, to make room in your backpack, put all your class notes for that day in one larger binder with dividers (i.e. one for Tuesday/Thursday classes and another for Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes). This has worked best for me, and these materials are also very flexible so you can feel out which classes you will need more paper in and which classes you won’t.
If you have a problem taking notes, but need them for a lecture course, Keuka’s A.S.K. office offers note taking assistance.
And if you are fine with black and white printing, don’t get a printer. Ink is expensive, and most college libraries let students print for free (copies may cost extra; at Keuka, it’s 5¢ a page).
- 2 1.5″ Binders
- 10 folders (for classes and projects; bookstore folders are overpriced)
- LOTS of loose-leaf paper (start with at least 3 packs)
- 5-10 Dividers
- PENS. (they will disappear like mad, so buy a couple large packs of cheap ones)
- A pack of hilighters. (these will especially come in handy for your freshmen composition classes)
- A couple sharpies/markers/colored pencils (for all of those fun projects you might do)
- Construction paper (again, for projects or door decoration)
- 10 packs of Post-it Tabs (perfect for marking important passages in books; plus, you want a big supply, so you don’t run out too quickly)
- Post-it notes (excellent for reminders and organizing research etc.)
- A file box with file folders (not necessary, but a GREAT way of keeping stuff organized)
- A calculator (even non-majors must take at least one math course)
- Paper clips (for all the articles you print that are too fat for staples)
- Notecards (presentations, flash cards, little nots to put in your books if you don’t want to write in them… the possibilities are limitless and similar to post-it notes)
- A backpack (you may prefer a bookbag, but if you’re like me and feel weighed down by your books all day, a backpack, worn with both straps, is a good idea… no worries, you won’t look nerdy)
Yes, I don’t think I need to persuade you more. A simple list will do.
- Flashdrive (the keychain ones are great and so much harder to lose)
- Laptop (the library is not open 24/7, especially not on weekends)
- Power strips with built in surge protectors
- Camera and supplies (keep this stuff all in one drawer or box)
- iPod/similar device and speakers (people in Ball and Harrington like to blast cool msic out of their windows on nice days when poeple are going to and from class. it’s pretty sweet)
- Cell phone
- TV (if you must have one, make it small because you won’t have too much room for it, especially if you get a triple, and as a college student, you will most likely be spending money on other things)
Dorm Supplies (Personal v. Shared)
The college strongly urges you to talk with your roomies (once you get their information) about who wants to bring what. It’s a really good idea. I did it, and it was great knowing everyone was on the same page.
- Rug/Carpet (it helps to know the room measurements between the beds so you don’t have to go to a lot of trouble putting the carpet under your beds)
- TV/DVD player (if you don’t want to use your computer)
- Vacuum (you can get mini ones, space efficient and good at keeping your space neat)
- Coffee-maker (only automatic shut off)
For some of you, this may be the funnest (yes, this is a common vernacular word) part about moving in. My advice? Bring lots of egg crates to store stuff under your bed (and to pack them in), and try not to pack too much. You don’t have to go with the bare minimum, but I wouldn’t suggest taking everything. Trust me. The less stuff, the cleaner your room stays, and the less of a hassle you’ll have moving it back and forth.
- Egg crates (they can be book shelves, hold school supplies, DVD’s, dirty laundry, toiletries, you name it)
- Alarm clock (or just use your phone, and charge it at night)
- Waste bin (this could be shared too)
- Garbage bags (they can carry stuff, they can be laundry bags, they can be whatever)
- Storage ottomans (extra storage, extra seating? yes please)
- Foam mattress pads
- Pillows/bedding (check with your college if you need extra long dorm sheets)
- Bedside caddy (especially helpful for bunk beds)
- Lamps (1 desk one and 1 clip on one)
- Dishes and dish soap (you know what you’re going to need to use, based on how much you like to cook etc. and if you’re really lazy with buying dish soap, just use the handsoap available in the dorm kitchens… it works fine, trust me)
- Hamper/laundry bag
- Laundry stuff (just cleaning stuff, no quarters needed at Keuka!)
- Food (you know what you like, but if you’re an early riser on weekends, bring milk and cereal… the cafeteria does not open till 11 AM on weekends)
- Sticky tack (so you don’t mark up your walls with tape and pushpin holes and get charged for dorm damage)
- Posters (or you can buy them during Keuka’s transition week)
- Photos (the dorms have shelves, so framed photos will work too)
- Mirrors (buy the kind that you can hang from your wardrobe door)
- Bulliten and dry erase boards (dry erase are also good for leaving messages on your door)
You don’t need everything, especially since laundry is free here. You get three dressers and two wardrobes if you are tripled in Davis, and two dressers and two wardrobes in Space or Saunders.
- T’s (at Keuka, you get a lot of free shirts and fundraiser shirts, so leave enough room for you collection to grow)
- Comfy pants/sweats/PJ pants (a campus fashion favorite)
- Dress clothes (at least one pair of nice pants and one or two nice shirts for class presentations, etc.)
- Shoes (everyday, sneakers solely for the gym, SHOWER SHOES, and dress shoes)
- Shorts (you can put them away when it gets cold and pull them out again in the spring)
- Other tops
- Bathrobe (vital in communal bathrooms)
- One winter jacket
Just a helpful list in case you might forget anything. I included welleness and beauty supplies.
- Any drugs you need
- Cough drops
- Shower caddy
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Body and face wash
- Lotion and/or facial moisturizer
- Toothpaste and toothbrush
- Nail clippers
- Razor and shaving cream
- Body spray/perfume
- Jewelry (with a nice storage container)
- Lufa/wash cloth
- Cotton swabs
You may hear otherwise, but this is a necessity. =]
- Frisbee/sports equipment
- Cards (playing, apples to apples, uno)
- Popular board games
- Art/Craft/Hobby supplies (crayons, paint, knitting, etc)
- Musical instruments (we have quite a few acoustic guitar players on campus…)
Personal documents for your first campus work-study, and other random things that I can think of…
- Wallet, purse, etc.
- Documents, liscense, a Tops card (we have one in Penn Yan)
- A friendly attitude and a gracious smile for making new friends!
Overall, I hope this list has covered enough and served as a more today, relevant list for your packing and buying needs.
Pack things in as many collaspable boxes and recyclable bags as possible!
- Wait till after your graduation party; you should get some good money.
- Garage sales are great!
- Walmart may have a lot of cool stuff, but still compare prices.
- Take what you already have!