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Student Life

Essential College Packing List


We created our Essential College Packing List knowing that you don't want to waste a precious minute this summer on anything that isn't important. Your student can be sure to have what they need on day one, and you can rest easy knowing they’re comfy in their new campus home.

Essential College Packing List:

Bed and Bath Items for Residence Life

  Extra-long twin sheets (2 sets)



  Allergen-free mattress pad

  2 standard + a bedrest/reading pillow if your student likes to read in bed

  Towels (1-2 sets)

  Shower caddy

Personal Items to Bring to College


  Contact lenses or spare pair of glasses

  Earplugs and sleeping mask if your student is a light sleeper


  Water bottle

  Travel mug

  Framed photos from home


  First aid kit

School Supplies and Electronics





  Long extension cord

  Power strip

  Backup hard drive and flash drives

  Adaptors and chargers

  Basic office supplies

  Backpack or messenger bag

Clothing for College

  1-2 weeks worth of basics plus clothes for when the season changes


  Shower shoes

  Outerwear/rain gear

  Workout/athletic wear


  Extra socks and underwear

  1 professional/semiformal outfit

  Accessories (belts, scarves, ties)


  Handheld clothing steamer

Housekeeping Items for the Dorm Room

  Basic cleaning and laundry supplies (Clorox/Lysol wipes, laundry detergent pods)

  Hangers and over-the-door racks

  Small tool kit

  Sewing kit

  Wall hooks and approved adhesive

  Laundry bag or pop-up basket with handles

  Ziploc® bags

  Flashlight with extra batteries

Bring Important Documents!

  Driver’s license and passport

  Bank information

  Healthcare information (including HIPPA release form)

  Emergency contact form

Download a printable version of the College Packing Checklist, and see below for more packing/move-in day tips!

College Packing Checklist for Move-in Day

Before you shop, visit the college's Residence Life webpage to find:

  • What furnishings are included in the room
  • List of recommended items to bring
  • List of prohibited items
  • Room specs/rules for bed lofting
  • Availability of mini fridges
  • Laundry machine info (will your student use coins or their student ID to pay?)

Many newer residence halls have generous built-in shelving and storage spaces. Some schools provide bed lofting kits upon request; others permit risers. There may be a shared kitchen on the floor which means your student doesn’t need appliances of their own.

Wait until you see the room to decide if your student will need:

  • Area rug
  • Fan
  • Extra lighting
  • Desktop organizers
  • Plastic bowl, mug, spoon, etc.
  • Appliances like a coffee maker, electric kettle, or microwave
  • Waste basket
Returning students recommend leaving printers at home. Most work is submitted electronically and when needed, printing can be done in the campus library and computer centers.
Customize your shopping/packing game plan depending on whether you will drive or fly, and how much time you expect to have on campus. For our unabridged advice about shopping, packing and move-in, see "Dorm Shopping Tips for Parents" and "Here Comes Move-In Day!"
CollegiateParent supports you on your own personal journey during your student's college years. We answer questions, share stories and connect you to life on campus. Reach out to us at any time!
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