Off to Campus: What to Bring

Off to Campus: What to Bring
  • Opening Intro -

    You are heading off to college and are wondering what sort of stuff that you'll need while you are away from home.


Essential items include your personal identification and college admittance information, and perhaps details about your financial aid and other assistance. Beyond the legal documents, the following personal items should be included as you set up your home away from home when you go off to college.

Personal Effects

Young men and women alike need to bring with them an assortment of personal items including deodorant, perfume or cologne, shampoo and conditioner, soap, towels and washcloths, shaving items, toothpaste and toothbrush, makeup, jewelry and related items. If you have a prescription medicine that you must take, ensure that you have enough refills left or can pick up what you need while you’re away from home.


Figure that you’ll be sleeping in a double bed while you’re in your dorm. Bring at least two sets of sheets, two pillows, pillowcases, blankets and a quilt. You’ll want to use your own mattress pad too. If your dorm room is especially drafty, consider bringing with you an electric blanket.

Cooking Supplies

You’ll be eating in your dorm room at least some of the time. Perhaps more often if your room is equipped with a kitchenette. Plan on bringing with you a microwave if one is not included in your room. You’ll do the vast amount of your cooking by heating up items instead of using a stove. Still, you will want to bring pots and pans, a potholder, cooking utensils, cookware, eating utensils, a coffee pot, a can opener, a toaster and anything else that you imagine you’ll want to make a meal when you’re off to college.

Food Items

Certainly, you will be purchasing food items when you’re away from home, but you can also bring some of your favorites with you to set up your home away from home. For breakfast, you’ll want coffee, sugar, creamer, cereal, juice and a carton of long lasting milk. Lunch items can include soup, a bread mix, peanut butter and jelly, and dried fruit. Dinner items can include salt and pepper, ketchup, pasta, crackers and canned goods. Wait until you arrive on campus to buy perishable items such as your meats, fruits and vegetables, mayonnaise, eggs, milk and other dairy products.


Can you imagine going off to college and not having some of your favorite entertainment items with you? Not hardly. Most likely you will bring with you a television, a DVD player, your cell phone, an MP3 player and perhaps a laptop. Bring with you your computer peripherals as well as a surge protector and three-prong extension cords. Your favorite DVDs and an iTunes subscription card can come in handy as well.

Laundry Items

Yes, you’ll soon be doing your own laundry, something your mother may have been trying to get you to do for the last year. Laundry detergent, a stain remover stick, a laundry basket and lots of coins to work that coin-operated washer and dryer are musts. A bathrobe, shower shoes and a shower cap are other considerations. A sewing kit can come in handy for emergencies.

School Supplies

Save money by purchasing as much of your school supplies at home. Avoid the college bookstore and save money. Buy your backpack, paper, notebooks, pens, pencils, erasers, planner and other essentials before you leave. Pick up tissues, toilet paper and paper towels while you’re at it and other dry good items.


The weather at the beginning of the semester may be summer-like, but by the time your classes come to an end, you’ll be dealing with winter. So, bring everything from shorts and tee-shirts to winter gear including a coat, hats and gloves, a scarf, boots, rain gear and an umbrella. You’ll want to have enough clothing on hand to visit the laundry no more than once per week. Bring a set of dress clothes too if you expect to attend a dress up event while on campus.

Campus Considerations

Other items that you can include that are not necessarily “must haves” are a first-aid kit, pricey jewelry and play clothing that you can don when you’re playing sports, taking a walk or painting your fraternity’s house. Yes, bring with you a storage chest, an essential item that you can use to store clothing that is out of season and won’t fit into your closet. One caution here: your dorm room may not be immune from theft. Lock up what you don’t want to lose or leave that pricey jewelry at home.

Author Information

Paul Stephen is from the highly respected Nipissing University, a liberal arts university dedicated to offering world class applied professional programs in the following fields: criminal justice, nursing, computer science. Further your tailored knowledge by applying to the School of Graduate Studies.


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Categories: College Planning

About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".