Ultimate College Checklist and Tips
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While most of my fellow Odyssey contributors are writing sentimental pieces about how much you're going to miss your mom, dog, friends, high school, etc. I thought I write a piece on something a little bit more practical. Starting college is right around the corner, and if you are anything like I was last semester....you have NO idea where to even start on what to bring. So, let me be of some assistance.

Bathroom Essentials:

  • Shampoo & Conditioner- buy the larger ones first so you can save money later
  • Body wash- also buy a bigger one
  • Wash cloths – I recommend 3-5
  • Towels- I recommend at least 4
  • Luffa- make sure you throw them out each month (bacteria is GROSS)
  • Shower shoes or flip flops
  • Robe- you’ll thank me if there’s a fire drill while you’re in the shower
  • Shower Caddy
  • Deodorant
  • Razors
  • Shaving cream
  • Glasses and case
  • Contacts and solution
  • Lotion
  • Perfume
  • Blow dryer, straightener, curling iron, etc.
  • Hair Brush
  • Bobby pins, clips, and ponytails
  • Hair products- hairspray, mousse, gel, etc.
  • Face wash
  • Make-up remover
  • Make-up- depending on how much you wear…just think you need EVERYTHING
  • Band aids- Neosporin if you feel necessary
  • Chapstick- winters can be brutal on your lips
  • Tooth brush and tooth paste
  • Floss and mouth wash
  • Retainers and case
  • Ibuprofen, advil, midol, mucinex, any meds or vitamins you might take
  • Kleenex- you’ll need these more than you think
  • Q-tips/cotton balls
  • Nail care items- polish, clippers, files, etc.

Laundry Supplies:

  • Detergent- again, spend more on a bigger one in the beginning. You’ll go through A LOT.
  • Dryer sheets
  • Laundry basket
  • Hamper
  • Hangers- LOTS AND LOTS. If you think you got enough, get more.
  • Stain remover sticks

Cleaning Supplies:

  • Dust pan and broom- if you have tile floors, also consider a small hand held broom and not a regular size one for storage sake
  • Paper towels- these are important!
  • Clorox wipes- they save lives
  • Vacuum- you’ll only need this if you have carpet or a shaggy rug.
  • Dish soap/dish rags- however, I HIGHLY recommend paper plates

Random Items:

  • Batteries
  • Ziploc baggies
  • Plastic cups, spoon, forks, knifes and paper plates- trust me these are so much easier
  • Trash can/ trash bags
  • Refillable water bottle or two
  • Mini Fridge- make sure you fill it with healthy snacks like string cheese, fruit, yogurt.
  • Microwaves-if your campus allows them
  • Extension cords
  • Surge protector
  • TV/ tv cable
  • Roku- not 100% necessary but it makes watching Netflix easier. Highly recommend.
  • Flash drive
  • DVD player- optional
  • Chargers- phone, laptop, fitbit, etc.
  • Headphones
  • Laptop
  • Pillows
  • Blankets for your bed and extras
  • Sheets- most colleges suggest Twin XL sheets
  • Command strips
  • Decorations or pictures- honestly don’t go crazy though. That’s just more you have to pack. But Christmas lights are fun.
  • Thumb tacks
  • Rug
  • Birth certificate, social security card, health insurance card, etc.- yep, you’re an adult now
  • Fan
  • Stamps
  • Futons or bean bag chairs
  • Hand sanitizer


  • Snow boots- if you go to school somewhere that it snows a lot
  • Umbrella- Did I mention how important this is???
  • Swimsuit
  • Shoes- don’t go crazy but make sure you have at least one of all types: Sandals, Athletic, walking, every day, and dress shoes
  • Business Clothes- remember that you may need to go to an interview or important event
  • PJs and Slippers
  • Bring the clothes for that season- switch out fall, spring and winter clothes but always be prepared for a freak weather change
  • Hoodies and zip-up jackets
  • Winter coat
  • Hats and gloves
  • Socks, socks, and more socks
  • Underwear and bras
  • Athletic wear
  • Jewelry
  • Purse
  • Wallet- I recommend getting a small wallet you can keep on a lanyard. They usually sell them at the on campus store and they have a place for cash, cards, and most importantly your student ID.

Desk and School Supplies

  • Backpack- Make sure it fits lots of books
  • Laptop case
  • Loose leaf paper
  • Stapler and staples
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Notebook- up to you if you want to take notes on your laptop or not
  • Highlighters- important for books
  • Binders
  • Paper clips
  • Pencils and pens
  • Container to hold them
  • Planner
  • Calendar- get an expo marker one
  • Index cards
  • Calculator


  • Shelves
  • Rubbermaid dressers- they sell great ones at Walmart
  • Crates
  • Ottomans with storage capability- gives you somewhere to sit and store things

Here are a few college tips:

1. Loft your bed if given the option. You will maximize the space of that tiny shoebox sized room. Plus, you can fit your futon and more storage boxes under the bed.

2. Make sure you lock your door. Lock your door every time you leave your room. It is important to keep your room safe, and it is a courtesy to your roommate. Also, be sure to lock your door before bedtime.

3. If you have a problem with your roommate, talk it out. Don't let situations build. If nothing changes, talk to your RA. That's what they're there for!

4. The freshman 15 can be a real thing. Make sure you take care of yourself. Most colleges have a membership to the gym on-campus included. Utilize this. Exercise can increase your mood, focus and of course...health! It also helps to reduce stress. It isn't hard to make healthy eating habits too. Microwaved Lean Cuisines can be your friend on nights you don't want to walk to the dining hall. Use your mini fridge to store fresh fruit and healthy snacks.

5. Stay organized. It will make your life SO much easier.

6. Get involved on campus. This is how you meet new friends and make connections. It also gives you a chance to build your resume and discover what YOU like. Also check to see if you're eligible for work-study. You literally get paid to do your homework.

7. Start a $5 jar. Whenever you have a $5 bill...stick it in a jar. DON'T SPEND IT. You'll be surprised how much it adds up. Then you can have it for emergency runs to the store.

8. GO TO CLASS. You are paying for them. That is how you succeed in college. Even if it is an 8 am...go. You can take a nap later. You're sick? GO. It is an hour long and again you can go back and nap later. Let me say it one more time for the people in the back to hear....GO TO CLASS.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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