What to Bring to College

Because there’s just a few weeks left before college starts, the bloggers and I thought it would be a good idea to write a list of what to bring for college for all those freshman and transfers out there who are going to live in dorms. For everyone who already knows the drill, this list has mini stories attached to many of the items, so not only is it amusing, but it can also serve as a reminder of your own experiences with forgetting items. So read down the list for advice on what to bring, or for a trip down memory lane!

Things to Bring that People Forget to Bring:

  • A can opener – I once spent an hour trying to open a can of soup by stabbing it with a spoon. Needless to say, it absolutely did not work. Can openers are small enough that you can just keep it in a drawer without it taking up too much space, and you’ll be glad to have one when you need it (FK).
  • Comfortable slippers to wear when you lounge about the dorm
  • Multiple pairs of flip flops because they will break on you, and not having shoes to shower with is the worst.
  • A pair of scissors (MS)
  • A stapler (NS)
  • Rain boots/Shoes that survive through snow – You’ll thank me when you have to walk in the snow to get to class. (NS).
  • Umbrella – Somehow I forgot to bring this and I have never been so sorry (NS).

What to Bring: A General List:


  • Mattress cover
  • Mattress pad XL Twin – The mattress is hard-ish, but if this doesn’t bother you, this item isn’t required (NS).
  • XL Twin sheets, comforter, pillows


  • Desk lamp
  • Lamp for your room – Some rooms look like prisons without more light.
  • Fan(s)- The more the merrier, especially for the first few weeks of school (HW).
  • Scented plugin – It can make an otherwise cramped dorm room feel more inviting and open. I highly recommend the teakwood mahogany scent (HW).
  • Rug – Although not a necessity, this can make your room 1000 times more inviting and cozy (AV).
  • Clothing
  • Hangers
  • Under-bed storage


  • A binder, notebooks, pens, pencils, etc.
  • Planner
  • Backpack


  • A big box of granola bars
  • A 24 or 36-pack of water bottles – Buy this from home and then bring it. It will save you from paying ten bucks for a water case at the SAC (FK).
  • A refillable water bottle – The eco-friendly version of above. It’s very useful with fill stations all over campus.
  • You can also buy a Brita pitcher and keep it in your fridge (AV)!
  • Bread, peanut butter, and/or jelly – When I felt lazy and didn’t want to leave the dorm for the dining hall, I quickly made myself a sandwich. It was convenient and allowed me to relax for an extra 15-20 minutes before class (SS).
  • Ramen/easy mac
  • A hot water boiler – Make sure the type is permitted under the University Fire Safety Guidelines.
  • Paper plates/utensils or real utensils and bowl(s)/plate(s)
  • Popcorn – For those movie nights, if you think you’ll have them (NS)!
  • Mug(s)

Kitchen/Cleaning Supplies

  • Lysol Cleaning Wipes
  • A vacuum
  • A sponge
  • Dish detergent
  • Paper towels
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Swiffer/Vacuum/Dustpan


  • Shower caddy
  • Shoes!! (flip flops) – I literally cannot stress how important these are.
  • Towels – Hand towels or body towels, or you could just have one.

Toiletries (like makeup, etc.)

  • Baby wipes
  • Makeup & makeup remover!
  • Nail polish & nail polish remover
  • Q-tips
  • Toothpaste
  • Toothbrush
  • Soap
  • Shampoo and Conditioner
  • Sunscreen – You should be wearing sunscreen every day, no matter what! At least SPF 25 is recommended. But remember to patch test products for any reactions to your skin beforehand (NS).


  • First Aid Kit – Include lots of bandaids! 
  • Ibuprofen
  • Robitussin – This stuff is MAGIC. It always makes my colds go away much faster (NS).



  • Command hooks
  • Tissue boxes
  • Laundry basket – You are given a laundry bag but it isn’t fantastic.
  • Important paperwork – Driver’s license, etc.

Things People Bring that They Shouldn’t Bring

  • Printer – There are several computer labs on every campus and you are allotted $30 of printing money (over 700 pages, if black and white). If your printing balance runs out, you can add money to your RUexpress. Unless you absolutely need a printer in the comfort of your room, it isn’t a necessity (AV).
  • Pots and pans – You will think you will turn into a health nut in college and cook every meal in your tiny, communal kitchen to save on your precious meal swipes. Trust me, you won’t. The pots and pans will just take up much needed space under your bed and you will still have plenty of meal swipes left (FK).
  • Trashcans – Almost every dorm room comes with at least two.
  • Mirror – Unless you want to bring additional mirrors, or smaller “face” mirrors, you do not need to bring an additional one. There should be a full sized mirror in your dorm room. (NS: I actually didn’t have a full-sized one that showed the entire body, so we bought one that hung on your door).
  • TV – It may seem tempting, but don’t do it. By spending all your free time in your room watching TV, you wont be able to meet and socialize with all the wonderful people in your dorm. If you really want to watch that show you love, find a group of people to watch it live with in the main lounge. We did that last year in Brett and a bunch of us got together to watch American Horror Story (SS).

As mentioned before, the University Fire Safety Guidelines are helpful in letting you know what you can’t bring! If anyone has any questions or concerns, you can comment underneath or send us an email at sashp.nl@gmail.com.


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