10 Surprising Things You Need for College

College Life

Starting college is an exciting time with so many things to think about; classes, a new roommate, dorm life, independence, football/basketball games, and so much more. There are a few things that are easy to overlook that you will definitely find yourself wanting as you start this exciting experience:

1. Flip-Flops

Dorm showers are a part of the whole dorm experience. While most are kept clean, you don’t know who used the shower last. I’ve always recommended to my children to wear beach flip-flops to and in the shower. You can pick up a basic pair from any department store or online. Make sure to get a pair that you can wear in the shower. I like the non-slip feature of the ones above.

As an added bonus, you have part of your wardrobe for that beach-bash party that is sure to happen later in the semester!

2. Good Shoes

You will be walking a lot when you get to campus. As you race from building to building to get to your next class, it is critical that you have good, comfortable, support for your feet. Don’t go for cheap shoes, you will regret it later in life.

I wish I had started purchasing better support for my toes much earlier. A few years ago I made the shift to Birkenstock shoes, something that I wish I had done much earlier in life and immediately got for my kids. Birkenstocks go beyond sandals and clogs; also have casual and dress shoes.

Also, don’t forget the dress shoes/heels for the class presentations, dances, and job interviews!

3. Mattress pad

A good nights sleep is critical to being successful at college. Most dorms supply a basic mattress (usually extra-long, so make sure you get the right kind of sheets). While most do a good job of supplying a mattress that isn’t worn out, I recommend getting a mattress pad to provide you with the support and comfort that you are used to at home.

4. Sweater for Classrooms

If you are affected by dramatic temperature changes, make sure to keep a sweater or a large shirt in your bookbag. Lecture halls and labs are intentionally kept cool (you are less likely to fall asleep during a lecture if the room is cold), so be sure to have something that you can quickly put on to make up for temperature differences.

5. Umbrella/Raincoat/Rainboots

Even if you are going to college in an area known for being dry, rain does happen. Make sure you have at least an umbrella that is small enough for your bookbag. If you like to be prepared for wet weather, rain boots, and a raincoat are must-haves!

6. Coat/Jacket for Cold Weather

As you are packing to head for classes in the late Summer/early Fall heat, it is easy to forget that cold weather is just a few weeks away. When you consider sports activities and games that you might attend, it is important to remember your coat! Avoid asking Mom & Dad to mail your coat to you by taking it with you. Also, remember your winter boots if you are going to a college that is known for getting a lot of snow.

Ice Scraper

If you are taking your car to campus, remember to take an ice scraper for later in the semester, even if you are going to school in the South. No one wants to be delayed heading home for Thanksgiving dinner because they have an inch of ice on their car!

8. Emergency Kit

Along with the ice scraper, make sure you have a basic tool kit and blanket for your car in case there are problems. A jumper cable for your car battery can be a huge help!

During my Junior year at a university in the mid-west, I ran into a friend from high-school that was so happy to see me, her car needed a jump! Make sure you know how to put the jumper cables on as well – positive to positive, negative to negative (or red to red, black to black).

9. White Noise Generator

During my freshman year in college, I was rooming next to a group of guys that would play cards late into the night, loudly! This did not make getting up for 8 AM classes easy.

To avoid having your sleep disturbed, I recommend that you get something like a white noise generator to help cover the activities of your dormmates.

Oh, in case you are wondering, the guys that were in the next room playing cards until 3 AM every morning were mysteriously woke-up every morning at 7 AM.

10. Closet Extender

If you are in a dorm room with more than one other person, or you just have a lot of clothes, a closet extender could help you avoid a lot of arguments.

Other stuff:

Of course, there is the regular stuff you will want for your dorm: refrigerator, microwave, laptop (see my recommendations here), etc. Make sure to review the dorm policies on what you are allowed to have in your dorm room and coordinate with your roommate(s) as to who is bringing what; you don’t need two microwaves.

If you are short on space for the move, take advantage of Amazon’s Prime Student 6-month Trial and have the stuff you need delivered right to your dorm!

What would you add to the list? Did I forget something crucial?

Dr. Burton is a teacher and professor with over twenty-five years of experience, teaching Information Technology, game design, CGI, Computer Science, and MIS.

*Note: We use affiliate programs to help pay for this advice! All recommendations are based upon experience. We do not recommend or link to anything we don’t use.

© 2019 – Brian Burton, Ed.D.  Dr. Professor-Dad.com

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