The Ultimate College Packing List: Don’t Forget Your…

by Ed Forteau /
Ed Forteau's picture
Sep 09, 2016 / 0 comments

You’re excited to finally be heading off to university! But first, you’ve got to narrow down your roomful of belongings into a much smaller space that you’ll probably be sharing with someone. How do you decide what to take? What will you need? What can you buy while you’re there? Here is a packing list for heading off to university. I recommend that you customize it according to your interests (sports, music, etc.), and always remember – less is more. It's all got to fit in the car (or airplane) to get there!

The Ultimate College Packing List: Don’t Forget Your…


Look at the information from your residence hall, and ascertain exactly what bedding and linens you’ll need, and what size beds will be available. Depending on what part of the world you’ll be living in, you may need to think of blankets. You’ll need a sheet set, pillow cases, a mattress pad, and a comforter or duvet. Of course, you’ll need to bring your own comfy pillow, and stuffed penguin. Stock up on a few large towels, so that you can always have a clean one for when you’ve no time to do laundry. Ditto for wash cloths and hand towels.


If you can, talk with your roommate before you arrive, and decide who will bring the microwave, and who will bring the coffeepot. A small, dorm-sized refrigerator is recommended to bring or rent – got to keep that caffeinated pop cold! Bring a few pieces of silverware, 2-3 mugs, some plastic glasses, and a few microwaveable plates. Most residence halls do not have kitchen facilities in the rooms, but ascertain if you’ll need to bring or purchase pots and pans and other kitchenware. If you do, follow their list and your own personal tastes.


Of course, this all depends on the weather for where you’re heading to university. You might need shorts and tshirts, or winter coats and mittens. Definitely bring several pairs of shoes (workout, dress, and everyday casual). Bring outerwear for all kinds of weather, including rain and snow. Bring a few dressy outfits and workout gear. But mostly, you’ll be living and learning in casual clothes. Pack the ones you love. Include a bathrobe and shower shoes or flipflops.


You might want to bring photos of loved ones. There will be posters for sale at the student book store, if you want to wait and ascertain your roommate’s tastes. You might bring an extra lounge chair or futon, for hanging out. Bring special wall glue, to tack your decorations onto the room walls without damaging the paint. Pack a lamp for your desk, a colorful wastebasket, and a whiteboard with markers for your friends to leave messages on your door.


While all universities have computer labs, you should bring your laptop and accessories, so that you can study and work wherever and whenever you want. If you can’t fit in a printer, then just take your laptop to the computer lab to print out your assignments. Headphones are a must, when you have a roommate.


Definitely bring a stereo or ipod and dock (with headphones), and a surge protector for your computer. If you’re a gamer, bring your wii or other video game system – and extra controllers. You’ll soon have new best friends that also love to play. Don’t forget your cords – especially for your cell phone, which will probably double as your alarm clock.

Cleaning (personal and laundry)

Bring your own toiletries, including shampoo and conditioner, soap, and hair products. If your bathroom is down the hall, bring a shower caddy to ferry your shampoo and soap along. Also bring laundry soap and a laundry basket. If you use an iron, bring one. Depending on your residence hall, you may also be responsible for cleaning your bathroom, if you’re in a suite. Bring cleaning supplies, then. And can't fit it in? There will be a store around.


Don’t forget your prescription medications, over the counter medication, vitamins, contact supplies and eyeglasses, cosmetics, sunscreen, and other personal hygiene items. Pack a small medical kit, including triple antibiotic ointment and bandaids. Don’t forget your toothbrush and dental floss, and a small plastic cup for your own personal use.

School supplies

Pens, pencils, markers, crayons, notebooks, printer paper… the list is endless. Take your favorites if you have some, then stock up on other items when you get there. Don’t forget your backpack! Those books are heavy. Add a water bottle, for those long treks across campus hauling the aforementioned heavy books.

Your passions

Do you play sports? Bring your equipment! A musical instrument? Bring that, too. Well, don’t haul the piano along. But bring things that nourish you, whether it is a small hackey sack, or a large box of artist’s paints. Love to ride your bike (or just want to get to classes)? Bring your bike & helmet, and a very sturdy lock.

The nitty gritty

Insurance cards, emergency contact information, medical information, driver’s license, phone cards if necessary, social security card, and your address book (or your cell phone. But we know you won’t forget that). Remember your checkbook, debit cards. Don't forget that note your mom wrote that said I LOVE YOU. Your life will be changing immensely (and excitingly!) but this one thing will always remain the same.




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, and computer science. Further your tailored knowledge by applying to the School of Graduate Studies.