College Essentials


Annika sits in her sister Avery’s college dorm room thinking about what she may have forgotten from this list.

If you are planning on attending college in the fall, it is time to begin researching what you might need. A lot of websites and articles will give you lists full of supplies you will never actually use, and the storage bins they say you need will become full of the “essentials” listed prior. Personally, I have not yet been to college, but three of my sisters and countless of my friends have, and they helped me compile a list of genuine essentials if you are headed to dorm life next year.  


In no particular order, here are 10 essentials you should consider packing with you on your collegiate adventure. 


  • Fan

Depending on where you plan on attending school, you could have a consistent 100 degrees, 10 degrees, or everything in between. Recently, a lot of college dorms have upgraded to single room temperature control, but unfortunately, many still haven’t. I would absolutely recommend bringing a fan to help with this problem, if not just for some white noise. 


  • 10 foot phone charging cord


Another development you would assume college dorms had adopted would be outlets in many different accessible spots. This is still not the case at a lot of schools, and you may find your arm stuck behind your bed trying to find a place to plug in your phone charger. Once you do this, you will find that it does not even reach all the way to the top of your bed, and you have to go through the painful process a few more times. To alleviate this, I would recommend bringing a very long phone charging cord. 


  • Extra set of sheets

This essential is something that is often forgotten, and always regretted. It can be very difficult to get your laundry done at the dorms, and you may need a change of sheets before you can wash them. My sisters told me to absolutely bring an extra set because nothing feels worse than dirty sheets when you are missing your bed at home. Make sure you don’t die changing them on your raised bed, though.


  • Backpack hamper

Next year, you may be walking up and down multiple flights of stairs just to get a load of laundry in. And with how little you may be doing laundry, it can be assumed that it will be a hefty load. As a college student, you will have plenty of practice carrying a heavy backpack, so why not put it to use! I would recommend bringing a hamper you can carry on our back, versus tiring your arms out carrying laundry baskets all over.


  • Mattress topper

On the topic of beds comes a spoiler alert… the dorms do not equip you with memory foam mattresses. You will most likely get a semi-stiff navy blue plastic mattress that brings you back to summer camp or Eco-Week. It is imperative, for your back and your happiness, that you bring a mattress topper to alleviate some stress you will already be feeling leaving home.


  • Shower caddy/shoes

Readers, all of you will most likely experience communal bathrooms next year. Personally, this is what I am looking forward to the least. I have heard multiple complaints from my sisters about this particular style of bathroom, and they explained to me that the only thing that got them through was the fact that they never touched the floor with their bare feet. Bathroom and shower shoes are an absolute necessity, as well as a shower caddy to bring with you. You do not want to be running back and forth from your dorm to your shower for shampoo and soap. Get organized for this process, you won’t regret it. And if you don’t, you absolutely will. 


  • Mini fridge

While this may not feel like a need for everybody, I am absolutely bringing a mini fridge to college. My sister goes to the University of Arizona where they provided one for her, and she would not have survived without it. While many freshmen eat in dining halls, a mini fridge is essential for any groceries you buy yourself or things you may want to keep cold and have nowhere to store. When I went to visit Avery out at U of A, I used her mini fridge for all of my plane snacks and drinks, as well as any leftovers from eating out while I was there. It came in handy for sure. 


  • Brita

Let’s be real, water from outside of Colorado is inferior to what we’ve been drinking for years. We are very lucky with how good and clean our water is, but it is not like that everywhere. A Brita is a water filter system, and it will keep you from drinking tap water from fountains wherever you go for school. Similar to the mini fridge, a Brita is more of a luxury, but something you may find yourself grateful for soon into the year. 


  • Coffee Maker (Keurig) 

Coffee drinkers!!! You can not spend $7 on coffee every day in college. It is expensive on its own, and that fund will run out quickly if you are relying on Starbucks every day for energy. My older sister brought a coffee maker for her freshman year, and it kept her going. She couldn’t afford to buy coffee every day, and her Keurig stood by her side. 


  • A good attitude!

Lastly, it is important to bring a good attitude to college and never lose it. Going in with a negative mindset will set you back on your just-beginning journey, and it is not worth your year trying to climb out of that. While college can be scary, it also presents an entire new chapter of your life full of opportunities and challenges. Be excited, grateful, and positive.