Getting Ready For College: A Student's Checklist

A student's guide filled with tips and recommended necessities for getting ready for college.

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Schedules have been made, and time is ticking as we inch closer and closer to the beginning of the 2013 Fall Semester. With only a couple of weeks left before school starts, college students are preparing themselves to go back to their dorms and get back into classes. 
After quite some off, it is never easy to get back into the swing of things. Without the proper guidance, it can be hard to not let the stress get the best of you. Upperclassmen have already experienced the workings of the college life, and are acclimated to the changes that come along with moving into a college dorm. 
For freshmen, this is the beginning of a new world. The transition from high school to college is a huge step, and for many, their first venture into the adult world of responsibilities as they leave the nest to live on their own. As newcomers, this can be a stressful time, but we can help take out some of the stress of planning and preparing with’s Getting Ready for College Guide. 
We put together for you this simple, straightforward printable checklist for students and parents to make life easier. This guide includes insights from local students who have “lived through” their first year of college and know the ins and outs of the dorm life. It’s packed with the scoop on all the essentials you’ll need to get started, as well as some tips, and tricks to get you through the day to day.
Dorm Essentials
You are going to be away from home for over three months - you’ll want to bring everything you need to make yourself comfortable and most importantly, make yourself at home. Here are some dorm essentials to do just that:
  • Bed Kit: (Note - Dorm beds aren’t your average size. They are XL TWIN. Make sure you have the correct size for your bed set)


  • Alarm Clock
  • Desk Lamp
  • Hygiene Products
               -Shampoo & Conditioner
               -Sponge & Soap
               -Shower Towel
               -Flip-Flops: This is a MUST have for the showers.
  • Medicine
               -Cough Drops
               -Pain Reliever
               -Allergy Medicine
               -Any Prescriptions
  • Storage Bins
  • Bed Risers
  • Laundry
Many schools have a designated laundry room in which the machines require quarters like an average laundromat. Check with your school beforehand.
  • Food
    Although food courts and other services will be available, campus can food can get expensive. Prevent yourself from breaking the bank by bringing some of these easy-to-make goodies: Be sure to see what your dorm’s regulations are first.
              -Instant Mac-n-Cheese
              -Canned Soup
              -Cup Noodles
              -Water Bottles
  • Clothes
    Bring only as much as will fit in the storage you have available but enough to last you for the semester. Remember to bring a seasonably appropriate wardrobe.
School Supplies 
Here are some basic tools you may need.
  • Pens/Pencils
  • Paper
  • Binders 
  • Folders 
  • Highlighters 
  • Notebooks 
  • Backpack/Bag
  • USB Flash Drive
  • Laptop: Don’t forget the power cord and charger. Keep an extra battery as an emergency. Be sure to find out from your professors whether or not they allow laptops in class and what supplies they will require. Libraries are also a great place to plug in and get recharged.
Other Supplies
  • Cell Phone
  • Phone charger
  • Umbrella
  • Mini Fridge (If school allows)  
  • Things to make your room like “home”
  • Picture Frames with photos of family and friends
  • Decorations
Speak with your roommates to find out what other supplies you may all need for your dorm!
You may find yourself in need of some entertainment or other appliances to live comfortably. Many universities offer leisure rooms where there is a TV and some dorm rooms have the necessary appliances. Be sure to check with your school, RA and your roommate on what other stuff you should bring. 
  • TV
  • Microwave
  • Silverware
With University stores open and available to students to purchase their books, the bill can sure become costly. Save yourself a ton of money and take advantage of the sources available to everyone for purchasing books. Compare prices between the bookstore and the prices online! Websites such as Amazon, eBay and even Craigslist have numerous posts with a variety of novels and textbooks for sale and much reduced prices. For those who prefer e-books, many of your required textbooks may be available as well.
Make sure to get your books early. If you decide to buy your books online - get them early. The longer you wait, the more likely they will become less available and the prices can go up online as demand goes up. 
Many times, the books which professors require you to have may not even be needed. Reach out to your professors and ask them what books are mandatory and when they will be needed. In addition, many books have two editions of the same material - ask if the old edition is good enough (it may even be cheaper than the newer edition).
Most likely, you will be sharing a room with either one or two other people. Your roommates may become your friends but, you can’t trust anyone. With you going in and out and other people constantly going in and out, be sure to check out some of these tips to make your semester safer. 
  • Create a password lock on your laptop
    You don’t want people looking at any personal or private information or even deleting something as a prank. 
  • Keep all your personal items in a safe and secure location
    Valuables can also be misplaced or stolen so make sure you don’t lose things that are important and mean alot to you. 
  • Always lock your dorm room
    Whenever you go out to get something to eat or you’re heading out for the day to go to your classes, you don’t want anyone going through your stuff when you’re not there.
  • Find a quiet location for Studying & Reading
    Once the semester begins, work will be piling up from all your classes and sometimes your dorm will not be the best place to get work done. Make sure you have a spot on campus you know you can go to that will be sufficiently quite enough for you to get work done and concentrate - like the library
  • Know Your Resident Assistant’s Contact Info
    Your resident assistant (RA) will be in charge of controlling and maintaining safety in the dorms. They are there to guide you and assist you with anything you may need. If at any time you ever have a concern about something, contact your RA immediately. 
Ending the Summer with Fun
Before we get ahead of ourselves with this back to school nonsense, the summer isn’t over just yet. Check out some events going on and things to do at the end of the summer for your “last hurrah” before getting busy in the books.
  • Go the Beach
    Enjoy the last days of summer by relaxing at the beach and soaking up some rays. 

  • Have a BBQ
    Summer is slowly coming to an end and the warm weather will only last for so long so, fire up the grill and start cooking up some dishes.

  • Go on a camping trip
    Enjoy the last moments together with your friends by going on a camping trip before going away and going your separate way.

  • Take a Day Trip
    With landmarks, museums and attractions, plan a day trip to Montauk or the Hamptons where there are plenty of things to see and do!

  • Throw Yourself a Going Away Party
    Before taking off and getting caught up in the books and your classes, go all out with a party for everyone to remember!

Don’t forget to check out’s 2013 Summer Guide for some more summer fun!