Preparing for College: College Checklist


Adaptation of photograph by Jessica Tam, available under a Creative Commons Attribution license. Copyright © 2011 Jessica Tam.

Tiara Chakkaw, Associate Editor, Features and Extras, 2012-2013; Columnist, 2011-2012

With college hunting beginning for juniors, and graduation just around the corner for seniors, keeping your grades up, filling out applications, and meeting deadlines are already stressful enough. The last thing on your mind is going shopping for what you need for the upcoming fall. Whether you are heading off to college in a few months or in the upcoming year, this college checklist can ease some stress involved with college planning and help you avoid bringing either too much or too little.


  1. Clothes: This is an obvious item, but your choice of clothing does matter, especially if you are traveling to a university with a different climate. Figure out what the climate there is like, and pack accordingly. General clothing suggestions include:

  • Work out clothes and shoes

  • Swimwear

  • Comfortable clothing and shoes for walking around campus

  • Sleepwear

  • A few dressy outfits for formal events

  • A jacket (heavy or light depending on climate; light jackets can be worn in cold classrooms)

  • Slippers

  • Flip-flops (To wear in shared showers at dorms)

  • Gloves, hat, scarf (for colder climates)

2. What to pack for your room: It would be a great idea to see your dorm room beforehand    to have a general idea for the space you’re working with, and what is already provided. You can call the housing office or ask those you know who attend the college already. Also find out if an elevator is present in the residence halls as this can affect what you pack your items in; big boxes can be used if an elevator is present, but smaller boxes would be ideal if stairs are the only choice. A few suggestions for what to pack for your room are:

  • Comforter/ bedspread

  • Pillows

  • Clothes hangers

  • Mug and drinking cups

  • SIlverware, plates, bowls

  • Plastic containers (can be used to store snacks, detergent, etc)

  • Headphones/ earbuds

  • Cell phone charger

  • Poster putty (used to hang up decorations without damaging the wall)

  • Power strip

  • Desk lamp

  • Fan

  • Alarm clock

  • Hair styling tools (hair dryer, hair straightener, curling iron)

  • Electric blanket

  • Crates to store paper, items, clothing, etc.

  • Microwave and small fridge (Some residence halls may already provide this, check beforehand and make sure the microwave and fridge are approved by the housing office)

  • Paper towels

  • Message board for door

  • Sewing kit

3. Hygienic and health items: Be familiar of what you use regularly concerning hygiene and that you will be sharing showers and laundry machines with other students. These are a few general items suggested to bring:

  • Flip-flops for the shower (as mentioned earlier)

  • Towels

  • Shower caddy

  • Soap, shampoo, and conditioner

  • Shaving cream along with razors

  • Toliet paper

  • Laundry bag or basket

  • Detergent

  • Dryer sheets

  • Band aids

  • Dishwashing soap

  • Allergy medicine/ cold medicine

 4. Miscellaneous items: Even if you may not use everything on this list, these are helpful to have packed in your bags.

  • Umbrella

  • Key ring

  • Flashlight

  • Batteries

  • Pre-paid calling card

This checklist is only a general idea for what to pack, make your own personalized checklist accordingly, and buy the items over the course of a month or so beforehand. When it comes time to go off to college, you will have your suitcases fully packed and ready for what comes ahead.