young man in a blue shirt packing

What to Pack for College

College can be one of the most exciting times in your life. It’s a time to explore new things and figure out who you want to be! Even though it’s fun, it can also be overwhelming, especially if you’re not sure where to start. One of your first questions is probably, “What do I need to pack for college?” Don’t worry; everyone asks that. To help you ease into this transition, here’s a list of what to pack for college!

School Supplies

The first step is ensuring you have all the school supplies you need. After all, you’re in college to learn, so you’ll need the proper tools to do that! Think about all the classes you’re taking and what you’ll need for each one. Here’s a general list to get you started:

  • Notebooks
  • Textbooks
  • Pens and pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Calculator
  • Printer and papers
  • Backpack or tote bag

Clothes and Shoes

College is a great time to experiment with your style, so don’t be afraid to try new things — but that doesn’t mean you should pack your whole closet! Closets are on the small side in dorms. A good rule of thumb is to bring a few weeks’ worth of clothes and do laundry once a week.

  • Underwear and socks
  • Jeans
  • Shirts
  • Sweaters or jackets
  • Pajamas
  • Athletic gear
  • Sneakers
  • Sandals
  • Dress shoes
  • Dress clothes


Toiletries are essential as well. Make sure you have all your favorite products and any prescription medications you might need — and don’t forget the basics!

  • Toothpaste
  • Deodorant
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Soap
  • Razors
  • Sunscreen
  • Bug spray
  • First-aid kit
  • Laundry detergent
  • Fabric softener
  • Hangers
  • Towels
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Toilet paper
  • Trash bags
  • Umbrella

Food and Snacks

If you’re living in a dorm, you might have a meal plan, but it’s always good to have snacks. No one wants to be hangry! See if you need some silverware, dishes, and other kitchen items.

  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • Ramen noodles
  • Mac and cheese
  • Granola bars
  • Fruit snacks
  • Chips
  • Cookies
  • Soda
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Milk

Room Needs

Now that you’ve got the essentials, it’s time to consider what you need for your room. Ensure your comfort by packing what you need to make your space feel like home.

  • Bedsheets
  • Trash can
  • Alarm clock
  • Fan
  • Small vacuum
  • Extension cords
  • Lamp
  • Decorations


Whether you’re bringing a TV, a game console, or just your phone, make sure you have everything you need to stay connected with your friends and family.

  • Phone
  • Laptop
  • Tablet
  • Chargers
  • Headphones
  • External hard drive
  • Television
  • Game console

Legal Documents

Lastly, you should include a few legal documents in your list. These are important because they’ll help you get settled.

  • ID
  • Social Security card
  • Birth certificate
  • Banking information
  • Insurance information
  • Driver’s license
  • Passport

Packed for College!

Any college checklist should include all the items on this list. Of course, you’ll also need to personalize it based on your own needs and what will make you feel comfortable and at home in your new college digs. This list is a great starting point to help you figure out things. Go forth and conquer your first day of college, knowing you have everything you need!