College School Supplies and Dorm Room Checklists for 2023

posted by: Celeste O’ Connor

College Packing List PDF

2020 has turned every industry upside-down, especially affecting everyone involved in higher education. Whether your university of choice will be conducting classes face-to-face, remotely, or a mix of both, school supplies are still a must-have to ensure your academic success.

This college school supplies list will be a lifesaver, especially if you are a college freshman. Colleges don’t give you a list of supplies you’ll need beyond the textbooks, and it leaves many freshmen wondering – What should I bring to college?

So let me detail the school supplies you’ll need for college. You have enough to worry about already!

All of these products have been condensed into free printable checklists for you to take to the store. TL;DR? Print these checklists below:

Free Printable College School Supply List PDF

Free Printable Dorm Room Checklist PDF

Prefer to shop online? Click on the school supply’s title to see the highest-rated products on Amazon.


1. Backpack/Laptop Bag/Messenger Bag

Nothing beats the feeling of a comfortable backpack that you can stuff with supplies yet is still easy on your back.

You’ll need to carry heavy textbooks, a laptop or tablet, calculator, lunch, pencils, pens… and maybe more, all around campus – so make sure you invest in a good-quality backpack that won’t leave your back hurting at the end of the day.

2. Lanyard

Get a lanyard to hold your keys and ID. You never want to go anywhere on campus without your ID – it’s often required to get into buildings or pay for meals if you have a meal plan.

Electronics for College Students

1. Laptop

A laptop is essential, not only for taking notes but for writing papers, submitting online assignments, emailing your professors, and staying updated with college events. You can’t get away with using your library’s desktops anymore.

The smaller and slimmer the laptop the better. You’ll want to save as much space and weight in your backpack, so go for a laptop that’s no more than 15 inches.

2. Calculator

Avoid pulling out your phone as a calculator in math class. It can’t perform some of the functions required of most college-level math courses, you can’t use it during exams, and it doesn’t make a good impression on your professor to have your phone out during class.

3. USB Drive

A USB can be a lifesaver if your internet is ever down or your computer fails to backup documents. Keep one on your keychain and make sure it’s loaded with your next assignments due, that way there are no surprises when it’s time to turn in that big essay.

4. Printer

Having your own printer is very convenient and will save you tons of time from going to the library to print out documents. Amazon’s best-selling printers are pretty affordable, too.

5. Earbuds/Headphones

Put on some music on your walk to class or kill time binging sitcoms during lunch; just make sure you aren’t disturbing your classmates by popping in a good, reliable pair of headphones.

College Binder Organization

1. 3 Ring Binders

A large 3-ring binder or multiple smaller 3 ring binders are necessary for keeping coursework organized. Make sure you get a durable, well-built binder that’ll never rip at the spine and which their rings will never misalign.

UniKeep binders are the best binders for heavy college use and they’ll last you years – find them on Amazon or

2. Dividers

Separate handouts from assignments from study guides from finished tests with tabbed dividers and eliminate the time-wasting task of flipping through hundreds of sheets of paper to find the document you’re looking for.

3. 3 Hole Punch

Just in case you receive something that isn’t hole punched. It happens more than you think!

4. Page Protectors

It’s nice to have a section in the back of your binder with page protectors ready to store and protect papers. You can get color-coded page protectors to ensure that important papers stand out from the rest or to create an organization system with a color for each course.

5. Spiral Notebooks

Even if you take notes on your laptop, it’s better to be safe than sorry by carrying a spare spiral notebook in case you forgot to charge your computer before class or the university’s WiFi is down.

Study Supplies

Fill your pencil case with these supplies and never ask a classmate to borrow something again! (Or ask anyways and make some new friends!)

  • Mechanical Pencils
  • Pencil Case
  • Ballpoint Pens
  • Highlighters
  • Index Cards
  • Permanent Marker
  • Sticky Notes
  • Paperclips
  • Binder Clips
  • Tape
  • Daily Academic Planner*
  • Adhesive Pockets


*You can’t get away without a daily planner in college. Your planner will go everywhere with you, so be sure to get one that will last you a while!

A mini 3 ring binder works wonderfully as a college planner since you can use it year after year and rearrange pages as you wish.

Print out our free printable college student planner to save some cash.

College Backpack Essentials

1. Reusable Water Bottle

It saves you money and plastic by carrying a reusable water bottle compared to buying bottled water on campus. Hydration is key!

2. Chewing Gum/Mints

Chew some gum when you feel hungry in class to tide you over, pop in a breath mint before office hours, or offer a classmate a stick of gum to show you are friendly. You never know when gum or mints will come in handy.

3. Umbrella

Better safe than sorry!

4. First Aid Kit

For the unexpected accidents – they happen, you’ll thank me later.

Dorm Life

If you’re moving into a dorm, don’t forget these dorm room basics.


  • Twin XL sheets
  • Pillows
  • Pillowcases
  • Mattress cover
  • Throw blanket



  • Shower caddy
  • Shower sandals
  • Towels
  • Bathrobe
  • Loofah
  • Shampoo
  • Body wash
  • Razor
  • Shaving cream



Some dormitories have communal kitchens. If not, you’ll need these appliances:

  • Microwave
  • Mini fridge


Be sure to bring these no matter what:

  • Tupperware
  • Silverware
  • Plastic cups
  • Can opener
  • Bottle opener
  • Kettle (for instant coffee or cup noodles)



  • Hangers
  • Under-the-bed storage
  • Closet organizer
  • Shoe rack
  • Cube organizer
  • Fabric drawers
  • Laundry hamper



  • Area rug
  • Door mirror
  • TV
  • TV Stand
  • Comfy chair
  • Throw pillows
  • Posters/decor


Cleaning Supplies

  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Glass cleaner
  • Microfiber cloths
  • Dish soap
  • Dish brush
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dryer sheets
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Broom
  • Mop
  • Vacuum
  • Trash can
  • Trash bags

If You Need Anything Else

This list is pretty close to comprehensive for what you will generally need for college, but, there are always things that will pop up depending on your area of study or specific situation.

Sign up for Amazon prime student to cover any items you didn’t bring. Plus they have a student plan with a 6-month free trial, and after that, it’s only $6.49 per month, which is a great deal if you need something at your door in a short amount of time.

There you have it! 98 things that you’ll need for classes and your dorm. 2021 – 2022 will be an interesting and challenging academic year. Keep pushing forward – you can do it!

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