College Essentials: Must-have items for a smooth transition

Informative guide for people wondering what to bring to their college or university.

Graduating high school and moving away from home to a college or university can be stressful. Many questions are probably asked. What can I expect? What are classes like? Will I make new friends? Those questions can’t be answered by anyone but yourself through experience. But something that can be answered is, what do I need to bring?

It is best to pack light and bring as little as possible because of the small size of the dorm room. Plus, you must account for your roommate and the number of things they might bring. You don’t want to have a messy, cluttered room.

Washington State University has a list of things to bring for incoming freshmen. I would suggest looking at the list provided by your college or university too.


  • Sheets with deep pockets
  • Pillows and pillowcases
  • Mattress pad or foam topper
  • Comforter/bedspread
  • Blankets


  • First aid kit
  • Soaps
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Deodorant
  • Tampons or pads


  • Towels and washcloths
  • Laundry detergent and dryer sheets for front-loading washers
  • Laundry bag or basket
  • Eating supplies such as cutlery, plates, food storage containers, and coffee mugs
  • Shower shoes
  • Toiletries

Personal Items:

  • Laptop/computer
  • School supplies such as pens, paper, or notebooks
  • Clothes (summer and winter)
  • Entertainment
  • Micro fridge or mini fridge
  • Food cooking appliances (depends on if allowed at your school)


Money goes with out saying but it must be included and actually isn’t in the list provided by WSU. Money can be used to get anything you might need from a box of pop tarts to maybe a flash drive. Bring as much money as you can because more often than not you will need it. Getting a part time job while enrolled in college is key too. I would suggest a low-key low stress job so your focus can be mainly on schoolwork.

Contacting your roommate before moving in and asking them what they are going to bring will help lower the amount of clutter, and make sure you both don’t bring duplicate items. Why would you need two rice cookers? And remember to pack light and pack practical items. But most importantly when going into a college or university, have fun.