What To Bring To Your Freshman Year Of College

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For many young adults (like you!), the freshman year of college marks the first time they are living away from home, away from their parents, and with one or more roommates. This can be a big change to adjust to!

Fully preparing for the first year of college takes a lot of steps, and you likely won’t actually complete those steps until you’re well into the school year. So don’t worry if you’re feeling anxious or nervous; all the other freshmen are just like you!

But one of the first steps, and one of the most important, in ensuring a successful first year of college is to bring the right items. Your dorm is where you’ll be living for at least the next several months– make it a true home. This post will teach you how!

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Ultimate freshman year packing list

Where Are You Going?

While making your packing list, consider where you’re going to college. Will you be traveling to another country or another state? If so, you’ll likely be traveling by plane and have to be extremely picky with your list– the less, the better.

In addition, if traveling by plane, there are packing restrictions that prohibit you from bringing certain things. Be sure to check the rules of your airline before finalizing your list!

On the other hand, if you’re not traveling far and can thus drive to your college, feel free to pack more– and probably larger– items. However, also be aware that you may have to bring everything back home during vacations.

What Type Of Dorm Will You Live In?

Another important factor to consider is the type of dorm you will be living in. Depending on what’s already provided in your dorm, you may have to pack much less or more than you initially planned.

For those in communal dorms (traditional dorms with shared bathrooms) and suites (smaller groups of rooms with a shared bathroom), check first what appliances are included. Some schools provide a microwave and/or minifridge, while others don’t.

For those in apartments or other apartment-style dorms, where a kitchen is included, consider bringing or buying utensils, dishware, etc. 

In either situation, it’s crucial to discuss with your roommate(s)– if you have any– to coordinate what items to bring. This can save a lot of time, money, and effort, none of which you want to waste as a college freshman!

YOU’LL LOVE THIS POST: 15 Student Desk Essentials For The Best Study Space

Now that we’ve gone through the pre-packing checklist, let’s start with the real thing. Below are the items I believe will be useful to bring/buy for your first year of college, though some are less essential than others. 

I’ve linked some of my favorite products that I use and love; check out Amazon’s back to school sale for (almost) everything else! And remember, this list is for reference only!


  • Student ID
  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • Debit/credit cards
  • Medical insurance card
  • Car registration/insurance
  • Financial aid forms
  • Social security card
  • Money
  • Keys

Some of these items I recommend leaving at home with your parents or someone you trust, if possible. Don’t risk losing them or having them stolen from you!

Bed & Bath

  • Bed sheets (usually XL Twin)
  • Pillows + pillowcases
  • Comforter + blankets
  • Laundry basket
  • Laundry items (detergent, dryer sheets, etc)
  • Towels (bath, washcloths, hand towels)
  • Bathrobe
  • Shower caddy
  • Shower shoes (flip flops)
  • Toothbrush + toothpaste + floss
  • Shower gel + shampoo + conditioner
  • Hand and body lotion
  • Perfume/cologne
  • Deodorant
  • Hairbrush
  • Nail clippers
  • Cosmetic products
  • Hygiene products
  • Shaving products
  • Foldable/handheld mirror
  • Air freshener
  • Humidifier

Clothing & Laundry

  • Pajamas
  • Underwear
  • Shirts
  • Shorts
  • Pants
  • Jeans
  • Sweaters
  • Dresses
  • Socks
  • Sweats
  • Rainjacket
  • Sportswear
  • Loungewear
  • Businesswear (formal clothing)
  • Swimwear
  • Hat + sunglasses
  • Jewelry
  • Sneakers + dress shoes
  • Gloves + scarves
  • Belts
  • Iron or steamer
  • Hangers
  • Shoe hanger/storage
  • Coat rack
  • Lint roller

Desk & School Supplies

  • A sturdy backpack or book/tote bag
  • Planner
  • Laptop + charger
  • Graphing calculator
  • Notebooks + loose paper
  • Pens + pencils + eraser
  • Highlighters
  • Rulers
  • Pencil case
  • Index cards
  • Sticky notes
  • Stapler
  • Extension cord
  • Earphones/headphones
  • Scissors
  • Hole puncher
  • Folders
  • Batteries
  • Envelopes + stamps
  • Desk lamp
  • Digital/desk clock
  • Small printer
  • Monitor + HDMI cord

Dorm Decor

  • Command strips/hooks
  • Posters
  • Decorative rug
  • Full-length mirror
  • Decorative lights
  • Cushions
  • Picture frames
  • Fan
  • Closet organizer
  • Jewelry organizer
  • Door decorations
  • Night light
  • Potted plants


  • Disposable masks
  • A small first aid kit
  • Utensils
  • Umbrella
  • Coin purse with lots of quarters
  • Small purse/bag
  • Portable charger
  • Water bottle
  • Water filter
  • Trash bags
  • Portable vacuum
  • Storage bins/boxes/bags
  • Electric kettle
  • Safe (for locking up valuables)
  • Bike + bike lock
  • Vitamins + pain-relievers
  • Melatonin
  • Mattress pad
  • Tissues
  • Hair dryer
  • Eye glasses
  • Hot/cold packs
  • Speaker
  • Snacks/food (cereal, hot chocolate, mac&cheese, popcorn, ramen, etc)
  • Mug
  • Bug spray
  • Earplugs

You’re reading What To Bring To Your Freshman Year Of College by Ellie from Sincerely Students. If you enjoyed this post, be sure to check out the rest of the blog and follow Ellie on Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram!


And that’s it! Of course, this post does not cover everything you need to bring to college, and you don’t need to hunt for every item on the list. Make sure to check your school’s regulations to make sure which items are prohibited! Bookmark this post if you need, and leave a comment if you have some unanswered questions.

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