College Checklist: Things Your Child Will Need To Bring To College

College Checklist

Sending your child off to college is one of your proudest moments. However, it can also be one of the most stressful. There is a lot to think about and plan for—after all, there is more to college than just the classes. Because of this, it is important that you and your child think ahead to the big day and plan for everything he or she needs to bring. While each child will have different needs, certain things are consistent. If you are beginning the packing process, this checklist can help you make sure your child does not forget anything!

The Basics

  • Textbooks – Today’s books aren’t always made of paper; eBooks are an affordable option for some schools.
  • Computer – A small laptop is almost a necessity. Students can use it to quickly take notes during class and for completing assignments and logging on to online classes.
  • Standard Supplies – Pens, paper, folders and notebooks are just as important for college students as for younger children going back to school.


  • Day-to-Day Clothes – Most schools allow students to dress very casually in class. Jeans, tee-shirts and sneakers are typically standard attire.
  • Dress Up Attire – Your child may want something a little fancy to wear to dances or other events as well as a couple of “dressy-casual” outfits for dates, job interviews and other occasions.
  • Accessories – Send plenty of socks and underwear!
  • PJ’s – Cute and comfy PJ’s are a must. Choose pajamas that can be worn around the dorms on lazy days.

Room Necessities

  • Kitchen Stuff – The rules regarding cooking and eating in the dorms vary from school to school. If your child will be enjoying meals and snacks in the room, don’t forget all the necessary cooking supplies.
  • Bathroom Supplies – Send plenty of shampoo, body wash and other toiletries. Likely you will be able to purchase these more affordably at home than he or she can purchase them on campus.
  • Bedding – Call the school to find out what size the beds are and make sure you send sheets that fit well. A blanket for cold weather is important too.
  • Everything Else – Will your child need to provide a lamp? Are posters and other decorations allowed to be hung in the dorms? Find out what is necessary to help your child feel at home in the dorm.

In Case of Emergency

  • Money – You want to make sure your child has access to money if he or she needs it for an emergency. A pre-paid debit card is a good solution for many families.
  • Important Papers – Your child may need his or her birth certificate, social security card and/or passport for travel or other opportunities. Order a new certified birth certificate for him or her and send these documents along in a secure file box.
  • Phone – If you don’t want to send your child off with a fancy new smartphone, at least consider a small, prepaid phone. That way he or she can easily reach you in an emergency.

As you can see, your average college student will want to pack quite a few things for his or her first semester away from home. This checklist is a great start, but make sure you look at any requirements put in place by your child’s particular school and that you think about any specific requirements you child may have. If you start planning today, the process will go much smoother and you will be prepared to send your son or daughter off to college—even if you aren’t “ready” to see him or her go!


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