17 Things That Everyone Forgets To Bring To College

The summer before college starts tends to be a stressful time for everyone. You have to say goodbye to all of your friends. Scrounge up extra hours at your summer job to compensate for the fact that, in most cases, the summer between high school and college will be the shortest summer you have ever had. Then, of course, you have to actually gather all of your college dorm-approved belongings, pack them up, and head off to your new life at whatever college you’re attending.

It’s a lot! And, with all of this happening, it is unsurprising that most people tend to forget to pack some things here and there. It’s not the end of the world if you do, in fact, forget something–what was Amazon Prime invented for if not this very reason?–but it definitely feels better to head off to college knowing that you do, in fact, have everything you need. So, check out these things that pretty much everyone forgets to bring to college, so you know what you need to do to be prepared:

1. A mattress topper:


Buy this for $39.99 from Bed Bath & Beyond

My first year of college, I thought I would be okay without a mattress pad. Believe me when I say that I was 1000000% WRONG on this. College-supplied mattresses are not comfortable. They are hard, lumpy, and, in my case at least, tend to have stray springs poking out.  You need a mattress topper! And, just to be safe, make it a good one.


2. Plus a mattress protector:


Buy this for $37.99 from Target

If you’re allergy-prone, you’ll also want a mattress protector to help protect against dust mites and bed bugs without taking away comfort.


3. A first aid kit:


Buy this for $17.99 from Amazon

Hopefully, you won’t need it that often. But random cuts and scrapes do happen every now and then, and, when they occur, you’ll want Band-Aids and antiseptic right away. Save yourself the trouble of having to hobble over to Student Health to get a bandage and just keep a little first aid kit in your dorm room.


4. Medicine:


Buy this for $10 from Amazon

Obviously, if you’re on prescription medication, you need to bring that. (And make sure to clear it with your RA if it’s a controlled substance like Adderall.) But you should also bring things like ibuprofen, Nyquil, and aspirin for days when you have a headache or a bit of a cold. If you ever need any of these things, you’ll want it ASAP–not from the overpriced campus store.



5. Vitamins:


Buy this for $13.99 from Target

Dorms are fun, but they also tend to serve as a cesspool for germs–particularly during midterms and finals season, when everyone is tired and rundown anyway. So, it definitely can’t hurt to bring vitamins and Emergen-C to keep your immune system up when you can’t afford to get sick.


6. An extension cord:


Buy this for $5.95 from Global Industries

Your dorm room will probably have, like, two outlets. And, considering how many things you need to plug in (lamp, microwave, fridge, all your chargers), this won’t exactly be enough. Save yourself the trouble of having to fight with your roommate over outlet usage and spring for an extension cord now.



7. A pencil case:


Buy this for $5.99 from Yoobi

Think that college is the time to outgrow pencil cases? Think again! You will still be going to classes, and, presumably, you will have at least one professor who forbids the use of laptops in the classroom, and because of this, you will need a place to store your pens and pencils so you can take notes.


8. A sleeping mask:


Buy this for $13.06 from Etsy

Even if you have window treatments in your dorm, you’ll be surprised by how much stray light comes through. You might feel funny wearing a sleeping mask if you’re not used to it, but it’ll help you fall asleep easier.


9. Earplugs:


Buy this for $3.76 from Amazon

Dorms are loud. You’ll need some earplugs for those times when you have an exam coming up, and you really need your sleep, but room 4A down the hall is holding a pregame and doesn’t really seem to get the message.


10. A water bottle:


Buy this for $18 from Urban Outfitters

Hydration is important! And it becomes significantly easier to accomplish if you always have a water bottle with you. Lots of college campuses have extensions on water fountains that make it easy to fill them up, but, if not, you can get a water bottle that comes with a filter so you can fill it up with any tap you come across.


11. A stapler:


Buy this for $11.99 from The Container Store

A stapler isn’t one of those fun, sexy college items, but it is pretty necessary. And, of course, make sure it actually has staples in it–you don’t want to print out a paper at 3 AM, only to have your satisfaction marred by the fact that you have no staples and nowhere to get them.


12. A bathrobe:


Buy this for $50 from Bed Bath & Beyond

You’re almost certainly going to have a communal shower somewhere on your hall for your first year of college. Sure, you could just wrap yourself in your towel, but it’s a lot easier to go to and from the showers if you’re wearing a bathrobe.


13. Shower shoes:


Buy these for $2.50 from Old Navy

Speaking of communal showers, you’re almost definitely going to need a pair of shower shoes. You don’t need to get anything fancy–a cheap pair of rubber flip flops will work just fine.


14. Condoms:


Buy these for $9.49 from Walmart

I get that this might be an awkward thing to buy with your parents, so you might need to go out and get them on your own or wait when you get to school. But if you end up having sex with a guy, you need protection, and you’re probably not going to want to run out to that random bowl on campus where they keep the free ones. Keep some in your room just to be safe! (If you’re into girls, you might want to look into dental dams–they don’t look like the sexiest things in the world, but they’re good for protection against STIs and, since your campus might not supply them, they’re good to have around.)


15. Your retainers:


Buy this retainer case for $7 from Etsy

Don’t be the girl who has to have their parents send their retainers!


16. Rain gear:


Buy these for $122 from ASOS

No matter where you’re going to college, you’re going to need an umbrella, rain coat, and rain boots. You might not need them that often, but when you do need them, you really need them.


17. Extra socks and underwear:


Buy these for $25 from Pair Of Thieves

Doing laundry, as you will soon learn, is a big ol’ hassle. Bringing extra socks and underwear (and maybe a spare set of sheets) is a good way to prolong your time between every laundry day.



Are you going to college this year? Did I leave anything vital off of this list? Let us know in the comments!

You can reach the author, Sara Hendricks, on Twitter and Instagram.

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