College Student Walking Around Campus with a Backpack

What to Pack for College

College life, with all its excitement and new experiences, is fast approaching. To start, you’ll need to gather your belongings and bring them to your new school. If you’re going to a college far from home, packing can be tricky or even stressful. Packing will be considerably less nerve-racking if you know how to go about it with a list. Knowing what to bring well in advance might also help keep your expenses under control.

We’ve compiled a checklist of what to pack for college to make things more convenient for you. However, it’s always best to confirm with your school to see what is and isn’t allowed before making any purchases or packing anything. Nevertheless, this list includes everything you’ll need, including a few extras to make your life a little easier.


  • Underwear
  • Socks
  • Pants (jeans, workout, casual)
  • Shorts
  • Shirts and sweaters
  • Business-casual clothes
  • Sweatpants
  • Pajamas
  • Light and heavy jackets
  • Cold-weather gear (hats, mittens, scarves, boots)
  • Swimsuit
  • Belts
  • Boots
  • Sneakers or walking shoes
  • Dress shoes
  • Slippers

Toiletries and Personal Care

  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Bath soap or shower gel
  • Deodorant
  • Toothbrush and toothpaste
  • Dental floss
  • Mouthwash
  • Loofah
  • Shaving kit
  • Prescription medications along with copies of the prescription (if applicable)
  • Hairdryer and curling iron
  • Comb and/or brush
  • Cotton swabs
  • Lotions
  • Nail clippers
  • First-aid kit

Bedding and Bath

  • Bedsheets
  • Pillow
  • Blankets and comforters
  • Towels (bath, washcloths, and hand towels)
  • Hangers
  • Detergent, dryer sheets, bleach, and fabric softener
  • Laundry basket or hamper

School Supplies

  • Notebooks
  • Paper, pens, and pencils
  • Planner or calendar
  • Index cards
  • Hole punch
  • Markers
  • Carrying bag for your books and other supplies
  • Tape
  • Stapler and staples
  • Sticky notes
  • Scissors
  • Mouse
  • Ruler
  • Binders and folders
  • Calculator
  • White-out
  • Pencil sharpener
  • Paper clips
  • Highlighters


  • Copy of birth certificate
  • Credit card
  • Debit card
  • Social Security card
  • Driver’s license
  • Car registration and insurance
  • Emergency contacts list
  • List of nearby health centers and hospitals
  • Enrollment documents
  • Financial aid documents
  • Health insurance information
  • Passport
  • Student ID
  • Address book

Household and Kitchen Items

  • Paper towels
  • Trash bags
  • Lightbulbs
  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Plastic storage bags
  • Food-storage containers
  • Dish soap
  • Tissues
  • Bowls, plates, and cups
  • Coffee mugs
  • Water bottle
  • Silverware
  • Can and bottle openers

Electronics and Equipment

  • Desktop or laptop computer
  • Tablet
  • Headphones
  • Speakers or stereo system
  • Chargers
  • HDMI and other cables you use
  • Desk lamp

The Bottom Line

If you pack all or most of these things for college, you’ll be well-prepared for the upcoming year. Keep in mind that you don’t want to overpack. Instead, only bring what you’ll need. If you ever run out of something, there are always stores on or around campus where you can pick up supplies.