13 Essential Items Every College Student Needs to Get Through the Semester

This post is all about items every college student needs. Affiliate links are used ~ meaning that *at no cost to you* I may earn a commission if you make a purchase. Full disclosure can be found here.

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You’re probably about to go buy out the entire college section at Target – don’t.

I know what you’re thinking because I’ve been there. It’s exciting to think about starting a new semester, especially if you’re going to be living on campus.

If you’re a freshman, you’re probably overwhelmed with trying to decide what to bring to college and how to decorate your dorm room.

And on top of all of that, guess what?!

In all of your excitement, you’re probably still going to forget to get some of the things you’ll absolutely need throughout the semester. So I’m going to help you out with this post!

This post is going to show you 13 items every college student needs on their packing list.


Items Every College Student Needs:

1. The Ultimate Study Planner


study planner the metamorphosis

Check it out!

If you often struggle to keep your notes organized then these Study Planning Sheets will be your best friend. The best part is that you can print out these sheets as much as you like because they’re yours for life. 

Use them throughout college to achieve insanely organized notes! We also have a guide on How to Use The Study Planner that will help you out!


2. Swell Water Bottle

swell bottle every college student needs

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I got one of these as a gift and I must say that it was the gift I didn’t know I needed!!!

These water bottles are designed to keep your drinks hot for 12 hours, and cold for 24 hours.

I used mine all the time for my smoothies and tea when I would study late in the library.


3. Portable Charger

portable charger every college student needs

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Another great essential for college life. If you’re out and about, you’re not always going to have time to charge your phone.

Also, if you don’t have an extra long charger, you may be inconvenienced when you have to use your phone while it’s charging. With this portable charger, you can be the sloth you want to be in bed while on your phone while it’s dead (right there with ya!)


4. Airpods / Bluetooth headphones

apple airpods college students need

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Let’s be real for a second – Apple really had us messed up when they removed the port for your headphones in the new iPhones. Now, you can’t even charge your phone and listen to music at the same time.

It’s better to get the Airpods because they’re Bluetooth enabled so you don’t have to deal with that problem. You also don’t have to deal with your wire getting caught in something when you’re trying to listen to music and ignore everything around you.


5. Card Holder

card holder for college students

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I was late to this party because I thought it looked tacky. However, I soon realized how vital this little thing is.

No one wants to carry around their purse or wallet with them everywhere they go. Sometimes you just don’t want to carry anything if you’re just making a quick run.

These card holders come in handy when you’re going out because you can easily store your ID and possibly a debit/credit card and access them quickly when you need to.

Related: 30 Things that will Transform Your College Dorm Room


6. Mattress Topper

mattress topper for college student needs for dorm room

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I remember when I tried to do without my mattress topper my sophomore year of college because I was too cheap to buy another one. Never again.

I was extremely uncomfortable when I slept which led to me not really sleeping much. I also woke up feeling sore and had back pains throughout the day.

Dorm beds are arguably one of the most uncomfortable things you can sleep on. You seriously need a mattress topper if you’re going to make it through to the end of the semester!


7. Desk lamp

desk lamp with usb charging port for college students

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I promise you, your overhead light in your dorm room will not be enough.

I don’t know about you, but mine was as dull as I don’t know what. It barely made a difference.

If you’re going to be doing your makeup, homework, our you just want to SEE, get a desk lamp.


8. Planner

stay focused planner for college students

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You might be thinking, “I don’t need this I can remember things if I commit it to memory.”

Please don’t do this to yourself.

At some point in time, you’ll be bombarded with assignments and events/activities for student organizations. It’s going to be very hard to try to remember it all and it can put you under unnecessary stress if you forget.

Do yourself a favor and get a planner and your life will be so much easier!


9. Rain boots

rain boots every college student needs

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As I lay here in bed writing this, all I can think of is the time my sneakers got completely drenched on the way to class while it was raining. Here’s a little short story:

I’m pretty much a girly girl who only wears sandals, flats, and heels. I got my first pair of sneakers (white converse) and wore them on rainy days because that’s obviously better than wearing sandals right? Well not during that little surprise storm I just mentioned. 

Long story short – you need rain boots. Because I promise you, there will come a day when your sneakers will not be enough.


10. Umbrella

items every college student needs for rainy days

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While we’re on the topic – you definitely need an umbrella.

Don’t be inconvenienced and have to take cover when it rains. Do yourself a favor and get a good umbrella (not one of those tiny ones that pretty much just covers your head alone).

Related: 30+ Dorm Room Storage Ideas to Maximize Your Space


11. Surge Protector

power strip for college dorm room

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You know who has time to switch out cords in the outlets all the time? No one that’s who.

Getting a surge protector will safely allow you to plug in all your devices PLUS avoid having to crawl behind your furniture to plug/unplug something.


12. Towel Wrap

items every college student needs

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You know who has time to hold their towel up to prevent it from slipping every 5 seconds? You guessed it. No one.

This is literally one of the best things I’ve ever bought. Like it’s so minor but it’s brought me so much joy. Anyway.

You definitely won’t regret getting one of these!


13. Laptop

apple laptop for college students

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A laptop is definitely one of the most important items every college student needs.

Although this can be expensive, it’s definitely a worthwhile investment.

I’d recommend investing in a good laptop that will last you your entire college career.

I had a cheap one during freshman year and I had to get a new one because it stopped working.


14. Small Vacuum

vacuum every college student needs

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If this is already on your list, congrats! You’re already off to a better start than I was (luckily my roommate had one).

If you’re going to be living on campus you absolutely need a vacuum! This one is small so it’s conveniently stored and it gets the job done.

You’re going to spill your food on the floor every now and then. You’ll also have room checks by your RA so you’ll definitely need this mini vacuum!


Honorable mention: College Dorm Room Bundles

campus living lilac dorm room essentials bundle for college students    campus living pink dorm room essentials bundle for college students

Click here to view the lilac bundle!         Click here to view the pink bundle!
P.S. They come in a lot more colors and designs!

Shopping for your dorm room can be a bit overwhelming sometimes. These college bundles make your life a heck of a lot easier because they include all the basic items you need like your comforter, mattress, topper, sheets, and more.


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13 items every college student needs to make it through the semester


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