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15+ Essential Items Every College Student Needs on their College Checklist

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.

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 let you in on what every college student needs, whether you’re going to be living on campus or not.

This post is going to show you 15+ items every college student needs on their packing list.

But first, here’s the short list:

Top 5 Amazon Recommendations

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

S'well Stainless Steel Water Bottle - 25 Fl Oz - Geode Rose - Triple-Layered Vacuum-Insulated Containers Keeps Drinks Cold for 48 Hours and Hot for 24 - BPA-Free - Perfect for the Go
  • TRIPLE-LAYERED INSULATION: S’well Geode Rose 25oz stainless steel water bottles feature triple-layered, vacuum-insulated construction, designed to keep beverages cold for up to 54 hours or hot for up to 26 with our exclusive Therma-S’well Technology. Each water bottle features unique colors, prints, patterns and textures, all while delivering superior functionality. Hand-wash only
  • THE PERFECT FIT: Our metal water bottles and beverage containers are designed with an opening wide enough for most ice cubes so you can easily refill and reuse it over and over. Whether you're hitting the road, bike trails, or the gym, you’ll find S’well fits just right in most standard-size cup holders
  • DON’T SWEAT IT: S'well beverage containers are insulated with a copper wall layer to eliminate condensation by providing an exterior that won't sweat on your hands or in your bag
  • WORRY-FREE HYDRATION: Your search for safety is over. All S’well containers are BPA-free and composed of 18/8 premium food-grade stainless steel. We are compliant with California Prop 65 regulations and our products are certified to meet all regulatory requirements by an independent and accredited testing facility
  • SUSTAINABLITY WITHOUT COMPROMISE: You won’t have to compromise fashion and functionality to live more sustainably with our sleek, beautifully crafted, built to last bottles. Every S’well purchased counts towards displacing millions of single-use plastic bottles. We proudly maintain the highest levels of verified social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability

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

Yoobao Portable Charger Super Mini 10000mAh Power Bank 20W Power Delivery Fast Charging, 2 Output & 2 Input USB-C Cell Phone External Battery Pack for iPhone 14/13/12, Samsung, Tablet, etc (White)
  • 【ULTRA-COMPACT POCKET-SIZE】- This portable power bank is super mini and pocket-size, easy to hold in hand or put into bag. Simple and elegant design, it's one of the must-have item for business trips and travel.
  • 【20W PD FAST CHARGING TECHNOLOGY】- The USB-C port adopts 20W Power Delivery fast charging technology, which makes the portable charger to charge your iPhone to 50% in 30 minutes (with USB-C to L cable). What's more, the 18W USB-A port supports most QC3.0 compatible devices, charging speed is much faster than ordinary battery bank.
  • 【2-INPUT & 2-OUTPUT】- It looks like there are only 3 interfaces, but it can achieve Dual Input & Dual Output functions. Actually, the USB-C port is not only for Input, but also for Output. It means you can have both USB-C Input, 8-Pin Input(for iPhone), USB-C Ouput, USB-A Output. It can charge 2 devices at once.
  • 【COMPATIBILITY & SAFETY】- This portable phone charger supports almost all smartphones, such as iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, iPad, Switch and other devices. The built-in intelligent chip identifies the device automatically to match the best output power and achieve the fastest charging. It also provides overcurrent, overdischarge, over voltage and short circuit protection to ensure stable and safe charging.
  • 【100% SATISFACTORY AFTER-SALES SERVICE】- Please kindly note that electronic products unavoidable have a few products that may not work. DON'T WORRY, if it happens, please contact us via Amazon message, we'll send a replacement to you.

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 on your phone while it’s charging (right there with ya!)

4. Airpods / Bluetooth headphones

Apple AirPods (2nd Generation) Wireless Earbuds with Lightning Charging Case Included. Over 24 Hours of Battery Life, Effortless Setup. Bluetooth Headphones for iPhone
  • Quick access to Siri by saying “ Hey Siri ”
  • More than 24 hours total listening time with the Charging Case
  • Effortless setup, in-ear detection, and automatic switching for a magical experience
  • Easily share audio between two sets of AirPods on your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Apple TV

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.

P.S. As a student, don’t forget your get your Prime Student 6 month trial!

5. Card Holder

Premium Leather Phone Card Holder - Stick On Wallet for iPhone and Android Smartphones - Minimalist Style with Non-Slip Lining Secures Up to 3 Cards Kangaroo (Rose Gold Leather) by Wallaroo
  • Freedom from Bulky Wallets and Purses: Say “good-bye” to outdated, overstuffed wallets or bottomless pit purses and “hello” to having your * together with this slim, leather phone wallet that’s only 0.2 inches thick and secures essentials like your ID, cash, and up to three credit cards without weighing you down
  • Premium Quality Just Like Your Phone: Sticking on imitation leather or cheap, silicone on your expensive smartphone doesn’t look very smart or last very long; Instead, show the world, “you’re worth it,” with 100% genuine leather, reinforced stitching, rich colors that scream luxury and premium materials likely to outlast your iphone
  • Protects Cash and Cards Like a Wallaroo Protects Her Joey: This minimalist, leather phone card holder is mighty in strength and security with a non-slip interior lining that grips your cards, cash and ID keeping them secure as you dance the night away, meet up at the local brewery with friends or hit the gym to work off that all nighter
  • Lethal Combination of Strength, Style and Convenience: Measuring 3.63 inches x 2.5 inches, this wallet phone case attaches to your cellphone with super strong 3M adhesive that’s immune to pocket heat, light moisture and sweat; It’s also compatible with contactless and Apple pay and works without removing your debit cards for convenience
  • Fits Smartphones and Cases with a Width of 2.5 Inches: Including: iPhone 13, Pro, Pro Max, Mini, iPhone 12, 12 Pro, Pro Max; 12 Mini, 11, 11 Pro and Pro Max; XR, XS, X, and 8; Samsung Galaxy S10, S9, S8, S7, and Galaxy Note 10, 9, 8, 7; Google Pixel 4, 4XL, 3, 3XL 2, 2XL, LG, HTC, and Sony Xperia; Also popular phone cases: Spigen, Otterbox, Lifeproof, Belkin, Speck, and of course Apple - Sorry, iPhone 5 or SE we don’t fit ya mate

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.

Definitely one of the things every college student needs!

Related: 30 Things that will Transform Your College Dorm Room

6. Mattress Topper

Lucid 3 Inch Mattress Topper Twin XL - Gel Infused Memory Foam – Memory Foam Mattress Topper Twin XL – Ventilated Design – CertiPur Certified
  • PLUSH FEEL – Our memory foam mattress toppers are designed to enhance a mattress, making your sleep experience more soft. Enjoy three inches of plush memory foam that is light, airy, and responsive.
  • GEL INFUSION – This Lucid memory foam mattress topper is infused with gel to help dissipate heat and regulate body temperature for a more comfortable sleep environment
  • VENTILATED DESIGN – Our gel mattress toppers are designed with ventilation to help dissolve heat with constant airflow, perfect for those who sleep hot.
  • PROTECT YOUR BED – Protect the life of your memory foam topper with a waterproof mattress cover. All Lucid mattress protectors are designed to accommodate both a topper and mattress in one enclosure.
  • EASY TO SHIP – We design all our Lucid Twin XL mattress toppers to ship from our home to yours in an easy-to-carry box. Unbox, unroll, and wait 24-48 hours for expansion.

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!

P.S. If you’re a freshman and need some ideas for your dorm next semester, check out this post on how to decorate your dorm room!

7. Desk lamp

TW Desk Lamps for Home Office - Super Bright Small Desk Lamp with USB Charging Port, a Perfect LED Desk Light as Study Lamp, Bedside Reading Lights, White
  • ✅[SIMPLE, ULTRA-EFFICIENT MODERN LED DESK LAMP] Created as a reading lamp for desk, this small lamp delivers a superior 500 lumen onto a space. The unobtrusive touch dimmer provides 3 level of brightness satisfies both task and ambiance lighting needs alike.
  • ✅[STURDY, HIGHLY MANEUVERABLE] Looking for a reliable dimmable desk lights for home office, reading lamps for bedside table, or a desk lamp for college dorm room, the IVY's 360° long-reach gooseneck allows you to redirect the natural, non-glare light wherever needed.
  • ✅[FAST CHARGING YOUR PORTABLE MOBILE DEVICES] For added convenience, a USB port is integrated into the sturdy small lamp base capable of fast charging your phone or devices in addition to providing you the lighting needs.
  • ✅[A PERFECT GIFT FOR FRIENDS AND FAMILY] Versatile and functional makes the IVY desk lamp a preferable choice as their work from home office lamp, college study lamp, kids desk lamp, and replacement for piano lamp and bankers lamp.
  • ✅[MAKE TO LAST] 12V plug-in power adapter included; use only 7 watts, up to 500 lumens, 80+ CRI, 4000 Kelvin; USB cords not included.

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

2022 Planner - Weekly, Monthly and Yearly Planner with Monthly Tabs, 6.3" x 8.4", January 2022 - December 2022, Thick Paper, Inner Pocket, Blue
  • STYLISH PLANNER - The smoothly faux leather cover planner is perfect choice for organizing your life. It featuring 12 months of monthly and weekly pages for easy full year 2022 planning and scheduling.
  • THICK ACID FREE PAPER - The planner 2022 (January 2022 - December 2022) features 136 white pages made from acid-free paper, which means it resists damage from light and air, ensuring long-lasting performance from one year to the next. The premium paper is environmentally friendly and protects eyes from strain because we use natural materials.
  • FUNCTIONAL & LAY FLAT PLANNER - Planner 2022 includes a convenient list of holidays, 2022-2023 reference calendars, 1 quick reference information, 2 contacts pages and extra 1 note pages to accommodate your scheduling needs. Use the handy pocket to stash business card, small items, or what ever you like. Planner lays flat for easy writing and ideal size to tuck in your handbag, diaper bag or carry-on!
  • LOOK BACK ON YOUR AMAZING YEAR! An attached elastic closure keeping the 2022 planner securely closed to reminisce about all your wonderful memories and social events.
  • SPECIAL SHOPPING EXPERIENCE - If you have any quality problems just return it and we will send you a full refund. Give us a chance and let us show you a great 2022 planner experience!

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

Hunter Womens Original Short Black Matte Rain Boot - 5 B(M) US
  • Hunter Size Chart
  • Note: Select your US size. Please be advised, the product and box will display UK, US and Euro sizing. For US sizing, both men's and women's sizing is displayed. Men's sizing is represented by "M" and women's sizing is represented by "F".
  • Strut the Hunter™ Original Short Boot down the streets, into the city and back to the countryside with ease.
  • Vulcanized natural rubber construction.
  • Signature Hunter logo on the front. Quick dry woven nylon lining. Multi-layer cushioned sponge insole. Please keep in mind that the buckle on this boot is merely decorative and should not be used as an aid to pull the boot on. Traditional calendared natural rubber sole. The brand advises that a white wax film may appear on the surface of the rubber boots and that it can be wiped off with a damp cloth. This "blooming" effect is not a defect. Blooming is caused when the boots are exposed to extrem

I promise you, there will come a day when your sneakers will not be enough.

10. Umbrella

Repel Umbrella Windproof Travel Umbrella - Wind Resistant, Small - Compact, Light, Automatic, Strong Steel Shaft, Mini, Folding and Portable - Backpack, Car, Purse Umbrellas for Rain - Men and Women
  • Black Umbrella Auto Open Function Makes For Easy 1 Handed Use: We built our travel umbrella with an automatic operation system, opening and closing with just the touch of a button. No more dealing with the hassle of manual rain umbrellas; easily closes to make getting into cars and buildings a breeze
  • Our Black Vented Umbrella Includes a Convenient Wrist Strap: Unlike cane umbrellas, our high quality umbrella comes with a wrist strap. Use the sturdy wrist strap on our foldable travel umbrella to provide extra security during heavy winds and rain, or simply to hang up when not in use
  • Many Praises for the Repel Easy Touch Umbrella: Featured on TV and on Wire Cutter, our compact umbrellas for rain are known for their durability, functionality, and size
  • Heavy Duty Umbrella Stands Up to All Weather: Our all black umbrella is engineered for battle. No matter how much rain, snow, or sunshine Mother Nature throws at you, this unbreakable travel umbrella's 9 reinforced fiberglass ribs hold up against the elements
  • Most Umbrellas For Rain Can't Stand Up to High Winds, But Ours Does: Single canopy black umbrellas are not built to withstand strong gusts of wind, easily bending and leaving you unprotected. Our windproof umbrella features a double vented canopy that allows winds to pass through without giving or breaking to keep you dry

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
PSSST Have you gotten your Prime Student 6 month trial yet? Click here to sign up!

11. Surge Protector

Power Strip, Huntkey Surge Protector with 12 Outlets and 2 USB Ports, 6 Feet Extension Cord (1875W/15A),12W USB-A,PD 18W Type C Port, ETL Listed, Black
  • USB C Outlets: The power strip inclues 1 USB-C port, 1 USB-A port, and 12 AC outlets of power strips powers up to 14 devices from a single wall outlet.
  • Room for All: 12 Outlet maximum rated power of extension cord surge protector is 1875W/125V/15A. The powerstrip designs extra space outlets for larger plugs.
  • High-Speed Charging: The power strip surge protector has 2 USB ports and long power strip surge protectors are total 30W. USB-A of Hentkey powerstrip delivers 12W (5V 2.4A).18W PD USB-C port of power surge strip can charge up to 2.5X faster than normal.
  • 2390J Surge Protector: Safeguards and overload switch of power strips can protect your devices against overcurrent, overcharging, overheating, and short-circuit.
  • All-around Protection: The extension cord with surge protector is listed ETL, FCC. and The power strips with surge protection use green materials which has a strong fire-resistance, grade: UL-V0.

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

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.

Every college student needs at least one of these!

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13. Laptop

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. Ever since I’ve gotten a Mac, I’ve never and will never look back! Highly recommend!

14. Small Vacuum

Dirt Devil Simpli-Stik Vacuum Cleaner, 3-in-1 Hand and Stick Vac, Small, Lightweight and Bagless, SD20000RED, Red
  • 3-IN-1: Tidy up your hard floors and rugs with powerful straight suction, or tackle tight, hard to reach places with the hand vac on-board crevice tool combo
  • EASY TO USE: Take the chore out of cleaning with this lightweight and powerful stick vac that easily transforms into what you need, when you need it.
  • ON BOARD CREVICE TOOL: For those harder-to-reach areas that need a quick clean, simply attach the on-board crevice tool to the end of the hand vac for an extended reach
  • HAND VAC MODE: Simply detach the hand vac and quickly clean up the dust, dirt and crumbs on furniture, counters, shelves, upholstery and drapes
  • GREAT FOR SMALL SPACES: The light, compact, and versatile vacuum design great for dorms, apartments, and small spaces to store, use, and clean up easily

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

Urban Habitat Cotton Comforter Set - Jacquard Tufts Pompom Design All Season Bedding, Matching Shams, Decorative Pillows, Twin/Twin XL (68 in x 92 in), Pink 5 Piece
  • The Urban Habitat Brooklyn Comforter Set will create a charming look to your space.
  • Featuring small cotton tufts, the comforter and matching shams add texture to this beautiful bedding set.
  • Naturally breathable and lightweight cotton fabric paired with hypoallergenic filling for a perfect all season bedding.
  • Set includes: 1 Comforter:68"W x 92"L, 1 Standard Sham:20"W x 26"L, 2 Decorative Pillows:18"W x 18"L/ 12"W x 18"L, 1 Euro Sham:26"W x 26"L + 0.5"Flange
  • Care instructions: Machine wash, delicate and separately. Tumble dry low. Spot clean decorative pillows.

items every college student needs

P.S. They both 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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Written by The Metamorphosis

The Metamorphosis is a lifestyle blog about the journey of college to adulting. Here you can find the tips for college, self-improvement, adulting, and more.

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