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15 School Supplies for College You Can’t Forget

This post is all about school supplies for college that students can’t forget!

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Back to school shopping is just around the corner! If you’re an early bird you probably already started.

When you go to the school supplies section of Target, Walmart, or wherever you shop, it can be very overwhelming. There’s a bunch of stuff everywhere and a lot of it looks very shiny and pretty and makes you think you need it all.

Well, this post is going to show you all the school supplies for college that you actually need.

I definitely used all of these throughout my 4 years at college.

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.


School Supplies for College:

1. Pens

Who would’ve thought you’d need something to write with? Lol, just kidding.

You definitely need pens in college. I absolutely love these because they feel really smooth when you write.


2. Scissors

Amazon Basics Multipurpose, Comfort Grip, PVD Coated, Stainless Steel Office Scissors, 3-Pack, Purple, Green & Gray
  • Multipurpose office scissors for cutting paper, cardboard, fabric, photos, and more
  • Includes 3 pairs of scissors, 1 gray pair, 1 green pair, and 1 violet pair
  • High-performance Physical Vapor Deposition (PVD) coated blades are stronger than stainless steel
  • PVD coated blades stay sharp beyond 100,000 cuts
  • Soft grip handles offer a comfortable hold; fit right or left handed users

Definitely get at least 2 pairs of scissors. I lost the first one so I had to go out and get another.

Scissors will come in handy when you have some unexpected crafts to do for class. If you’re living on campus and you have a kitchen in your dorm, you’ll also definitely need scissors to open your food sometimes.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve struggled to open things when I lost my scissors. Keep one in your room, and keep the other in your kitchen.


3. Dry erase markers

EXPO Low Odor Dry Erase Markers, Chisel Tip, Assorted Colors, 12 Count
  • Chisel tip for broad, medium, or fine lines
  • Low-odor ink formula erases cleanly and is ideal for classrooms, offices and home offices
  • For use on whiteboards and most non-porous surfaces
  • Bold color is easy to erase and easy to see from a distance
  • Includes: 12 dry erase markers in assorted colors

You probably overlooked this one.

I lived in a residence hall that had study rooms on each floor with dry erase tables (loved them!!). This made my studying more effective because I could draw diagrams and work problems on the table while studying.

They’ll also come in handy when you’re studying in the library. Some private rooms in the library may have whiteboards you can use to help with your studies. Having your own dry erase markers will save you a trip to the front desk to get some.

Lastly, you could also even score some points with your professor if you have a dry erase marker on hand when theirs dries out!

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


4. Calculator

Texas Instruments TI-30X IIS 2-Line Scientific Calculator, Pink
  • Robust, professional grade scientific calculator. Logs and antilogs
  • It has 2-line display shows entry and calculated result at same time
  • Easily handles 1 and 2 variable statistical calculations and three angle modes (degrees, radians, and grads) and scientific and engineering Falsetation modes
  • It has 1-year limited warranty
  • Solar and battery powered

Whether you’re a quantitative major or not, you’re going to need a calculator.

You’re going to have to take a bunch of general education courses in your freshman and sophomore years of college. It’s highly likely one of them is going to be a math class.


5. Three-hole punch

Bostitch Office EZ Squeeze™ Reduced Effort 3-Hole Punch, 12 Sheets, Blue (2103), 12 Sheet Blue
  • EZ Squeeze technology by PaperPro requires 50% less force
  • No-Jam technology for smooth, hassle-free punching
  • Metal construction for superior performance and durability
  • Integrated ruler for convenient measuring; paper guide for hole placement accuracy
  • Easy-clean chip tray for less mess; handle lock for easy storage

If you’re going to be using binders to keep your notes for class, I’d highly recommend getting a three-hole punch.

Instead of stuffing all of your handouts in a separate folder, use the three-hole punch to keep it with your notes.

Related: 12 Essential Items Every College Student Needs to Get Through the Semester


6. Laptop

One of the most important school supplies for college you need to have!

Some professors may actually require that you bring a laptop to every class (I’ve had a few of those). This is because some classes use online programs or websites to store the notes or have tests and quizzes.

Having a laptop is also more convenient because you can get your work done from just about anywhere.

If you don’t have a laptop just yet, you can check your school’s library to see if they have any on hand to lend to students.


7. Laptop bag/case

ProCase Laptop Sleeve Case, 14 inch Laptop Bag Compatible with MacBook Air 13 2020 M1/ 2022 M2, MacBook Pro 13 2021 M2, MacBook Pro 14 2021 2022 M1 Pro/Max -Light Grey
  • External dimensions: 14.5 x 10.5 x 1.5 inches, internal dimensions: 14 x 10 x 1.1 inches. Compatible with 15" MacBook Pro 2016-2020 / 13.3” MacBook Air, Surface Laptop 13.5” 15", HP Chromebook / Stream 14 / Pavilion N5000 15.6” / Pavilion, Lenovo IdeaPad Flex 5i 13.3” / Flex 5 14” / IdeaPad 3i / IdeaPad 1i 14” / Yoga, ASUS VivoBook 15 / Flip 14 / Pro 14 / Thin Light Laptop, Acer Spin 3 / Swift 3 14”, Dell Latitude E7470 / Inspiron 13 14, and most 13-13.3" notebooks
  • Simple but meet your every needs. Slim, portable and lightweight to take alone, or slide it into your briefcase, backpack or any other bag, perfect for business, school or travel
  • This laptop bag is made of premium durable Nylon and the inner lining is soft-touch microfibre, which can protect your laptop against dust, dirt, scratches, bump and shock
  • Extra pocket in front, enough space to keep pens, mobile phone, cables, chargers, power bank etc.
  • Sleeve bag can be fully opened at 180°, easily access your laptop

You’re going to need a durable laptop case for protection.

I wouldn’t recommend just carrying around your laptop without one. Especially if you carry food or liquids in your backpack as well.

This one is great because it’s padded and it’s waterproof.


8. Folders

Five Star 4 Pocket Folders, 6 Pack, Paper Folders, Fits 3-Ring Binders, Holds 8-1/2" x 11" Paper, Writable Label, Tidewater Blue, Harvest Yellow, Amethyst Purple, Forest Green, Fire Red, Black (38056)
  • Stay organized by writing the subject name on the writable label. Inside, vertical and horizontal pockets store 8-1/2" x 11" loose sheets and handouts.
  • Useful information is printed inside folder, including the periodic table, rulers and conversion charts for quick reference
  • Your papers stay protected from accidental spills with the durable, water resistant laminated paper surface. Folder is 3-hole punched to store in your favorite binder.
  • 6 pack available in Tidewater Blue, Harvest Yellow, Amethyst Purple, Forest Green, Fire Red, Black

I’d recommend getting a few folders to keep extra papers for class, student organizations, and any other extracurricular activities you engage in.

You may also need to store important handouts from programs on campus like study abroad information or scholarship applications.

Having a separate folder for each helps you stay organized and makes your life much easier.

I definitely would not recommend mixing your class notes with other handouts!


9. Mechanical pencils

No products found.

Because every other pencil is so….not the move!

These are my all time favorite. They come with extra led, and the eraser is so smooth. Plus, they feel amazing to write with and they’re more stylish.


10. 1″ binders

AVERY + Amy Tangerine Designer Collection Binder, 1"Round Rings, 175-Sheet Capacity, Hatch mark Hearts (28320)
  • Follow your heart with this Amy Tangerine Designer Collection Durable Binder; 3 ring fashion binder is reprinted with the Hatchmark Hearts design
  • Make your mark with this sturdy 1 inches durable Avery, binder; holds up to 175 sheets and includes two interior pockets for extra storage
  • Your Amy Tangerine binder organizer is ideal for school, home and everyday use; Simply follow your heart
  • The binder will stand up to everyday use in your backpack and at home, backed by Avery's product guarantee
  • Customize you cover and spine with free templates at very

I’d highly recommend getting different 1″ binders for each of your classes instead of the one big one.

This is because the bigger ones are very bulky to carry around and they make your backpack heavy. They also force you to carry around notes and other information for classes you may not have that day.

Having the smaller binders for each class allows you to just carry what you need on that day.

Related: 10 Backpack Essentials Every College Student Needs to Have


11. Planner

PHERAL FIT Lilly Pulitzer 17 Month Large Agenda 2017-2018 (Flamenco Navy)
  • 17 month agenda, runs August 2017 - December 2018
  • Contains weekly, monthly and yearly views
  • gold elastic closure and gold spiral
  • Interior pockers
  • 8 7/8"w x 6 3/4"h

One of the most crucial school supplies for college! Like I said in my post on backpack essentials, you’re schedule going to be like a roller coaster.

One minute you’re going to have absolutely nothing due; then have 4 exams and 6 papers due the next week.

Your planner helps you see what your calendar of assignments and events is looking like so you can plan out your work.


12. Notebooks

No products found.

Of course, you’re going to need notebooks!

I recommend spiral notebooks because they feel lighter and it’s easy to just rip a page out of you need to.


13. Highlighters

SHARPIE 27108PP Accent Pocket Style Highlighter, Fluorescent Yellow, 6-Pack
  • Vivid yellow shade adds colorful emphasis to highlighted text
  • Easy-glide, narrow chisel tip is great for highlighting, underlining or writing notes
  • Resists smearing of many pen and marker inks (let ink dry before highlighting)
  • User-friendly, quick-drying, and odorless AP certified formula
  • Includes: 6 fluorescent yellow highlighters

Highlighters are one of the most crucial school supplies you need for college!

They help you keep your notes organized and focuses on the information that is important.

Having a few colored highlights helps you sort your notes into categories or highlight depending on importance.


14. Sticky notes

Post-it Pop-up Notes, 3x3 in, 12 Pads, America's #1 Favorite Sticky Notes, Beachside Café Collection, Pastel Colors, Recyclable (R330-12AP)
  • 3 in x 3 in, Dispenser Notes, Beachside Cafe Collection
  • Always there when you need to capture great ideas
  • Accordion-style notes are specially designed to work in Post-it Note Dispensers
  • Unique adhesive designed for use on paper or in planners
  • Use for notes or reminders to yourself or others

This is an absolute must-have for college. There are many ways you can use them!

Personally, I’d add them to my planner if I needed to write an extra note where I didn’t have space. I’d also use them for that same purpose in my notes.

I also used them on my bulletin board in my room for all the things I had to do that day/week.

Related: 30 Things that will Transform Your College Dorm


15. Stapler

OfficeGoods Acrylic Stapler - Gorgeous Modern Accessory for The Stylish Desk at Home, Office, or School - Takes Standard 1/4" Staples - 5.25" Long - Gold
  • No need to sacrifice style for necessity! OfficeGoods Clear Acrylic Stapler is just as reliable as more boring-looking brands while looking gorgeous at the same time. They unite acrylic and metal to transform your desk from a workstation to a place of inspiration. Available in gold, silver, blue, green, pink and purple.
  • This unique stapler can staple up to 15 sheets at a time. It measures 5 7/8" x 2 3/4" x 1 3/8", with a reach of 3.25". OfficeGoods manual acrylic staplers take standard 1/4" staples.
  • This cool desk accessory works like any other stapler, and its beauty makes it perfect. It's a standard-sized stapler with plenty of weight, so you're not compromising results for the sake of style. It makes a great gift to congratulate someone on their new job, or a promotion.
  • The product is packed carefully to ensure safety during shipping. Comes in a box easy to wrap, making this a great gift for a new job, promotion, or even a graduation present for someone heading off to college!
  • This product is produced in a facility that operates under international regulations for product quality. OfficeGoods offers desk sets that match the stapler, such as scissors, stapler removers, and more. For product longevity and optimal performance we advise replacing the staple strip with a new one when it's down to 5 staples.

I promise you, you’ll need one.

With all the papers you’re going to write, and projects you’ll have to print out, you’ll definitely need a stapler.

It’s always better to have one on hand in case your classmate or library doesn’t have one available.

The last thing you want is to have to bend the corners of your paper to turn it in because you didn’t have a stapler!



This post showed you 15 must-have school supplies for college. Like it? Share it on Pinterest!

15 school supplies every college student needs


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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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