Top 14 Things College Students Forget to Pack {FREE PRINTABLE}

college studentsWe all know to buy bed risers and under-the-bed drawers to create more space in a small dorm room. But check out my MUST HAVE list of Dorm Room essentials that most parents and college students forget to purchase! Trust me, your kid will thank you for it! 

Bedside and desk lamps with light bulbs: A lot of dorm rooms are small and dark, so extra lighting and back up light bulbs are a must. A bedside lamp is perfect for those nights your student wants to read in bed without disturbing their roommate. Desk lamps will be necessary for studying.  

Beach Towel: Trips to the nearby lake, the swim test during orientation, sitting on the quad on a beautiful day; a beach towel will come in handy! Extra bonus? Your student won’t have to dirty one of their bath towels.

Step Stool: College dorm rooms are tight on space and using your vertical space for storage is the key to maximizing it. A step stool lets you get to those hard to reach spaces. Get one that folds so they can leave it in the back of their closet to use when needed.

Flashlight: Odds are the power will go out in your student’s dorm room, floor or even building. Make sure to pack extra batteries so they are never without!

Batteries for Everything: Most of the things your student needs at college require batteries. Just think how happy they will be when it is 11:00pm, their mouse stops working and they can replace the batteries in an instant!

Luggage: Garbage bags and milk crates won’t cut it when it’s time to go home for fall break or Thanksgiving. Make sure they have a small weekender bag on hand for short trips home and a large duffle for longer breaks and vacation.

Printer: You may not think your student needs a printer, but get one. Sure they can print on campus, but when it’s 1:00am and their final paper is due the next day, they will be happy to have their own. Don’t forget to stock up on printer paper and extra ink cartridges.

Full-length mirror: Most dorm rooms don’t have a full-length mirror. So purchase one that your student can easily hang on the back of a closet door or prop on a wall.

Door Stop: Within minutes of moving in you’ll notice that your student’s floor mates will have their doors propped open as a “come on in” sign. Purchase a fun doorstop for your student’s room so they don’t have to use their desk chair or waste basket.

Tool kit: Want your student to be the most popular kid on their floor? Then pack them a tool kit. Something always needs fixing so make sure to stock it with screwdrivers, duct tape, and utility knife! Make sure to label each item so the items make it back to your student.

Alarm clock: Your student’s IPhone is NOT a reliable alarm clock. Trust us!

Humidifier: Dorms tend to be hot and dry so the added moisture will keep your student’s room more comfortable to live in, allergy symptoms under control and hopefully reduce the likelihood of them getting sick. Extra bonus? They are super small and quiet making them one of the best appliances to have!

Digital thermometer: College students get sick. A lot. So when you get that call from your student saying they don’t feel well, having an accurate read on how sick they really are will give you that peace of mind you so desperately need.

Garbage bags: Make sure your student has enough to line their wastebasket as well as large “lawn and leaf” size bags. Garbage piles up pretty quickly in college dorm rooms!


We love college students and have several resources to help them succeed. CLICK HERE for one of our favorites, Surviving First Semester Freshman Year of College.

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