Parents helping son with college packing list


Transitioning from high school to college can be one of the most exciting and overwhelming experiences of your life. Leaving your parents’ home, moving onto an unfamiliar campus, and juggling college classes isn’t an easy feat, but planning ahead is a surefire way to start on the right foot. 

As you pack up your belongings and get ready for the school year, follow this dorm room essentials checklist to ensure you have all the necessary school supplies you need to make your college experience a success! While packing for college may seem like a daunting task, Grossmont Center is a one-stop-shop to getting all of your school supplies for college students. Be sure to download our printable college packing list PDF to keep track of what you need to buy (and what you already have).


Electronic School Supplies for College Students

While online classes are becoming the new normal during COVID-19, it’s important to know that even in everyday circumstances, almost every class you take in college (whether in person or not) requires electronic devices like laptops and desktops. From computers for Zoom lectures to printers for turning in assignments, it’s crucial that you own or have access to these school supplies for college students. 

Printer and Ink

If you take in-person classes, a printer is crucial for turning in essays and other assignments. Try to get one with a scanner as well, so that you can scan documents for your online classes. If you don’t have the funds for a printer, don’t worry. Your college library has plenty of printers you can pay to use.


It cannot be stressed enough how important computers and WiFi are for college students. Whether you go to the computer lab or purchase your own laptop, make sure you have this school supply taken care of. Don’t forget about a good WiFi connection too!

Basic Computer Software

You might not think of computer software as a school supply for college students, but it definitely makes it on the list. Microsoft Office (Word, Excel, etc.) is the most common computer software you’ll most likely need, but you can reference your class syllabi for more specific information.

College student doing homework


Headphones aren’t mandatory, but they sure are a luxury worth having! Whether you’re studying in the library or working on online assignments in your dorm, it’s nice to have headphones to block out noisy distractions.

Graphing or Scientific Calculator

If you’re a math major, you already know calculators are going to be your best friend in college. For everyone else, it’s still important to have one on hand for general education classes.


Smartphones aren’t just used for texting and social media. They can also be considered a school supply for college students because of education-specific apps. Either look some up yourself or wait to see if your teacher recommends some.


Organizational School Supplies For College Students

Balancing five or six classes each semester is going to be stressful no matter which way you cut it, but with top-notch organizational skills, you can handle the challenge. Keep up-to-date on tests and important events, as well as develop efficient study methods with these school supplies for college students

Wall Calendar

Not only is a wall calendar a sophisticated piece of decor for your college dorm room, but it also comes in handy for staying on top of your schedule. Write down dates for trips back home, extracurricular activities, test dates, and more. 

Student Planner

In addition to a wall calendar in your dorm, grab a small planner you can bring with you to class and around campus. As you sit in lectures, take note of assignment instructions or due dates and prioritize your homework for that week. Student planners are optimum because you can easily reference them on the go.

Binders and Folders

A binder and folders are great supplies for keeping track of class assignments. Bring them to class or simply leave them in your dorm, so that papers aren’t strewn all over your desk. Walmart carries a wide assortment of binders and other organizational supplies for all your school needs.


You can use Post-Its for your wall calendar, note-taking, or even to write positive quotes to get you through the week! They’re multipurpose and easy to carry with you.

Index Cards

Index cards are a must if you have any class presentation or test. Use them as flashcards or write down keynotes for your speech. You can never have too many of these.

College student taking notes


Writing School Supplies for College Students

Being a college student in the Age of Technology doesn’t necessarily mean you’re exempt from using old-school supplies like pencils and notebooks. Yes, a majority of your work can and will be done on a computer, but there are plenty of classes that require you to complete assignments on pen and paper. Note-taking is another reason you should have these school supplies for college students handy at all times.  


Make your notes look extra pretty and organized with handy dandy highlighters.


Pens are a basic school supply every college student should have. Some teachers even require them for in-class essays, tests, and assignments. Have black or blue ballpoint pens for turn-in assignments, and save the neon colors for your own personal notes.


You can’t get through school without having pencils! Make sure to have No. 2 pencils because you’ll need those for test-taking on scantrons.

Notebooks, Loose-Leaf Paper, and Printer Paper

If you aren’t taking notes on a laptop, grab a few notebooks instead. Loose-leaf paper works too, just make sure you have a good way of keeping them organized.


Miscellaneous School Supplies for College Students

As you run through your dorm room essentials checklist, don’t forget to add these miscellaneous school supplies. Some of these are mandatory for your college success (textbooks, testing materials) and others are good to have for those rare school projects.

Glue & Rubber Bands

You most likely won’t need glue or rubber bands, but it’s better to have them just in case!


You never know when you’ll need a pair of scissors. Even if it’s not for class, you should have a pair in your dorm for daily life scenarios.


Just as glue and scissors aren’t hugely important but necessary, so is tape. Keep it on your desk for a rainy day.

Tiny Stapler

Ask any college graduate how important a stapler is and they’ll tell you it’s essential. Stapling your term papers and projects will be a regular occurrence (with in-person classes), so make sure you have one in your dorm. 

College student studying in library


Although textbooks seem like an obvious school supply for college students, some people are under the impression they aren’t necessary for online classes. Forget that notion! Physical textbooks are usually mandatory for both online and in-person classes. Make sure to visit Barnes & Noble to find all the books on your English syllabus.

Testing Materials

With COVID-19 and distance learning prevalent, test-taking may be completely online for college students in 2020. However, if and when you take in-person college exams, you’ll need scantrons and/or blue books. Your class syllabi will give you the specifics on which you need, but it’s crucial you have these all year long! You can purchase them on campus.


COVID-19 Supplies for College Students

Hand Sanitizer

Even in normal (non-COVID) circumstances, college students should have hand sanitizer. College campuses are full of germs and bacteria, so keeping your hands clean is imperative to your health. 

Face Mask

Just as you wear a COVID-19 face mask in everyday life, you need to wear them on campus as well. Have multiple in your dorm room and backpack, so you’re safe wherever you go.


Dorm Room Essentials for College Students

Depending on the college you attend, you may be provided with standard dorm furniture like desks. If that’s the case, awesome! If not, you’ll definitely want to consider adding these items to your dorm room essentials checklist

Dorm Room Furniture

Having to leave your dorm room to study can be inconvenient (especially at night), so bringing a comfortable chair to college is completely worth it. Target has a large assortment of ergonomic chairs to make sure you’re comfortable! If your roommate is sleeping, he/she won’t be happy with the room light on. Avoid unnecessary arguments by bringing a desk lamp to light up your study space during the wee hours of the night. Macy’s is the perfect place to pick up a stylish lamp that matches your desk. Lastly, don’t forget to buy storage bins and bed risers (where possible).

Twin XL Bedding

Make your bed the focal point of your dorm room with stylish college dorm bedding. You will need to select a comforter set, 2 sets of twin XL sheets, a blanket, and 1 or 2 pillows. Discover fashionable bedding in the Twin XL bedding options for your dorm room at Macy’s, Target, or Walmart. 

Dorm Room Decor

Every room needs a little personality. Don’t forget to accessorize with home decor from Grossmont Public Market or for a more elevated look, stop by Restoration Hardware Outlet for discounted items from this luxury brand!


That’s a wrap on school supplies for college students! Whether you take online classes or attend lectures in person, these school supplies are sure to set you up for success. Print out our College Packing List PDF  to make your school shopping experience at Grossmont Center is easy and organized! 

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