20 Things You Wouldn’t Think to Bring to College


I think it is safe to say that thinking about college is exhilarating, to say the least. From finding out who your new roommate will be to figuring out what things you should bring to college…it’s hard not to get caught up in the excitement. While you’ll probably get consumed with YouTube tutorials and Pinterest projects, coming with ideas to make your dorm room look better than the rest – there are a few essential items you’ll need to bring to college with you that you might overlook.

1. A Brita filter

Yes, there are sinks in your bathroom, but come on, do you really want to drink that water – that water that you have no knowledge about the possible chemicals or germs in it? I didn’t think so. Brita filters will take away all the gross, harsh chemicals of your sink water AND it’s cheaper than buying a new pack of water every week or so. If you don’t have one to bring to college already, ask your roommate. If neither of you have one, go out and purchase one, it will be worth it.

2. Plastic dishes/utensils

Sure, there are dishes and utensils in the dining center, but those are not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a pack that you should store in your room. If you have a bowl or plate in your dorm room, you can easily bring food from home to microwave and eat. Despite what you think, you will eventually get tired of the food in the dining center…or there will be times when you just won’t want to leave your room. These utensils will come in handy during those times.

3. Cleaning supplies

You might think that once you get to college, you will keep your room neat and tidy. I hate to break it to you, but your room will get pretty disgusting at some point. No matter how hard you try to keep it clean, there will come a day when someone spills vodka or Naked Juice on your rug and you will have to clean it up. This is why it is SO important to bring to college things like Clorox wipes, dish soap, and a vacuum (probably the most important of them all). Your mom won’t be there to clean up all the messes you make – trust me, I learned the hard way.

4. Garbage Bags

My roommates were smart enough to bring some, I however, was not. You will have garbage piling up faster than you think and you will need to take your own garbage out, whether it be outside to the trash or across the floor to the shoot. And you don’t want your garbage falling out onto the floor or onto you – so get bags that are sturdy and durable. A good tip to keep in mind for when you run out of garbage bags, or forgot to get some, is to save plastic bags from grocery stores, they work fine.

5. Medicine

If you get as lucky as I did, you will get sick within the first few weeks of school. A new environment, tons of new germs floating around, and probably lots of partying all make for the perfect concoction for getting sick. This is why you should bring to college a couple different medicines like Ricola or Alka-Seltzer. You don’t want to be responsible for getting your roommate/floor mates sick because you didn’t take any medication. Also, bring vitamins to stay healthy, but do not eat them on an empty stomach because you will throw up – believe me, I have witnessed it and it is not pretty.

6. Extra socks/underwear

You will go through these SO quickly. You may think you have plenty of underwear, then in 3 days you will realize you don’t have nearly enough. I mean, you can do your laundry, but who wants to be doing that every weekend when you can be out partying?

7. Apple TV

Some colleges might not allow this, but if yours does, definitely get it. It really comes in handy if you don’t have cable or want to watch Netflix on a bigger screen than your laptop or cellphone. It also has a bunch of other TV networks that you can log into with your TV provider from home (plus it’s free) and totally worth it if you need to catch up on things like Pretty Little Liars or The Bachelor.

8. Amazon Prime membership

Luckily, students get a discount on prime so instead $99 a year, it’s only $49! But, if you still don’t want to pay that, you can get a free 6-month trial, you just have to sign up with your college email and you get to use prime completely free for 6 months. After the trial is up, you will be charged $49 so just be aware. Prime comes in super handy when you need to order a book for class…that you need by the end of the week…and can’t find it on campus…and don’t have the time to wait 2 months for it to ship out to you.

9. A power strip

I know that a lot of schools don’t even allow you to have one, but it’s something you should bring to college anyway. No one is going to barge into your room and bust you for having one. I promise. They are so convenient when you need to charge/plug in multiple things at once. There are only so many outlets in those small dorm rooms, so you want to make the most of them.

10. A chair/futon

Not every dorm will have room for a futon, however, if you can fit one, I highly recommend it. Otherwise you should bring to college some kind of chair (preferably one that folds) that you can use when you have people in your room (or when you just don’t feel like climbing up onto your lofted bed).

11. A water bottle

College life can get pretty hectic. Between coffee and alcohol, it can be tricky to remember to drink enough water! Bring a cute and colorful water bottle and bring it with you everywhere so you always remember to stay hydrated.

12. Something with fur, scales or wings!

Nothing relieves the stress of a long school day more than coming back to my apartment and seeing my pet mouse, Prince Versace. Check with your dorm staff or apartment complex to see if and what kinds of pets you allowed to bring to college. We all know pets are a huge financial responsibility so make sure you pick one that you know you can handle.

13. An old photo album

Looking back at old photos can remind you of a lot of really awesome memories, which you might need to get you through a particularly hard day! Whether it was that photo of the birthday party at Grandma’s house where the cat got in the cake, or that goofy group pic at summer camp; every picture is guaranteed to make you laugh, smile or cry (tears of joy!).

14. Board games

Technology is nice, but trust me, there will come a time when you get tired of playing the games on your phone and you’re going to want to play a good ol’ fashioned board game.

15. Ear plugs

Snoring roommates, slamming, drunk party-goes and loud music – dorms can get very loud, especially on the weekends; if you like sleep, ear plugs are something you MUST bring to college!

16. Ramen Noodles

“What?? But Ramen noodles are so blasé!” Oh, you’d be surprised by your acquired taste for them when you see 2 feet of snow outside, keeping in mind that your dining hall is about a 10 minute walk away.

17. Decorations!

When your favorite holiday comes around GET FESTIVE! From scary Jack O’ Lanterns to bright, twinkly string lights, there’s so much you can bring to college to make sure you’re dorm is holiday deco ready!

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18. A full length mirror

If you’re a fan of taking #OOTD pics, you’re definitely going to want to bring a full length mirror for your room, unless  you plan on standing on your bathroom sink and squatting to fit your whole body in your cabinet mirror…which I totally wouldn’t recommend.

19. A door stop

Within the first 5 hours of moving into your dorm, you’ll realize that people are really interested in making new friends, so a lot of people will have their doors propped open (and you may want to do the same) with chairs as a “come on in” sign. Go one step further and bring a cute little door stop for the room, this way you don’t have to sacrifice your chairs or other valuable items in order to make friends (Dramatic? Maybe a bit, but seriously, get that door stopper).

20. A sewing kit

Accidents happen and a sewing kit may come in handy – you never know.

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I would have never thought about some of these things to bring to college!

Anything else you might not think to bring to college? Share in the comments!

*Article Contributors: Victoria Bobrowski and Alexandria Best


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Erin Mahoney

Graduate of Emerson College '15 with B.S. in Multimedia Journalism. Originally from Haverhill, MA. Lover of dogs, shoes, hot sauce and depleting my bank account.

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