30 “Must Haves” for Surviving College

Getting set to pack up and head to college is super exciting. If you’re gearing up to do this, we’ve put together a list of miscellaneous things that’ll make your first year of college much easier: college must haves. Consider getting these items to survive your first years at college!

At no extra cost to you, College Raptor may earn a commission for purchases using our links. Learn more

30 College Must Haves

1. extra set of Bedsheets

AmazonBasics microfiber sheet set. Click to view its Amazon page.

Unexpected guests or mid-homework drink spills? An extra sheet set will save you from having to do late-night laundry making it top our list of “things college students need.”

2. A fan…or 4

Holmes 8 inch fan. Click to view its Amazon page.

Dorms often lack temperature control, which means no furnace or AC control. But, cool air is a thing college students need—especially during warmer months. So, consider getting two fans, like a big oscillating one, and a clip-on for your bed or desk.

Bonus: they also double as white noise for focus!

3. At least one big microwaveable bowl

Sweese porcelain fluted bowl set. Click to view its Amazon page.

What you’ve heard is true—college kids may eat a lot of Ramen, soup, and microwave meals. You can always eat in the dining hall, but eating in your dorm room is convenient. So, one thing college students need is a large microwaveable bowl.

Bonus tip: make microwave macaroni and cheese, just sneak some dining hall milk!

4. Noise-canceling headphones

These are some of the best things to buy for college. They are a lifesaver if your dorm is noisy and you need to study. Invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones for library sessions, bus rides, or quiet moments. Use them for studying, de-stressing, working out, or jamming out!

5. Cleaning Wipes

Your college life may be busy. And your dorm is sure to collect dirt. Having cleaning wipes at your fingertips is non-negotiable. Keep dirt and germs away!

6. Coffeemaker

Not everything on campus is open when you want or as close by as you’d like. Being able to have coffee right from your room can be a huge help for early-morning classes or late-night study sessions. Trust us, this is a thing college students need.

7. Desk lamps

Dorm rooms are notorious for having terrible lighting, either way too bright or not bright enough. We recommend getting a desk lamp for your room so you can see your half of the room at night without disturbing your roommate too much. This is one of the best things to buy for college—it’ll help you study well!

8. Shower Caddy

Many dorms have shared bathrooms, so you may not be able to leave your products in the shower. Put everything you need in a shower caddy for easy transport. Pro tip: if your dorm shower doesn’t have a shelf or hook nearby for your caddy, one of the things to buy for college is a hard-bottom caddy so you can set it on the floor without it getting waterlogged and soggy.

9. mini toolkit

Apollo general repair hand tool set. Click to view its Amazon page.

A quick way to make friends is to have a toolkit. We definitely recommend adding this to your list of things to buy for college. You never know when you’re going to need a screwdriver and that cute co-ed down the hall might need help assembling something.

10. surplus of school and office supplies

Whatever school supplies you plan on using, make sure you have a surplus. School supplies are always on the list of things college students need. In a pinch, when you need something you’ll be thankful you don’t have to make a special trip out or wait for an Amazon order.

11. Extra long TV cable

Mediabridge TV cable

Cable hookup way too far from where you want your TV to be? Solution: extra-long TV cable. This college must have tops the list of things college students need in undergrad and into full-blown adulthood.

12. cozy, colorful rug

Superior area rug with polka dot design. Click to view its Amazon page.

Dorm rooms aren’t very colorful. The floor can be drab and the walls may be neutral-painted concrete. So, one of the best things to buy for college is a rug that adds comfort and a homey feel. You’ll spend a lot of time in your dorm, so bring it to life with some color.

13. Trash liners

Simplehuman white drawstring trashbag. Click to view its Amazon page.

You’ll be amazed how much trash you accumulate in a short amount of time. Having plenty on hand will help you haul your trash to the dumpsters or trash chutes—they’re one of the best things to buy for college.

14. First Aid Kit

Accidents happen and it’s good to be prepared. A small first aid kit in your room can be your best friend when you have a small emergency.

15. Mattress Topper

Mattresses in dorm rooms aren’t very comfy and may have a plastic feel to them. Invest in a good-quality mattress topper to get better sleep—this is 100% one of the things college students need.

16. Command hanging strips and hooks

Command mounting strips multi-pack. Click to view its Amazon page.

The unsung heroes of dorm life! Hanging a mirror, check. Adding art to your walls, check. A place to hook your towel after a shower, check.

17. pile of pillows and blankets

Two white Beckham Hotel Collection pillows. Click to view its Amazon page.

Making your dorm room feel like home is important. Add a bunch of pillows and a couple of blankets. That way, you’ll have a comfy space to sit on your bed, extra pillows to sit on the floor with, and blankets to keep warm and to share with guests.

18. big calendar (desk or wall) in addition to your planner

2019-2020 Nekmit monthly wall academic year calendar. Click to view its Amazon page.

You’re less likely to forget something important coming up if there is a big calendar on the wall. You could also fill it out with your roommate so you know where each other will be each day. A calendar to go along with your planner is a college must have.

19. backpack

Blue Modoker vintage laptop backpack. Click to view the Amazon page.

Your backpack will go everywhere with you. So a good quality and comfortable backpack is a must have to last you all 4 years and save your back!

20. Reusable Water Bottle

A reusable water bottle = less trash and fewer cases of water bottles you’ll need to lug up and down the stairs to your dorm.

21. Flipflops for the shower

Bathrooms and showers can be gross, but these flip-flops are a sanity (and foot fungus) saver!

22. Storage Options

AmazonBasics grid wire storage shelves. Click to view its Amazon page.

Make the most of your space with storage bins or cubes. Dorm rooms can be small and you’ll need a space to store snacks, school supplies, shoes, clothes, and all the extras.

23. Air Freshener Spray

3 Citrus Magic orange-scented air freshener cans. Click to view the Amazon page.Small space, big smells. Air fresheners are a major must have for any college space—never worry about bad smells ruining the atmosphere with one of these on hand. 

24. ethernet cable

Coiled white Cat 6 ethernet cable with clips. Click to view the Amazon Page.

College essential: Ethernet cable. Dorm Wi-Fi can lag with everyone online. Plug in for faster, reliable internet—essential for homework and last-minute projects.

25. Mini Fridge

Dorm essentials: Mini fridge for cold items and a microwave for quick meals. Even without a full kitchen, you can keep snacks and drinks handy in your room.

26. spare phone chargers and battery

Low phone charge can sneak up on you. Carry a spare charger in your backpack. Plug in during library sessions or meals, ensuring a fully charged phone wherever you go!

27. flashlight and/or booklight

Black GLAREE keychain flashlight. Click to view its Amazon page.

For mismatched sleep schedules with a roommate, grab a book light. This way, you can study in peace without disturbing their sleep with bright overhead lights.

28. AA and AAA batteries

Energizer combo battery pack

Pretty self-explanatory. Calculator. Book light. Fan. Remotes. All of these things college students need require batteries. Keep batteries in your dorm or you may find yourself knocking on doors to ask for spares.

29. lap desk

Sofia and Sam wood-design lapdesk with laptop and mouse resting on it. Click to view its Amazon page.

Best invention ever: $11 lap desk with a cup holder. One of the best things to buy for college that lets your laptop breathe on a flat surface, not your lap!

30. Laundry Basket

Blue DOKEHOM laundry basket with handles and color varations. Click to view its Amazon page.

Laundry baskets make lugging your clothes back and forth from the laundry room so much easier. Pro tip: Get one that’s not see-through!

The list of things college students need has endless possibilities.

Looking to apply for scholarships to help offset the cost of college? Check out the Scholarship Search Tool to find scholarships you may be eligible for.

Looking for more tips on college life?  Our articles for your burning questions.

One thought on “30 “Must Haves” for Surviving College”

  1. Jinger Ertel says:

    Mini fridge! Even if you just use it for drinks, you need one! Also under bed storage. You won’t have a lot of space if you share a room!

Comments are closed.

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join thousands of students and parents learning about finding the right college, admissions secrets, scholarships, financial aid, and more.