Between shopping for your dorm room essentials, meeting your roommates, and attending orientation, it could be easy to forget the college school supplies that you ACTUALLY need for the classroom and studying. Supplies like pencils, notebooks, planners, etc.
School supplies for college look similar to those you’ll get while in high school but with a few twists. When you don’t spend all day on campus, optimizing your space is important. Proper preparation prevents poor performance!
Here’s a full list of college school supplies that every freshman needs:
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College School Supplies for Class
1. Pencils / Mechanical Pencils
Yes, some of us still use this archaic form of writing. There are lots of benefits to writing down notes with pencils: being able to erase mistakes, the ability to sketch out a design. Just make sure you buy a sharpener or additional lead.
- Ticonderoga Yellow #2 Pre-Sharpened Pencils (30 count)
- BIC Velocity Original Mechanical Pencil, Medium Point (0.7mm), 4-Count
2. Pens (various colors)
For a smoother, quicker, bolder note-taking experience, go with pens. Science also says that using various colors to write down notes will improve your memory. Can’t argue with science!
- BIC Xtra Life Ballpoint Pen (36 count)
- Zebra Pen Z-Grip Retractable Pen – Assorted Colors (24 count)
- Paper Mate Flair Felt Tip Pens (4 count)
When studying, highlighters are a saving grace. For the most part, you can mark up your textbooks like crazy even if you plan on selling it back–odds are the next student who orders a used book will thank you for the highlighting.
- Sharpie Pocket Highlighters – Assorted Colors (12 count)
- Avery Hi-Liter – Fluorescent Yellow (12 count)
4. Pencil Case
Rather than digging for pencils or pens at the bottom of your bag, keep all your school supplies in one neat place.
5. Note Cards
These are a college must-have. They are perfect for creating flash-cards to memorize facts, dates, vocabulary, or people. If you really want to step it up and study on the go, punch a hole through the cards and feed a clip-ring through.
- Ruled Index Cards (100 count)
- Oxford Neon Index Cards (300 count)
- Debra Dale Designs Color Bar Single Punched Index Cards (500 count)
Not everything is electronic, even nowadays. Most teachers will hand out physical copies of the syllabus and class project assignments, or hand back your printed papers with their feedback written on them. You can keep all these loose-leaf materials in one folder dedicated to the class. Organization is key to staying focused throughout the semester.
- STEMSFX Heavy Duty Plastic 2-Pocket Folder – Assorted Colors (6 count)
- Mead Five Star 2 Pocket Binder Folders – Assorted Colors (4 count)
While some students prefer taking notes on their laptops, science has proved that taking notes by hand is better for memorization and understanding the material. Therefore, you’ll need a notebook per class–or you could get one of the multi-subject notebooks and keep up to three classes in one.
- TOPS 1-Subject Spiral Notebooks – Assorted Colors (6 count)
- Mead Spiral Notebooks – Assorted Colors (6 pack)
Some classes will require three-ringed binders to keep class materials in. Most of the time they will come pre-punched, but if not you might want to invest in a three-hole punch as well.
Perfect for keeping papers together, these are a classic must-have for keeping things organized. Nice and simple.
10. Correction Pens (Whiteout)
Mistakes happen! If you notice a small typo or error right before handing in a paper or research project, you’re going to want some correction pens handy for a quick fix. They’re available in liquid or tape form for ultimate convenience. With a multi-pack, you can keep one in your desk at your dorm and one in your pencil pouch.
11. Planner / Agenda
College can get busy so keep it all organized in a handy-dandy planner. As soon as you’re given an assignment or paper, you can jot down the due date in your agenda and get a head start on it. All your due dates will be in one place and super easy to read. With this tool, you’ll never miss a deadline again!
You might have a residual backpack from high school, but you’re going to want to make sure you have a comfy backpack. Odds are you’ll be hauling material from one end of campus to the other. Having a backpack that distributes weight evenly and doesn’t hurt your shoulders or back is necessary.
Supplies for the Dorm Room
Most colleges will have printers readily available and give students an allotted amount of printed pages per semester. However, if you plan to do a lot of printing (we’re looking at you, fellow English majors), or don’t want to bother hiking out to a computer lab, it might be worth it to invest in a printer of your own. Keep in mind you’ll need to get ink, toner, and paper for your personal printer. You can even split the cost with your roommates or suitemates so everyone can use it!
2. Sticky Tack / Poster Strips
There are many ways to hang up posters around your room, but these are easy classics, and available just about anywhere.
Good for school and good for tasks around the room. Scissors are a must-have: whether you’re snipping the tag off a new shirt or cutting up definitions and gluing them to note cards.
4. Binder Clips
Sometimes a paperclip isn’t enough. For bigger clipping jobs, go with a binder clip. They come in multiple sizes so there’s always one up for the task of keeping a lot of papers together.
5. Duct Tape
An excellent tool for any occasion. Repairing a split flip-flop? Duct tape. Fixing a hole in your backpack? Duct tape. Have a rip in a folder? Duct tape. Want to shut your roommate up? Duct tape.
Tears happen. Whether in your notebooks, a text, or poster–use clear scotch tape to fix up those rips.
Have a research paper to hand in? Staple it and it’s ready to go! It’ll be nice and neat without any corner folds. Get one for your dorm desk and a mini hand-held one for your backpack. If there are any stapling emergencies, you’ll be prepared.
8. USB Flash-Drive
If you have to bring in a PowerPoint presentation or some pictures to show the class, a flash drive is one way to do it. Or if you need to transfer a lot of files to a different computer. Or handoff notes to a friend. There are a lot of reasons to keep a flash-drive handy. Though email always works too.
9. Dry-Erase Board / Cork-Board
Mount one of these above your desk and keep your schedules in check. You can use magnets or thumb-tacks to keep tickets or coupons in a noticeable place or hang up fun pictures. You’ll have your most important reminders right in your face!
- Quartet Dry Erase / Magnetic Cork Board
- The Board Dudes Black Frame Cork Board
- OfficePro Ultra-Slim Magnetic White Board + Accessories
College requires more than just your laptop and backpack. Yes, it’s important to have those things but getting real school supplies will help you throughout the semester. Stocking up before classes start will prevent you from panicking right before mid-terms or finals because you can’t find flashcards anywhere. Even if you don’t use it all in one semester, you can use all these supplies for your entire college career. Read your course syllabus to find which school supplies would benefit you best.
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