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College Packing List PDF
College Packing List PDF
No. Of Pages: 1
PDF Size: 891 KB
Language: English
Category: General
Source: Official Website

College move-in day is a much-anticipated rite of passage for first-year students. Of course, it will look different this year, regardless of whether your student’s institution reopens for in-person or online courses. However, because students may be spending even more time in their dorm rooms—whether attending online classes or hanging out more because sports and other activities have been cancelled—it is more important than ever to use a good college packing list to ensure they have everything they need to be comfortable and safe.

Your son will finally meet his potential roommate and the place he’ll call home for the year when the college he chooses to attend opens for the fall 2020 semester or quarter. So far, I’ve had the privilege and honour of sending two of my three boys off to college, and we’ve learned a few things about the packing process along the way.

College Packing List for Guys

Of course, requirements and desires change depending on the child, but this is what you MUST carry.


This category is dependent on your child’s college’s environment, but in general, remember that winter apparel such as parkas, boots, and rainwear can usually wait until Thanksgiving break, assuming their school is even in session beyond Thanksgiving.

  • 3-4+ pairs long pants
  • 3-4+ pairs shorts
  • 10 t-shirts
  • at least 5 long-sleeve shirts or button-down shirts
  • all-purpose jacket
  • vest or fleece (or both)
  • sweatshirts and sweat pants (lounge wear)
  • underwear and socks
  • swimsuit
  • workout clothes
  • sleepwear
  • quarters if needed for laundry!
  • shoes, including flip-flops for the shower

Dorm Room

  • under-bed storage bins
  • mattress topper
  • bed risers (sometimes provided by the school)
  • portable fan
  • extra-long twin sheets and comforter/pillow cases
  • pillows (more than one!)
  • electric kettle
  • diffuser (no candles allowed in most dorms)
  • a few cooking supplies if there’s a communal kitchen
  • a simple coffee maker if needed
  • two bath towels (one will always be in the hamper)
  • hamper (the mesh bag kind seem the most popular with boys)
  • electrical strip and surge protector
  • wall hangings, posters, or tapestries (they really go a long way to brighten things up)
  • string lights (guys like them too!)
  • area rug
  • clothes hangers (more than you think you need)
  • college-approved wall adhesive
  • bulletin board or wipe board

Bathroom and Personal Use

  • first aid supplies (I create my own kit of bandages and OTC medications and remedies in a shoebox)
  • hand sanitizer (large pump for the room and smaller bottles for the back pack), face masks (disposable and reusable/washable as you don’t want them wearing the same one all semester), sanitizing spray and wipes
  • condoms (yep)
  • toiletries and a way to cart them back and forth to communal bathrooms
  • a collection of batteries and chargers
  • noise-cancelling headphones (my college students couldn’t live without these)
  • small assortment of bowls, a plate, a few utensils, and coffee mugs/water bottles (even if they’ll eat most meals in dining halls)
  • change/cash for bus fare, laundry, etc
  • outdoor gear and equipment (climbing gear, ski/snowboard gear, paddling gear…if needed)

School Supplies

  • books for fall semester (take a trip to the school bookstore with your student and buy his first round of books…but make sure he’s with you to see how much they cost!)
  • pads of paper/notebooks
  • scissors
  • tape (scotch and duct)
  • binders (2-3 to start)
  • scientific calculator if needed
  • post-it notes, index cards, and other studying materials
  • laptop computer of your choice, plus a commuter-style backpack or bag
  • a lock for said bag
  • a bike lock if using a bike
  • a desktop light for studying (if not provided with your desk)

A few nice things to leave your kid with:

  • gift cards to campus coffee shops
  • a pre-paid Uber credit
  • cash tucked into jacket pockets 
  • a credit at the college bookstore for when he realizes he’s out of highlighters or batteries
  • a stash of snack food and soda/La Croix

What you Definitely Don’t Need

A skilled dorm decorator Seriously, Save your money for a high-end espresso machine or music system, or, in the case of my eldest son’s first roommate, a deep fryer (yes, really).

My middle son’s first roommate had his part of the room professionally furnished, and I swear the effect was wrecked the moment my son brought in all his non-professionally curated belongings. We now find it amusing, but at the time, we were saddened by our son’s poor “expression” (not that he cared!).

How to Get it to School

With a student attending college 3,000 miles away, we’ve had to up our packing and transportation game.

What we discovered

Bring at least one large suitcase or duffel bag. We receive two complimentary checked bags for each traveller with our Alaska Airlines card, which helps Consider travelling on a perk-laden airline. Then, hand over that monstrous duffel to your pupil. This bulky backpack will not be used for travelling home during the school year, but it will come in handy when it comes time to keep his belongings in on-campus storage for the summer. Choose a bag or duffel that folds flat or rolls up, place it on a shelf or at the top of his closet, and leave it aside until May.

After you arrive, you may buy the majority of the necessities. You may expect a lengthy and exhausting shopping trip to Target, and you’ll need to hire a vehicle that can fit all of those bins and coat racks. But at least you only have to transport it a few miles to school rather than across the nation or state.

Pre-order the necessities before you arrive if your institution is enormous or in a tiny town that can’t handle a swarm of freshmen descending on the linens and towel aisles. Many big-box businesses let you shop online and save your “cart” for a specific location. Or, like us, you may wing it and wind up with mismatched linens and towels (I cared, my freshmen didn’t).

Look for large and pricey items at college “garage sales.” Many move-in day celebrations now feature a campus-wide yard sale, during which unclaimed things from the summer are sold at rock-bottom rates. This is the spot to get a great deal on a mini-fridge, area rug, desk light, or wall tapestry. You may also go shopping with your new roommate and his or her family, which will undoubtedly be a terrific icebreaker. (Hopefully, both kids are interested in the lava lamp.)

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