The 411 on What to Pack for College

By Amanda Ferrara, Student at New York University

If you think packing for a weekend vacation is hard, the thought of packing for a whole school year might seem terrifying!

Here are some great tips to keep in mind as you pack for college so that you bring everything you need without the stress.

Start with the essentials. As hard as you might try, it’s really difficult to name everything you actually use on a daily basis on the spot. Keeping a notepad with you for a full day is a great way to create a list of everything you need and use daily.

Start as soon as you get out of bed and write down everything you use – from your toothbrush to the granola bars you snack on to your going-out shoes – and your packing list will be almost done!

Think about breaks. You don’t have to bring everything you own with you right from the start. Look at your school calendar and keep in mind that you will be going home at various points in the year. Leave your winter clothes, boots and accessories behind and exchange them with your flip-flops and tank tops during winter break.

Have fun with your decorations. You spent years making your room at home personalized and filled with memories; now you have to start with a blank slate! Look around your room and pack up the decorations that you cannot imagine leaving behind. Once you have gotten your room accessories down, use websites such as PicMonkey and Mixbook to create new items like collages and calendars to bring to make your new room feel like home.

Plan for the emergencies. You never know what miscellaneous and random items you should have with you until a scenario occurs when you desperately search for them. From replacing TV remote batteries to a cut on your finger, it is always good to be prepared!

Think about various situations you might get into and search in the junk drawers and medicine cabinets at home to discover items that you do not use every day but would be valuable in times of need. First aid kits, tool boxes and stain removers are some of these must-haves!

Don’t forget about classes. The chaos of planning your move and organizing a room might cause you to forget that you are still going to have to go to class! Head to the stores and buy notebooks, binders and pens before you get to campus so that you are fully prepared for the entire semester.

When all else fails, ask for suggestions! Use this Dorm Smart checklist as a guide and ask your friends who are already in college about the items they thought they would never need but wished they had brought. For me, it was duct tape!


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