It can be difficult to know what to pack before you head off to college. You will not want to leave behind anything essential, but you also won't want to take too much. Rooms in residence halls (also called dorms or dormitories) are very small.
When deciding what to pack, check the suggestions and rules of your college. Most colleges publish information about the available accommodations on their campus and a list of banned items. Many colleges also have lists of suggested items. Because rules and accommodations vary among colleges (and sometimes between the residence halls on a campus), it is important to know specific information to your college.
Next, contact your new roommate(s). Many colleges will give you the name and contact information of your roommate to allow the two of you to decide which items you can share and decide who will bring which sharable items. This can help you avoid over packing. Keep in mind, that sometimes students decide not to attend college, change rooms once they arrive, or transfer to a different college; therefore, it is possible to end up with a different roommate.
Lastly, create a list of items you would like to take to college. Below is a list of common items students pack for college to help you create your list.
To Feel at Home
While many roommates divide the room and decorate their own section to their own tastes, it is important to be considerate and not display offensive items.
- Comfort Item (e.g., a stuffed animal or a gift from someone special)
- Supplies to hang decorations (check college rules)
- Cultural or religious symbols
- Shower caddy (To carry toiletries to the bathroom.)
- Shampoo and other toiletries
- 2 bath towels (It is helpful to have an extra towel for when one is dirty.)
- Bathrobe (To wear from your room to the bathroom)
- Shower shoes (To prevent catching a fungus)
- Hair dryer
- Computer with lock
- Pens, pencils, highlighters
- Desk lamp
- Extension cord with surge protector
- Reading material (Consider using an e-book reader to save space)
- iPod or MP3 player
- Cards or other small games
- CDs and DVDs
- Microwavable dish & bowl
- Paper towels
- Can opener
- Clothes (Enough for 2 weeks in order to give yourself a chance to do laundry)
- Light jacket
- Jewelry (inexpensive)
- Swimming suit
These items should be discussed between roommates to decide if multiple items are necessary. Each roommate should bring a different shared item.
- Small fan (If room is not air conditioned)
- Cleaning supplies
- Iron and small ironing board)
- TV with DVD player
- Microfridge (Check with your school to see if they are supplied or if there are regulations on the use of these.
- Padlocks (some colleges will have drawers and closet doors that fit padlocks)
- Bedding for a single bed
- Hamper (Use one that can double as a laundry basket)
- Laundry detergent
- Cell phone (Usually optional, but a few schools do not provide room phones)
- Sewing kit
- First-aid kit
- Insect repellent
- Bicycle with a lock (optional, but may be helpful on large campuses)
Check your residence hall contract to see what specific items are not allowed. Below is a list of items that are often not allowed in most dorm rooms or may not be a good idea to bring.
- Weight lifting equipment
- Power tools
- Toaster ovens
- Halogen lamps
- Valuable items that cannot be secured
- Air conditioners
- Electric blankets
- Alcohol or illegal drugs
- Large items
Use the list above and the suggestions from your college to help you decide what to pack when moving to a college campus. Make sure that you understand the rules of your campus before finalizing your list.