Speaking from experience, packing for college can be stressful. Almost as overwhelming as finding your classrooms on the first day of class… OK, maybe not that bad. College is a truly terrific, exciting experience — it only gets stressful when we feel like we are not prepared. That’s why packing for college is the first step to success, and if done correctly, will allow students to feel at ease. While there is no shortage of college packing lists available online, it’s important to remember the less glamorous items as well.
- Extension Cord and Power Strip
This is a necessity, especially if living in the dorms. The outlets are placed in the most inconvenient places (like right behind your bed frame) and an extension cord and power strip will allow for everything to be plugged in and allow for better accessibility to your electronics.
- Form of Identification
Most parents may be hesitant to send these important documents with their students off to college, but if you are seeking to get a job or participate in work study, you are usually required to present at least one form of government identification when filling out paperwork. Sometimes copies will not suffice either (I learned that the hard way).
- Tuition Insurance
Perhaps the largest expense of all, more than airfare, a laptop, gas or a flu shot, is tuition for many families. Luckily, this can be protected with insurance. Tuition Insurance can help refund lost tuition if a student should be forced to completely withdraw from school due to a covered reason. Most schools schools don’t refund most tuition after the first couple weeks of the semester, which could leave many college families vulnerable. Start by checking your school’s refund policy, which you should be able to find on their website, and consider whether you need more protection with GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance.
- Umbrella/ Parka/ Rain boots
A necessity to have because “it was raining” is not a good enough excuse to miss class and even if the water is calf-deep, your crazy professor may still not cancel! While you are thinking of protection – be sure to evaluate the financial risks you are taking. If you can’t afford to replace your property if it is stolen or damaged then consider purchasing renters insurance.
- Medicine and Tissues
You don’t learn how expensive medicine is until you get sick the first week of college and end up at the local drugstore giving the cashier half of your weekly allowance. Many students catch colds the first couple weeks of school as they are adjusting to the new environment and being around so many people so this is a must have, plus who wants to be stuck using that sandpaper they call toilet paper on their nose? By the way, if you get seriously ill or injured, be aware that your college is unlikely to provide 100% refund to you. As a result, if you can’t afford the cost of an extra semester if you are forced to withdraw mid-semester due to an illness or injury, then be sure to get tuition insurance prior to the start of classes.
- Renters Insurance
You’re probably bringing a lot of stuff — including pricey electronics –with you to college. Before bringing your laptop, smartphone, tablet, TV, speakers, dorm decor, clothes, bike, and more, you’ll want to consider the cost of all of these belongings. If your laptop or bike were stolen, could you afford to replace them? Renters Insurance can help you and your family protect your belongings if you face a loss or damage because of a covered reason, like theft, fire or water damage.
You would be surprised how hard it is to find one of these on a college campus! Also, most professors require your papers to already be stapled before you enter a class or they will not accept it, always to be safe and prepared than sorry.
For further information on packing for college and full packing lists visit these links!
Pack It Up: What to Bring to College
This article was updated in July 2020.