Sending your teen off to college can be a stressful and scary time. You want to make sure he or she is properly prepared and has all the essentials for living away from home. Here are some of the top necessities every new or returning college student shouldn't be without!
Computer and TV
A computer and a television should be no-brainers for any college student. A TV/DVD combination will provide hours of entertainment during downtime, but some students these days are skipping TVs and instead streaming TV shows and movies on their computer. A laptop or desktop computer is a must when it's time to grind out papers and projects. Research the best computer for your teen's intended major — a graphic design student may need a different computer than an English literature major. Some dealers offer a free printer with a new computer, which will save your child last-minute runs to the school library printer.
Once they're at college, teens can't rely on mom for clean socks and underwear anymore. They're on their own for clean clothes now. A good laundry bag or basket is a must for lugging dirty clothes up and down the dorm stairs, or to and from the laundromat. The collapsible laundry bag by Homz is ideal because it doesn't take up space in the dorm room when it's not being used. Don't forget to send your teen off with detergent and dryer sheets.
Are you worried that your heavy sleeper isn't going to wake up for those early classes? While many teens use their mobile phone's alarm clock, you never know when your child might misplace his mobile phone or forget to have the ringer on — and you're paying too much tuition to have him sleep through class! So it's still smart for students to have a regular old alarm clock with automatic time settings and nice noisy buzzer.
USB Flash Drive
A portable flash drive is perfect for transferring projects, papers, and assignments from class back to the dorm or library with ease. Many portable USB drives are compatible with Windows and Macs, and come in several sizes to best suit the course load. No more shuffling books and papers around campus. Everything is right at hand — as long as you don't lose it!
Reusable Plastic Ware and Plates
Sometimes cafeteria food just doesn't do the trick. Send your college student off with a set of bowls, plates, cups, and utensils, and he can prepare his own specialties in the comfort of his dorm room. Since he'll have to clean up after himself, make sure he is well stocked with dish soap, sponges, and towels.
First Aid Kit
The first year of college is full of bumps, scrapes, and bruises, which is why a first aid kit is important. AAA offers a lightweight, compact kit that's stocked with over 120 items, including scissors, tweezers, vinyl gloves, a whistle, bandages, and more to take care of any situation. Make sure your teen is prepared to treat those little problems before they become big ones!
LED Crank Light
A flashlight is often a forgotten necessity at college. In case of an emergency or a power outage in the dorm, this battery-free, hand-powered flashlight can be very useful. With just a few hand cranks, your LED flashlight is charged up and super bright.
Healthy Instant Meals
Many busy college students turn to cheap instant cup-o-noodle meals, which are laden with fat and salt. Instant oatmeal and low-sodium instant soup are healthier options to stock up on. Just remind your child to eat real meals and fresh produce whenever possible! Help your student re-stock his instant meals and snacks with the occasional care package.
Sturdy Mattress Pad
Teens can have a rough time with their transition to college. Sleeping should be the most relaxing part of their day, but dorm beds aren't the most comfortable. An important purchase is a thick, sturdy mattress pad; it can make a huge difference! Make sure you get an extra-long twin, because that's the size of most dorm beds. Bed Bath & Beyond has a large selection of affordable mattress pads.
Teens are on their own while at college, and are responsible for any repairs needed along the way. A tool kit is important for any dorm room. Grip-On-Tools offers kits that provide everything needed for repairs in a dorm room.
College Necessity No-Brainers
Make sure your college-bound teen is supplied with these no-brainer necessities:
- Flip-flops for the shower
- Shower caddy
- White board for the door
- Ear plugs
- Desk Lamp
- Some combination of a microwave, mini-fridge, George Foreman grill, toaster, electric water kettle, water filter, etc.
- Find more suggested items here.