Back-to-School Checklist: What to Pack for College

College students across the country are marking the start of another school year. Now is the time for millions of college students around the nation to confirm class chedules, mentally prepare to get back in the grind, and most importantly pack!

But, back-to-school preparations look a little different for the more than 6 million students taking online degrees. Look at the infographic below as we compare a traditional vs. online students’ checklist of what to pack for college.



Source: Back to School Shopping List for College Students – Good Housekeeping

What to Pack for College?

Academic and Tech Supplies

  • Three-ring binder
  • Three-hole-punch (fits in binder)
  • Loose-leaf paper or spiral notebooks
  • Subject dividers
  • Blue or black ball-point pens
  • Mechanical pencils
  • Permanent markers
  • Highlighters
  • Post-Its
  • White-out
  • Flash drive
  • Personal organizer/calendar
  • Calculator
  • Combination lock
  • Backpack
  • Computer
  • Printer
  • Computer paper
  • Headphones
  • Ink cartridges
  • Surge protector
  • Textbooks

Dorm Furnishings & Essentials

  • Twin extra-long sheets
  • Pillow
  • Twin extra-long blanket and comforter
  • Desk and floor lamp
  • Alarm clock
  • Plastic storage bins
  • Shower caddy
  • Flip-flops or shower shoes
  • Toiletries
  • Shelving/storage units
  • Hangers
  • Bulletin board
  • Mini fridge
  • Microwave
  • Plastic food containers
  • Coffeemaker
  • Utensils
  • Detergent
  • Waste basket
  • Water filter
  • Water bottle
  • Batteries
  • Collapsible laundry basket or bag
  • Laundry detergent & fabric softener
  • Clorox disinfectant wipes

Online College Back-to-School List

Top Tech Requirements

  • Surge protector
  • Webcam
  • Computer speakers (if not built in)
  • Flash drive
  • Hard drive

Computer (laptop or desktop) with:

  • 20 GB hard drive
  • 512 MB RAM
  • Windows 98 or better/ Mac OSX 10.4 or higher
  • MS Office 2004 or higher, or some other word processor
  • Free Web browser with plug-ins

Other eLearning Essentials

  • Notebook
  • Pen
  • Highlighter
  • Post its
  • Webcam
  • Printer
  • Ink cartriges
  • Computer paper
  • Desk chair
  • Computer desk
  • Power chord
  • Textbooks

[Find more college infographics...]

About Allison Freeland

Allie Freeland is the Editor-in-Chief of She has been a professional writer for a decade and received her bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Minnesota. She brings a wealth of information about higher education, online degrees, college life, and career advice. Follow her on G+.