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As the summer winds down it’s time to start planning for the biggest change of your child’s life, college! I know thinking about your little babies all grown up and taking on the world can be sad but you still need to help prepare them. I have compiled a list of 10 things that you will most definitely want them to have as they take on their freshman year.
A Quality Bookbag
A bookbag becomes one of the most important assets to a college student. It carries everything they need and makes walking across campus a lot easier. Cheap bookbags break and can be very unreliable. Nothing is quite as embarrassing as having all the contents of your bookbag spill out in the courtyard.
Even though dorm rooms have limited space, a laundry bag is a necessity. This can make the difference between a clean, neat room or a filthy nuclear waste land (okay – maybe not that dramatic) but the laundry bag is still a huge help. Not a laundry hamper or basket will take up room, the bag which in theory takes up no room when empty is best. The trouble is… how often will they empty it.
Mini-Fridge & Microwave
Some people see this as an unnecessary addition to a dorm room but I feel that it is key to saving money. Opting for a smaller meal plan is a great idea, but it means your child will have to make some meals themselves. This is made easier with the help of a mini fridge and microwave. Keeping yogurt, milk, and other items make for easy, healthy snacks or quick bowls of cereal in the morning. Both appliances will pay for itself in no time. Sometimes these are provided with the room, if not then look on Craigslist and go used if possible! Read your dorms policy on microwave watts, we don’t need them blowing the circuit every time they make easy mac.
Living in a dorm means that you will have to share a bathroom with a lot of people that are total strangers. While this may seem weird at first, for my only child self this was a fun part of dorm life. I’d never had anyone to brush my teeth with and then I had 50 people… Shower caddy’s are pretty much essential no matter how the bathroom is laid out, this keeps their things for them and cuts down on friends “borrowing” items.
Your child will need a laptop but that does not mean that you need to splurge on a $1500 Mac Book Pro. There are plenty of cheaper alternatives that will meet most university standards for laptops. Be sure to check the school’s software requirements before you buy. There may be certain software requirements that you must meet.
Headphones are key to helping your student block out unwanted noise and concentrate on their studies. Headphones are also key for learning in the library since loud noises are not allowed.
This may seem obvious but most rain jackets, boots, and heavy clothing are often times overlooked and forgotten about. The weather can be very unpredictable and being able to run back to your dorm and grab a rain jacket is great. Being caught in rain storms with no jacket can make going to class when its pouring difficult. Having rain clothes for your future college student will keep them healthy and in class! The same goes for when it snows, it takes a lot for most schools to close down due to inclement. This can lead to many treks through the snow so make sure you pack accordingly.
Power Strip with a Surge Protector
Dorm rooms come with very limited outlets and having to decide between charging your phone, laptop, or plugging in your lamp can be difficult. That is why I recommend having a power strip so your kid can have enough plugs to fit all their needs. The surge protector is an added bonus that will protect their electronics from dangerous circuit overloads.
Foam Mattress Topper
Your future students dorm bed is going to be where they spend most of their nights for the next year so it should be comfortable. Unfortunately most dorm room beds are the opposite. That is why a foam mattress topper is key. My personal favorites are the egg crate toppers but really any will do. Sleep is something that can get overlooked in college so it is important to have a comfortable place to lay your head after pulling an all nighter.
Planner/Dry Erase Board
College is hectic. Trying to remember everywhere you have to be is nearly impossible! That is why a planner is a must have. This will help your future college student keep track of everything from classes to when homework assignments are do. A dry erase board is also very helpful because you can hang it up and have it on your wall. Keeping organized is one of the hardest parts of college but these will make life a little easier.
Hopefully you are prepared to send your kiddo off to college after reading through this list. There are still other items they will end up on your list, but at least you won’t forget these things!