Going to college is a huge step in a person’s life. Whether it’s moving out of state, or having to say “see you later” to your childhood best friend. We know it’s tough, so we’ve compiled the top essential items to make your move as seamless as possible. If you haven’t seen our full, comprehensive packing list for college dorms, you can check them out here (or specifically the guy’s and girl’s list). We’ve reviewed our long lists, and with personal experience, narrowed down to our top recommendations.
Before browsing, it’s important to sign up for Amazon Student Prime, especially if you’re planning to purchase through Amazon or stream Amazon on your TV. They have free two-day shipping, and special deals only for college students. You can sign up here; we highly recommend it before purchasing all of your items for college.
1. Mattress Enhancer
Believe me when I say this, getting a mattress enhancer is the first and most important item to purchase for college. The average person spends about 33% of their day in bed (maybe a little less for college students with all the studying), but ensuring a good night’s sleep will help with health and overall productivity. The majority of colleges provide a Twin XL sized mattress, but be sure to check with your university or move-in guides on what sizing to purchase. Usually, the beds provided are tolerable to sleep on, but likely not as comfortable as your current bed at home. You can click on this link to find our reviews on the best mattress toppers, or you can find our number one pick below.
The ViscoSoft 3″ Memory Foam Mattress Topper is our top choice. The mattress topper comes with a machine washable cover and has four adjustable elastic straps to attach to each corner of the bed. The gel-infused memory foam is intended to reduce trapped body heat, and this version does a great job of relieving common pressure points. Click the blue button to learn more or check the price.
2. Mini Fridge
Some dorms are nice and provide this as a furnished item, however chances are, you’ll likely have to go purchase on your own. Mini fridges are great because they will allow students to do some more healthy grocery shopping. Having a mini fridge will allow you to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables rather than snacking on nothing but chips and junk food. Pro Tip: Order this item online and have it delivered to your door. Nothing is worse than going to a store, hauling it into your car, taking it home, etc. We’ve provided our best recommendation below.
The RCA Single Door Mini Fridge with Freezer is our top choice. With 3.2 cubic feet of space, this fridge will hold bottled water, sodas, and a ton of (healthy) snack food. The best part about this mini fridge is that it has a small freezer compartment which can be useful for either ice trays or having a frozen ice pack handy. The size of the fridge is also compact enough that it should be able to fit in most normal sized dorm rooms. Click the blue button to learn more or check the price.
Going to college is exciting, but it also introduces an environment where you’re around a lot of people that you don’t know. Living in a dorm will mean that you’re surrounded by tons of people and there may be times where you forget to lock your door, or people are in your room when you’re not there (with a roommate of course). A safe is a good purchase to store any valuable or sentimental items. We strongly encourage purchasing one, as you can get them relatively cheap. You can click on this link to find our reviews on the best safes for dorms, or you can find our number one pick below.
The SentrySafe H0100 Fireproof Waterproof Box is our top choice. This safe is extremely affordable and is small enough to be tucked away and kept out of sight. For the price, it’s amazing that it has fireproof and waterproof features which helps ensure that your belongings will stay, well, safe. It is small, but it’s the perfect size for a social security card, passports, or the good luck note that your family wrote to you on your first day.
If you don’t sleep with a fan before moving to college, chances are that you will be after leaving college. The purpose of the fan is to help keep you cool, but you will find that it also acts as a perfect white noise creator. If you end up getting that roommate that snores, or are kept up by neighbors playing music too loudly, a fan will definitely help cut down on the noise.
The Honeywell HT-900 TurboForce Air Circulator is our top choice. You really don’t need anything fancy here other than a small, reliable fan. Sure, you could get fancy and buy a Dyson fan, but it’s not needed in a dorm room. The Honeywell fan is cheap, reliable, and will be your new best friend (next to your new mattress enhancer, of course). Click the blue button to learn more or check the price.
Unless you already own a laptop, this will likely be the most expensive purchase next to tuition and books. Speaking of books, quick shoutout to Chegg; they are the best way to purchase or rent new and used textbooks. Click here to check out prices. A laptop is one of the most important technology purchases you can buy. I guess you could get away with using the library computers, but it will make your life extremely inconvenient. Nearly all classes require that a student has a laptop and you should expect the majority of your studying to occur on a laptop.
The Apple MacBook Air (13 Inch) comes in first as our top choice. The MacBook Air is the least expensive of the Apple lineup, but still powerful enough for most anything needed to be done in college. The big brother, the MacBook Pro, will run a bit faster, but comes with a steeper price tag. Unless you are doing heavy gaming, graphic or video development, a MacBook Air should get you through college perfectly fine. Also, they’re extremely lightweight, making it easy to haul between classes. MacBooks are traditionally some of the pricier laptop choices, however it continues to be the best and highest recommended product for higher education. Click the blue button to learn more or check the price.
6. Reusable Water Bottle
This could debatably be farther up on the list, but we’ll stick it here. Having a reusable water bottle is way better than crushing through plastic water bottles, and significantly more environmentally friendly. Also, it’s important to stay hydrated in college. Running between classes can get hectic, and sometimes you may not be somewhere where you can easily purchase a water bottle. Having a reusable water bottle allows you to just fill it up at the nearest water fountain.
The Hydro Flask Water Bottle is our top pick, and it’s a good one. Hydro Flask makes one incredible product. From personal experience with this same product, it will keep ice water cold for up to a day, and retain the heat of warm drinks for a long period of time. We highly recommend purchasing a 32oz size (roughly 1L of water), and purchasing it with the straw lid attachment. As a bonus, it comes in 10 different colors.
To our parent readers – I know, you’re sending your kid off to school to study, get a good education, and get a good job. I went through all of that, but at some point, you need some entertainment to stay sane. Given we live in a technology driven age, it’s great that the price of TV’s have become so affordable, and you can stream all of your favorite shows and movies. You can click on this link to find our reviews on the best TV’s to purchase or you can find our top recommendation below:
The 2020 Samsung UHD TU-8000 Series is our top pick for a 43″ TV. On our recommendation article above, we do have TV’s smaller or larger, but 43″ should be a good middle of the road size. This TV has all of the built in apps for streaming Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu, as well as a crystal clear display. The TV is extremely affordable for all the bells and whistles it includes, and is perfect for any student’s room. Click the blue button to learn more or check the price.
8. Noise Cancelling Headphones
Headphones will become the best friend of anyone who is studying in their dorm room or the library. Modern day headphones do a great job of completely cutting out all surrounding noise, so it will help you concentrate on what matters most. These are not a necessity, but they are EXTREMELY useful. You can either buy a pair that is worn over the ear, or a pair of in-ear. We recommend in-ear because they can more feasibly be stored and used for other activities such as the gym, running outside, or simply walking between classes.
The Apple AirPods Pro are our top pick, by far. These come with a noise cancelling feature that is remarkable. They have a feature of both cancelling noise or being able to actively listen to your surroundings, depending on your preference. They pair so easily with your cell phone, and work incredibly with other Apple products. If you’re looking for new headphones, buy these. You will not regret it. Click the blue button to learn more or check the price.
9. Portable Speaker
Here’s another one where the parents are shaking their heads, but remember, college students need to (sometimes) have fun! A portable speaker will help lift the spirits of anyone and everyone, whether it be studying in a dorm room (not too loud), sitting in a park relaxing, or hanging with new friends on the weekend.
The Ultimate Ears Wonderboom is our top pick. This product is small, making it easy to store nearly anywhere, but it has some mighty sound. The best part? It’s waterproof! For a product of this quality, the price is extremely reasonable, making it easy to fit into anyone’s budget. Click the blue button to learn more or check the price.
10. Electric Toothbrush
A hygiene product? Yes, with all of the stress of college, it’s important to keep up your hygiene practices, especially your oral hygiene. If you don’t already own an electric toothbrush, be sure to purchase one. They work SO MUCH better than a traditional toothbrush, and help keep your teeth pearly white.
The Phillips Sonicare 4100 Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush is our top pick. Electric toothbrushes are traditionally $100+, but this option is half of that. The toothbrush is rechargeable, comes in multiple colors, and functions just as well as other expensive toothbrushes. Click the blue button to learn more or check the price.
Thank you for reading our article on college essentials! Check out our other tips and tricks articles to learn more.