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Studying with laptop on the couch

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Many parents are excited when their students make the transition from high school to college because it means no more lengthy back-to-school supply lists from teachers. However, college life comes with its own set of unique needs and there typically isn’t a teacher around to send home supply lists of materials that students can purchase to meet said needs with ease. Not to worry, though. We’ve got you covered. Here is our list of back-to-school items college students can’t live without.


Source: Lenovo / Amazon


It’s virtually impossible to keep up with the demands of college these days without access to a personal laptop. Even courses that are not online or hybrid courses have some online component. Thankfully, laptops are more affordable than ever. For example, this Lenovo Chromebook, which is priced at just $164.99.

Pencil on open notebook

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Writing Handbook

Nearly all college students are required to take an introductory college writing or composition course, which often require the use of some sort of writing style guide or handbook. In addition, they will be frequently churning out papers for other classes in which they will need to cite outside sources. A style guide is a useful tool that can help students to navigate the world of APA and MLA citations with ease.

Sport shoes isolated on white background.

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Comfortable Sneakers

Trekking across campus several times per day is no joke. For this reason, heading back to school with a comfortable pair of sneakers is a must because those dress shoes or ballerina flats are not going to cut it on particularly long days. A lightweight pair of inexpensive running sneakers like these, which are priced at $69.99 at DSW, should do the trick.

A small refrigerator.

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Personal Refrigerator

If your college student will be dorming this year, a personal refrigerator is a must-have. University meal plans are great, but they’re not particularly useful for late-night snacks or staying properly hydrated throughout the day.

Microwave Cooking Meal

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Similar to the personal refrigerator, having an in-room microwave is useful for college students who find themselves wanting to eat or snack during hours when the cafeteria and other campus dining options are closed.

Close-Up Of Usb Stick On White Background

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Flash Drive

Computers crash and internet connections are not always reliable, which is why having a flash drive on-hand is an important source of security for college students. You don’t know misery until your computer crashes the night before a paper is due and you lose all of your work.


Source: HP Office / Amazon

Personal Printer & Paper

Having a personal printer is not a necessity but it certainly makes life easier. Considering how frequently college kids have to submit papers to their professors, venturing to the campus computer lab to print every single assignment is not always realistic or ideal. The HP Office Jet 3380 Wireless Printer is a great option that is under $50.00.

Directly Above Shot Of Stapler On Table

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Stapler & Staples

Speaking of writing papers, gone are the days of two and three-page papers. Even in the most foundational classes, university instructors are asking for submissions that are typed and printed, which means you’ll need something to keep those pages together.

Pink and Yellow highlighter on blue background

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Highlighters & Adhesive Page Markers

University studies require a healthy supply of highlighters. Reading assignments can get rather lengthy, so it’s important for students to have tools that will help them to extract key points.

Close-Up Of Purple Backpack Against White Background

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Comfortable Backpack

Every college student needs a comfortable bag that won’t cause back problems before their 25th birthday. With laptop computers, textbooks, and other heavy materials to transport across campus, having a backpack with wide, cushioned straps is essential.

Note pad, calculator and pen

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Scientific Calculator

Even if they’re not majoring in  STEM-related field, all college students will be required to take at least one math course during their undergraduate careers, which is why having a calculator on hand is important. A simple scientific calculator should do the trick. You can find one on Amazon for as low as $7.99.

Open book

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College students generally have a hefty number of dates and deadlines to manage. From Midterms, finals, and terms papers to their robust social schedules, having a planner to keep track of all of these appointments is crucial.

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