9 Items High School Students Can’t Live Without When Heading Back To School

August 14, 2019  |  
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Confident teen girl smiles for camera on first day of school

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Shopping for back-to-school supplies for high school students can be a daunting task. Their needs are a step above those of middle schoolers, but they’re not quite on par with those of college students just yet. On top of that, some high school teachers have abandoned sending home back-to-school supply lists altogether as a way to foster independence. Not to worry, we’ve got you covered with a universal teacher-approved back-to-school list for high school students.

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Organizational skills and time task management are taught. You can help your teen to learn to manage their time more effectively by equipping them with a monthly planner where they can document important dates such as midterms, finals, project and term papers due dates.


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One mission of high school educators is to prepare students for the demands of college. High school writing assignments will begin to reflect those that are assigned in college, which is why access to a working computer is essential for high school students. Thankfully, laptops are more affordable than ever. For example, this Lenovo Chromebook, which is priced at just $164.99.

A close-up view of USB stick on a laptop keyboard

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Flash Drive

Computers seem to crash at the most inopportune moments, which is why having a flash drive on-hand is an essential source of security for high school students. No one truly understands the misery that comes with having your computer crash the night before a paper is due until they’ve personally experienced it.


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Personal Printer & Paper

Having a personal printer in high school is not a necessity but it certainly makes life easier for parents and students alike. High school teachers often request that students submit typed essays or at the very least, they give students extra credit points for submitting typed essays. The last thing you’ll want to be doing on a weeknight after work is running your teen to staples to do some last-minute printing. A great cost-effective option is the HP Office Jet 3380 Wireless Printer, which is priced at $50.00.

Close-Up Of Colorful Adhesive Notes On White Background

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Highlighters, sticky notes, and adhesive page markers

In middle school, students learned that reading is a two-way process which requires them to interact with the texts they are reading. This is taken up several notches once students enter high school due to higher expectations and greater text complexities. You can equip your teen to keep up with the demands of high school level English courses by stocking their backpacks with multicolored sticky notes, page markers, highlighters, and colored pens.

Graphing calculator (clipping path), isolated on white background

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Graphing Calculator

High school math comes with a new set of demands, some of which will require the use of a graphing calculator. Many schools will provide graphing calculators for students to use in class; however, that won’t be useful for homework assignments. Some high schools have rental programs where students can rent a graphing calculator for the duration of the school year for a small fee. If that’s not the case for your teen, you can find one for as low as $30.00 on Amazon.

Simple Office Desk With Smart Phone, Keyboard, Frangipani and colored pencils on White Background

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A quiet workspace

Over the years, I’ve had quite a few students tell me that they struggled to complete their homework at night due to distractions at home. Setting up a small workspace for your child to complete assignments, think, and be creative can actually go a long way. You can find great examples here, here, and here.

Color pen-stationary-art

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Blue or black pens and pencils

Often times writing in pen is optional for middle school students; however, it’s an expectation by high school. Of course, math courses will still require students to write in pencil.

Open book with adhesive notes

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Binders, looseleaf paper, and subject dividers

High school students often have the option of maintaining their class materials in either a binder or in a spiral notebook and folders. The former is more optimal for staying organized. A couple of 1.5 inch binders should do the trick.

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