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The Essential College Supplies List for Parents

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Back to College Must-Haves: A Guide for Parents

The College Supplies Your Kids Really Need

Start off by taking inventory of your college students’ supplies, ranging from pens to notebooks and so on. They’ll need these no matter what classes they take in the upcoming semester and a lot of them. In total, make sure your soon-to-be college grads have:

Feel free to add to this list, especially if your college kids have preferences for specific tools or accessories!

Binders and backpacks

Of course, your kids will need additional school supplies to store all those pens and paper, plus a bag to shuttle these supplies from class to class.

So, you’ll want to be sure that your student has a great backpack with double stitching on the bottom and sturdy shoulder straps. A good backpack is comfortable, tough, and spacious enough to keep a laptop, college textbooks, and all the must-have college supplies they need to stuff in there during the day. Bonus points if you can find a backpack with a water bottle pouch.

As far as binders go, make sure you pick up a binder with plenty of tabs and pockets. It’ll be easier for any college student to keep track of each class’s homework assignments if they can separate that paperwork in their binder. Durable plastic binders might be best if your kids need several.

college student sitting at a desk in front of a computer, alarm clock, and calendar

Alarm clocks are critical devices for college students. Although most college students these days have an alarm clock function built into their phone, a physical alarm clock will help make sure your kids get to class on time even if their phone dies!

Tech gadgets

College classes use modern technology now more than ever before. So make sure you send your kids off to a new college semester with the tech gadgets they’ll need to succeed.  The most common tech supplies for college students include:

We know college supplies like these can be expensive. Luckily, many laptop manufacturers have special sales around the back-to-school season and offer refurbished models that can save you money Take advantage of these sales to pick up good computers for your kids that can handle the academic work their professors are sure to throw at them.

Dorm furniture

No college dorm room is really home unless it’s properly furnished. While you might not be able to help your children set up their dorms in person, you can make sure they arrive at school with enough furniture to be comfortable. Wondering what college dorm furniture to get? After confirming what’s provided, how about:

First aid kit

Aside from the basics, it’s also a good idea to send your kids off to college with a first aid kit each. These kits should have all the medical supplies they may need, ranging from Band-Aids to gauze to medical tape and more. You never know what’ll happen when your children are on their own, but you can prepare the m to handle emergencies by giving them some core first aid supplies.

male and female college student studying together using an iPad

Paying for college supplies

Tuition plus room and board are pricey enough. When you add the cost of college supplies on top, things can get downright expensive! Lots of parents have trouble figuring out finances around the back-to-school season, especially if one or more kids need a new laptop or other important college supplies.

Remember, financial aid- like scholarships or student loans- can and should be used to purchase supplies including computers, backpacks, and anything else your kids may need.

Planning for visits

Whether it’s a trip to visit your college student for family weekend or their flight home for the holidays, planning the trips ahead can save on hotel rates and flight costs.  So, grab your calendar and shop for flights and hotels before the crowds.

And then, it’s time to send your student off to have their college adventures, while you can rest easy knowing that they have what they need for a great year.

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Sources accessed 4/13/2022 –

Education Data Initiative – Average Cost of College Textbooks

Student Debt Relief – Can You Use Student Loans for Books?

Microsoft Word- Office Applications

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