15 essential school supplies that you will need for college

Posted : June 26, 2014
Last Updated : August 10, 2017

15 essential school supplies that you will need for college

The excitement of gathering items that you will need for your dorm room or college apartment may cause you to forget that you actually need school supplies too. Yeah, the new adventures of college will be thrilling, but you still have work to accomplish! Be sure to put these items on your school supply list for college.

Adhesive Page Markers

Marking your textbooks with adhesive page markers will make your studying efforts much more efficient. Use different colors to indicate certain topic points for easy reference.

Backpack/Messenger Bag/Rucksack

You will most definitely need a bag to carry all of your textbooks and your laptop across campus. You have a variety of bag options from which to choose, such as a standard backpack, a messenger bag, a rucksack, a laptop bag, etc. If you purchase a high-quality bag, it should last you throughout your college career.


Every student has a preferred method of taking notes and keeping these notes organized. If you prefer paper over digital, be sure to obtain a binder or folder for each course for better organization.


Even if you don't plan to major in a field that requires a lot of math or science classes, you will still be required to take at least one math and/or science course in your general education studies. Your major will determine the type of calculator you will need. If you will be taking advanced math and science courses, you may need a graphing calculator. Otherwise, a scientific calculator should suffice. Check with your major department for specific calculator regulations.

Citation Style Manuals.

As you will be writing various college papers, you will need reference books to help you know how to cite those papers. The most common citation formats used in college classes are MLA and APA. Students in humanities courses are usually asked to style according to MLA guidelines, while students in science and research are usually encouraged to follow the APA guidelines.

Flash Drive

With the advent of free cloud storage, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, and Google Drive, a flash drive is not as big of a necessity as it has been in previous years. However, there are still a few benefits of using a flash drive for your college documents, such as maintaining physical custody and security of your files and not needing internet access to retrieve your files.


Highlighters are a must-have for college students. Use highlighters to make the most essential information in your textbooks and notes stand out.

Hole Punch

In order to keep all of your course material organized properly, you will need a hole punch for any worksheets that professors hand out. File these worksheets in binders in an organized manner to enhance your studying efforts.

Index Cards

Studying with index cards is a great way to learn material. Writing subject matter on index cards will help you better retain information, and the cards are easy to take on the go to use as flashcards.


Some colleges require students to have laptops, while others do not. And while you will have access to your school's computer lab, the convenience of having your own will make the cost worthwhile.


Even if you will be taking notes digitally, you will still need pens and pencils. Purchase pens in black, blue, and red ink and be sure to obtain No. 2 pencils for scanner test sheets.

Printer Paper

You will be writing a lot of essays in college so be sure to stock up on printer paper.


You probably won't need these basic art supplies often (depending on your major), but you should add them to your list in case you need them for a class project.


Carry a mini stapler in your backpack as you never know when you may need to turn in multiple pages for a class assignment.

Student Planner

From test dates to group meetings to extracurricular activities, your schedule will surely be packed. A student planner is crucial for time management and will help keep you on top of your busy college calendar.

This list comprises the most common needed school supplies for college. Be sure to check your syllabus for each course to see if you will need additional supplies, such as protractors, poster boards, art supplies, etc. Check out Amazon and Dormco.com to get the best deals on your school supplies.


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15 essential school supplies that you will need for college

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