One of my favorite things about going back to school has always been hitting Staples and bringing home new tightly-bound journals, sharp pencils, and a clean pencil pouch. Buying school supplies will differ a bit from high school, so here are the things you will actually need in college.
I’ve used the same North Face backpack for 7 years and it’s done the trick (although I just upgraded to a Herschel for this year). Regardless of the brand, backpacks are essential in college- totes are cute but will eventually break your back. Here are some of my favorites:
I’ve become pretty accustomed to using Google Calendar, but a physical calendar is important for college because very often, professors won’t let you pull out a device, and chances are you will forget the dates and deadlines they are talking about once you leave the classroom. Having a physical place to write homework, to-do lists, and exam dates will not only keep you organized but also help you to remember what’s coming up. These are some of my favorites:
- Staples – this is the planner I’ve used consistently for the past 3 years
- Passion Planner (I’ve never used Passion Planner but people swear by it)
- Shinola Detroit (overall my favorite planner/ journal company)
You don’t want to be that kid scrambling for a pen or pencil when the professor tells you to write something down at the beginning of class; having a pencil case will keep you organized and keep your bag free of ink stains or pencil shavings. You can get these at any office supply store, but here are a couple cute online options:
Pens & Pencils
Speaking of… these are my favorite pens and pencils on the market. And yes, I take this very seriously.
- Muji .38mm – for thin & precise lines
- Uniball Vision .7– for thicker lines, I like to write in my calender with these so my items stand out
- Amazon felt tip colors– If you color-code your notes
- BIC Sparkly Pencils– Basic mechanical pencils
- PaperMate Mechanical Pencils– the GOAT of mechanical pencils.
- Shinola Detroit Paperback– These are my favorite paper-back journals. I’ve repurchased 3x thanks to its perfect size & thin-ruled lines.
- Northbook USA Eco Journal
- USA Eco Dotted Journal– if you prefer bullet-journaling
For class notebooks, I would recommend waiting until you go to class first to get a better understanding of how you will be taking notes (maybe some professors will allow you to use your laptop whereas others expect you to use paper). Since you will probably need to get these soon after your first classes, I would just go to your college store and stock up when you know what you’ll need.
Pro tip: try to organize your notes into separate notebooks organized by class schedule. For example, if I have 3 classes on Monday/Wednesday that I will need to write notes for, I will get a 3-subject college ruled notebook so I only need to bring that with me instead of 3 separate notebooks.
Another pro tip: make sure all of your notebooks are different colors so when you are running out the door you can quickly make sure you have the right notebooks for each class instead of having to go through them to figure out which one is the one you need.
This is definitely a luxury but can save you some stress. Some professors are really strict about physically handing in papers and owning your own printer can save you time running to the nearest library or student center. I got a “free” printer with my laptop which was ideal- not something I would shell out money for but if you have an extra one lying around at home, it might be worth bringing.
This is also something you’ll want to wait to go to class before purchasing- the professor might have an online option or allow you to get an older (and therefore cheaper) version. I’d recommend checking out the Kindle online store, Amazon, and Chegg for cheaper textbook alternatives.
That’s all folks!
As you continue through your semester, things will come up that you realize you’ll need. Whether its a calculator, attendance marker, highlighters, index cards… the college store will usually have what you need.
If you think I forgot anything, comment them down below!
This post is not sponsored but includes affiliate links.