Whether you’re a freshman or a continuing student, packing for college is an overwhelming process. There’s no doubt that you’ve read an abundance of blog posts about what to bring to college, how to pack for college, how to choose your college dorm, and possibly even what not to buy (…or at least not yet, anyway). However, although these posts go over a ton of the essentials, very few posts mention they items most often forgotten, all of which are extremely important. So whether you’ve already created your packing list or you haven’t started yet, be sure to not forget these 10 items that you never thought to bring to college!
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1) Renters Insurance
As the 1st item on this list, this oddity is most likely confusing a lot of students. After all, isn’t renter’s insurance something you only get if you are renting an apartment or a house?
The short-and-sweet answer: No.
Believe it or not, you may need to buy renters insurance for your dorm room. Depending on the coverage you have, it can help in cases like smoke damage from a fire, water damage from the sprinkler system or a flood, or even someone breaking into your room and stealing valuables.
I’m going to be completely honest: when I moved to college, I didn’t think these sorts of things happened very often. After all, if I had, wouldn’t I have heard about them more often?
Turns out, these accidents happen a lot more than you would expect, and I’ve seen them happen first-hand on my campus multiple times. For some students, these accidents caused hundreds of dollars in damages, but unfortunately some of them didn’t know about renter’s insurance and ended up losing a lot of their stuff and money. Talk about stress!
(Just a quick tip: before you purchase renter’s insurance, check to see whether your parents’ home insurance policy will extend to cover your items while you’re living in a dorm. Either way, you’ll need some form of insurance.)
2) Important Documents
By “important documents,” I am referring to papers like your social security card or visa, which can be crucial in situations like getting a job. Although many students recognize their importance, they can easily be forgotten at home when focusing on packing bigger dorm room items.
Besides job-related documentation, it’s also important to take documents like your health and insurance cards in case you need to visit the their offices during the semester. Remember to keep these documents in a safe, secured area. These are items you do not want to lose.
3) Emergency Fund
This may be a bit laughable to some college students, especially since many of us are completely broke. I mean, an emergency fund? Really?
However, many college students don’t realize how necessary an emergency fund can actually be. For example, let’s say you’re driving to work one day and your car breaks down. You rely on that job to pay your tuition bill, housing, meal plan, but if you can’t get to work then you can’t make money to pay those bills, much less the car repair. Suddenly you’re behind on your tuition payments and rent. If only you had a stash of emergency money to pay for those car repairs…
See where I’m going with this?
That’s why it’s important to have an emergency fund: a no-touch money stash that you use only in case of an emergency. (And no, midnight pizza runs are not an emergency.) The purpose of an emergency fund is to not only cover unexpected expenses, but to also deter you from getting into any sort of unexpected debt. You can decide how much money you want to put in the fund (typically a few hundred dollars is a good amount), but there’s no doubt that it will save you a lot of stress in the long-run.
4) Ethernet Cable
An ethernet cable may be one item that some students already planned on packing for college, but I didn’t hear about it until I was on a college tour.
Basically, if the WiFi is running slowly (or not working at all), you can use the Ethernet cable to connect your laptop to the Ethernet port in your room, bypassing the need for a WiFi connection. This can be extremely helpful if you are struggling to get an assignment turned in on time thanks to spotty connection.
If’ you’d like to check out ethernet cables on Amazon, just click here.
5) Forward Your Mailing Address
Okay, so technically this isn’t a tangible item to bring to college, but it does help a lot! Basically, any mail that you would have received at home (i.e. magazines, bills, etc.) gets forwarded to you at college, saving your family the trouble of having to do it themselves and making sure you get those letters a lot faster. This can be crazy important, especially if it’s time-sensitive materials (bills, jury duty notices, etc.) that you do not want to miss.
6) List of Serial Numbers
The last thing we want in college is to have to deal with stolen property, but sadly, it does happen to many students. Unfortunately, these thieves aren’t stealing the cheap stuff, either: they are stealing laptops, phones, and other expensive items that can seem almost impossible to find after they’re taken. Although we all hope that this never happens to us, if any of your valuables do happen to be stolen, having the items’ serial numbers to provide the police with can be extremely helpful in tracking it down. Why? Because each number is unique to the specific item, so if the item turns up in a pawn shop or in the back of a car they pull over, they can identify the item as being stolen and belonging to you because of it’s unique serial number.
Again, just like #2 on this list, remember to keep the list in a safe, secure area.
7) Small Toolkit
A little-known fact about me is that I have glasses. Although I wear now contacts 99% of the time, this wasn’t always the case, and the glasses I wore constantly had the side screws come loose. This was extremely frustrating, especially when it happened during school. Since my glasses are necessary for me to see properly, my dad gave me a small toolkit that I have always kept on hand since, even in college.
Having a toolkit in college (like this one from Amazon) can not only help make repairs like these, but they can also assist in replacing calculator batteries or putting together dorm furniture. It’s not until you need it, but don’t have it, that you realize how indispensable this item really is.
8) HDMI Cable
We all love having movie nights in college, but when it suddenly becomes more than one or two people watching a movie on your laptop, it’s time to upgrade to a bigger screen. For many students, this means watching the movie on the television, but what if the television doesn’t have a DVD player?
This is where the HDMI cable comes in. Essentially, you can play the movie on the DVD player in your laptop, but it will play on the TV because of the HDMI cable that connects them. This is also great for class when giving presentations because you can connect your laptop (with the PowerPoint) to the class TV and have it displayed on both devices.
To check out an HDMI cable on Amazon, just click here.
9) Dorm Room Safe
We’ve already discussed what to have on hand if your valuables do get stolen, but how about we try to prevent that theft all together?
One of the best purchases a college student can make is a dorm room safe, which protects your valuables and gives you peace of mind, especially if you’re in class and you realize that you left your room unlocked or if you have a troublesome roommate who never locks the door to begin with.
To check out a dorm room safe on Amazon, just click here.
10) Step Stool
Okay, so maybe a step stool is a bit more obvious than renter’s insurance and a toolkit, but believe me, it is something that many students never even think of bringing to college.
A step stool can help with anything from reaching a tall shelf, hanging up posters and lights, providing an extra place to sit when friends come over, or even just a place to throw your backpack and jackets on when you get back from class. (I’m guilty of this.) The space for a step stool isn’t a problem either, as there are a ton that fold up for easy storage or can be tucked under a bed or desk. Of all the items that I forgot to bring and had to purchase later on, this is one of my favorites.
To check out step stools on Amazon, just click here.
Whether you’re an incoming or a current college student, hopefully these 10 items that you never thought to bring to college will help you get a step ahead in navigating collegiate living. (I know they helped me!) And before you go, let me know which of these items are your favorite must-have for your college dorm, or if I forgot one that I should add!