Personalized Support for the College Application Process

May 2019

Tips for Off-to-College Shopping

There are ten thousand sites with lists of dorm essentials that you *have* to buy for students. It can be tempting to fall into the mindset that preparing for college means a series of giant trips to Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, and Walmart. Before you go wild stocking up on every item on the various "Dorm Essentials" lists provided by your helpful merchant, I encourage you to take a moment and think about what is actually essential. Most students do not need an alarm clock (they have a phone), atlas (do they even make these any more?), or DVD player (unless you are time traveling to the 90s and there are no streaming services).
  • I recommend getting just the basic items before you leave home. Bedding, bath towels, and a reliable lap top should do the trick. You can pick up the "nice to have" items during a local shopping trip once you have a better idea about how much space you will actually have in your dorm room.
  • Most of my students are big fans of the memory foam mattress toppers. Make sure you get the right size to match your mattress. Pro tip: You can use rubber shelf liner to keep it from slipping.
  • Bed Bath and Beyond will allow students to purchase items at home and pick them up at a store near campus. They also have a school-by-school list of items that are recommended or not allowed in the dorms. Here is the link to search for your school. 
  • The Container Store offers 20% off during the month of July. Again, you can purchase items ahead of time and pick them up from a store near campus. They also offer a checklist of items by campus.
  • Students can join Amazon Prime for students for a discounted rate (plus a six month free trial).