Regional College Access Center

What to pack for college

Shawn says: I called my future roommate up to figure out if there was any big stuff we needed for our dorm room. I found out he's bringing a TV and a PS3, so all I need to bring is my Xbox.

And my school stuff. And clothes. I guess.

Checking in with your school

The first thing to do when planning your move to college is to check in with your school. Look for the housing or residency department, who manage the dorms. They might have a packing list that suggests items for you to bring.

Remembering important items

You should start packing for college well in advance of your actual move-in date. Throwing things in your bag at the last second won't cut it for this trip. You can find a very long list at You definitely won't need everything that list suggests, but it's a good place to start.

Here are a few basic items you won't want to forget:

  • linens
  • pillows
  • blankets
  • mirror
  • whiteboard & markers
  • clothes
  • hangers
  • alarm clock
  • laundry detergent
  • computer and printer
  • dishes and utensils
  • ID/bank cards
  • fan or space heater
  • toiletries
  • power strip
  • desk lamp

Always check with your parents or guardian before deciding which personal identification cards to bring with you and which your parents want to keep at home. Losing a social security card is a major hassle, and most students change dorm rooms (and move their stuff) every single school year—things can get misplaced in the shuffle.

It's always a good idea to contact the school as well to see what type of identification they require. For example, out of state students at the University of Arizona must present a form of ID other than a driverís license.

"My roommate brought that"

Sharing a dorm room with a roommate? Most freshmen do. If the university provided you with your roommate's contact information, make a call and ask what he or she is planning to bring. You probably don't need two microwaves or TVs, for example...