Heading out to college is a daunting task for several reasons. As the saying goes: ‘getting started is the hardest part’. 

School campuses have taken a hard hit over the past few years due to the pandemic. When they’re not having to shut down due to outbreaks, they’re struggling with foreign student retention due to costs. You’re probably wondering how anyone can start a successful college career with so many factors. 

Continue reading to learn what you should pack for college in 2022. We’ll make sure to cover all the bases so you can focus on your blossoming career.

Absolute Essentials

2 students relaxed in their shared apartment

Here are the must-haves that no student can live without. You’re on a budget and a time limit, after all. You’ll be able to enjoy the finer things in life once you’re in a different living situation (and once you graduate!). 

Cozy Clothes That are Easy to Mix and Match

You’ll be swamped with schoolwork, extracurriculars, and/or your job throughout the week. Even the most fashionable student will need a break when it comes to putting together an outfit. 

Get yourself comfortable clothes that are easy to mix on the fly. 

  • Sweatshirts (they’re a college staple!)
  • Leggings
  • Sneakers
  • Winter boots
  • Running sneakers
  • Shackets (they’re a highly flexible mix between a shirt and a jacket)
  • Gloves, scarves, and hats for the cold weather

Record and Buy Medication For All Occasions

This area should be navigated as carefully as possible. While your college will no doubt have a clinic and resources should you be in a tight spot, a few medical supplies in your cabinet will help you in a pinch.

Even more importantly, take close documentation of any medical allergies you have. You should write these onto a wristband and a small card in your wallet for easy access.

  • Pain medication
  • First-aid kit
  • Health insurance card
  • Birth control
  • Disposable masks (N95 and KN95 are most recommended by the CDC)
  • Hand sanitizer and anti-bacterial soap
  • Anti-bacterial wipes

Have Extra Toiletries and Accessories

Remember the last time you went to the bathroom and ran out of toilet paper? Save yourself the pain by stocking up on extra toiletries. 

Have a designated cabinet for extra items so you can have an emergency stock ready to go.

  • Pads
  • Toilet paper
  • Toothpaste, rinse, and floss
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and hair cream/gel/mousse
  • Shaving cream
  • Make-up
  • Tweezers
  • Q-tips and cotton balls
  • Nail clippers
  • Extra contacts or spare glasses
  • Retainer/mouthguard

Related: Why High School Students Need a Growth Mindset

Stock Up on Basic Furniture

It’s difficult to move furniture to your new place. You’re often in the position of having to ask for help to move heavy sofas or tall bookcases: sometimes it’s easier just to sell furniture you don’t need.

Try to keep your furniture basic so you don’t need to rely on a lot of assistance moving back and forth. 

  • Small sofa (sectionals are popular for their flexibility and lightweight)
  • Small chairs
  • Foldable table
  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Floor mat
  • Vacuum
  • Space heater (make sure not to leave these on when you’re out of the apartment)
  • Mattress or futon
  • Mirror

Have a Transportation Plan Mapped Out

If you’re a remote learner, you won’t have to worry about this aspect very much. If you’re going to school in person or have a hybrid model, you’ll need a transportation plan.

Keep in mind most colleges and universities offer discounts for bus passes or parking spots to help relieve your financial liability.

  • Bus pass
  • Car insurance
  • Parking permit
  • Bicycle (including equipment like spare tires, air pumps, and helmet)
  • Backpack or duffel bag
  • Laptop bag
  • Light-reflecting jacket (for cycling during dark or rainy days)

Related: Top Habits & Skills of Successful Entrepreneurs

Day-to-Day Accessories

two students sitting down and reading on a college campus

These are the accessories that help you navigate day-to-day life. These items are easy to overlook in your effort to pack the basics, but you’ll miss them if they’re not around.

  • Umbrella
  • Wallet
  • Swimsuit
  • Water bottle
  • Sleep mask
  • Flashlight
  • Toolkit (such as screws, nails, and wrenches)

Essential Documents

Don’t be caught without these vital documents! These will make sure you’re able to do vital things such as accessing loans, filling out course paperwork, or applying for a babysitter.

  • Birth certificate copy
  • Health insurance copy
  • Car insurance copy
  • Paperwork for school (such as for financial aid)
  • Credit/debit cards
  • Emergency contact list
  • Meal plan card
  • School ID
  • Passport

Vital Electronics

We rely on electronics so often we hardly think about them. This is another area that will really hurt if you’re missing certain tools.

  • Phone
  • Phone charger (get a spare)
  • Comfortable earbuds or headphones
  • Laptop and charger
  • Power strip for your PC or laptop (make sure these are labeled as such to protect you from a power outage)

Do you feel equipped to tackle college? Our virtual entrepreneurship program has been featured on Forbes and Business Insider for its success in helping high school students start their career.

Essentials for COVID-19 Safety

We touched on this in a few previous sections, but the importance of COVID-19 safety can’t be overstated. Make sure you have these supplies on hand before you make the switch.

  • Disposable masks (such as surgical masks, N95, and KN95)
  • Hand sanitizer (including portable options for your purse or backpack)
  • Vaccine card
  • Thermometer
  • Extra money in case you get sick and need to stay home
  • Anti-bacterial wipes (such as Lysol)
  • Insurance card
  • Allergy wristband or card
  • Pain medication
  • Extra foodstuffs for a sick day (such as herbal tea, chicken broth, and crackers)
  • List of hospitals and clinics that accept your insurance

Helpful and Enriching Additions

student packing for college

This section shouldn’t be glossed over! If you end up with a little extra space in your college dorm, you may have wiggle room for a few helpful additions.

While these aren’t absolutely necessary, these items will make you extra cozy and help you with the drudgery of schoolwork.

Gaming System

You don’t want to be stuck in a cycle of constant work with no play. If you’re a gamer, make some space for your gaming system. Have spare controllers for nights with friends.

Printer and Supplies

Being a student means printing a lot of applications, essays, and study materials. Having a printer on-hand will save you constant trips to the library. 

Make sure to have extra supplies such as:

  • Copy paper
  • Ink cartridges
  • Toner 


Not to be confused with a graphics tablet, reading tablets are highly useful for students of all stripes. These tools allow you to take a break from your phone while still getting some reading and studying done.

Equip your tablet with useful features like Kindle or specific learning apps for maximum enjoyment.

Beautiful Art and Art Supplies

Studying and relaxing in a visually rich environment is good for your mental health. Take a little time to fancy up your space with some lovely artwork.

  • Posters
  • Throw rugs
  • Couch pillows
  • Art supplies (such as paints, clay, or pencils)
  • Light strings
  • Plants (real or fake)
  • Tapestries

Related: Do’s and Don’ts for Entrepreneurs Under 25


Getting ready for college doesn’t have to be like juggling plates. As long as you keep your eye on the prize, you’ll do anything you set your mind to.

Sort out your must-haves from your optional choices. Make sure you cover important areas such as day-to-day living, transportation, personal information, medical supplies, COVID-19 safety, and furniture. You should also consider recreational additions, decorative art, and extra toiletries to make your stay more comfortable.

Are you ready to take your high school career to soar to new heights? Contact us today to sign up for our virtual enrichment program to boost your resume and college applications.