When my daughter went to college last fall, we used every spare inch of the space in our vehicle to carry her stuff. It seemed like she packed her whole wardrobe, enough cleaning supplies to maintain the White House and more snacks than I thought she could eat in a year. Even then, we discovered she needed a few more things — items that no one told us we should pack.
So that you don’t find yourself in the same predicament, consider packing the following items.
- Health insurance card. Yes, most campuses have a clinic onsite to diagnose Strep throat, UTIs and other simple illnesses. However, any prescriptions are dispensed off campus at the local pharmacy. On-campus clinic can be overflowing with students, which can require a visit to an off-campus urgent care.
- Family medical history. You aren’t going to be with your college student when he or she visits a doctor at school. They will need to know your family’s basic medical history so they don’t have to call home while filling out the doctor’s forms.
- Basic kitchen tools. Take advantage of the kitchen in the dorms by making simple pastas, egg dishes or a comfort food from home. No one wants to use the dorm kitchen tools (who knows the last time they were washed). Instead, buy a cheap pot, colander, large spoon, crockpot, can opener and other items needed to make favorite dishes.
- Family passwords. For example, many TV providers require proof that you are already paying for their service in order for you to watch the programs online.
- Rain gear. It rains on almost every college campus at least some of the time. Don’t overlook purchasing a large umbrella (big enough to cover the student and their backpack), rain boots and a waterproof jacket. No one wants to sit in class in wet clothes.
- Water filter. Disposable water bottles can be expensive in single purchases and hard to haul across campus in large cases. Dorm room faucet or in-bottle water filters can save your student money and are easy on the environment.
- Checks. Much to our surprise, you cannot pay for everything on campus electronically or with cash.
- Tool box. Students will need a screwdriver to open the back of their calculator battery compartment. Other simple tools might be a plunger for the suite bathroom or a mini air pump for blowing up balls or bike tires.
- First aid kit. A bag filled with cold medicines, pain relievers, bandages and a thermometer.
- Business attire. Most college students think they can wait until their junior or senior year to pack this item. However, some class projects, formal events or inductions require nicer clothes than a hoodie and yoga pants.
- Their own bank account. If they didn’t need one for a high school job, it’s time to get one. Most on-campus jobs are paid via direct deposit. My daughter’s account is linked to ours (one-way) so we can transfer money to her as needed.
In the process of packing? See the complete packing checklist below:
Nail polish remover
Towels: body, hand, wash cloths and kitchen
Paper towel holder
Broom and dustpan
Plasticware and plates
Batteries for replacement (remote, calculator, etc.)
Hooks for clothing, etc.
Decorations for walls
Duffle bag for overnights
Draw string backpacks
Pam Molnar is a freelance writer and mother of a college student and two high school students.