College School Supplies List

Photo copyright Grace Fleming
Pulse Smartpen by Livescribe. Photo copyright Grace Fleming

Heading for college? You'll soon find that school work becomes a little more intense beyond high school, so you will need the right school supplies to meet the challenge. You'll need the basic supplies, like lined paper, folders, pens, and pencils to begin with. But to get the most out of study time, you'll need a few extras.

College Supplies for the Backpack

  • Post-It™ Flags: These little wonders are great for keeping track of important passages when reading a book. They're also handy for marking pages when writing book reviews and research papers. Don't ever read an academic book without sticky note flags!
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  • Student Planner: Every professor will supply students with a syllabus that lists assignment due dates and test dates. You'll want to record these dates right away! As soon as you receive that syllabus, start recording your due dates. You should also consider using the sticky note flags for test days or due dates. Beyond the first day, the planner will become your new best friend when it comes to staying on top of your studies.
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  • Tiny Stapler: Don't lose anything! Keep a stapler on hand for those times when professors hand out stacks of papers for you to read, and for assembling and turning in assignments of your own. Your friends will love you if you're always equipped with this essential tool.
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  • Highlighters: Highlighters are useful for pointing out important terms and definitions in workbooks and articles. You can use different colors of highlighter to create a code for different topics when conducting research.
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  • Calculator: If you sign up for a math class, expect to invest in the right calculator for the job.
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  • MLA Style Guide: Most freshman-year classes will require writing essays--and many professors will expect students to use MLA guidelines. They'll be looking for very specific formatting on title pages, essays, and bibliographies. The style guide will show you how to format citations, page numbers, and more.
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  • Index Cards: You'll go through hundreds of index cards in college. Nothing can compete when it comes to memorizing terms and definitions. Flashcards are essential for studying for tests.
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  • Memory Stick: These little devices are sometimes called flash drive or jump drives, but the name is not important. You'll need a portable storage device for backing up copies of your work.
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  • Blue Book: Blue books are small booklets used for essay exams. You should keep one on hand at all times. Test dates can sneak up on you! You can buy blue books in your university book store.

College Supplies for the Study Space

  • Big Wall Calendar: Record all due dates on a big wall calendar that you can see when you enter your room.
  • Colored Stickers: Use color-coded stickers on your big wall calendar, like blue dots for test days and yellow dots for assignment due dates.
  • Printer paper: Keep a stock of paper on hand for printing out assignments. Don't be late turning in a paper because you couldn't print it out!
  • Post-It Cover-Up Tape: This tape is great for studying for a test! Use this tape to cover up key words in your notes, a textbook, or a study guide, and voilà! You have a fill in the blank test. It sticks lightly to the paper to cover up words or definitions, so you can cover up a word, print on the tape, and peel off to see if your answer matches the answer underneath the tape.
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  • Glue, Scissors, and Tape: You may not need these items very often, but when you need them, you really need them!
  • Bulletin Board and Pins: Organize your life and keep family photos close at hand with a bulletin board.


College Supply Luxury Items

  • Smartpen by Livescribe: This is a favorite tool for math class. Students always seem to "get it" when a math teacher lectures and works out problems, but then they "lose it" when they sit down to do math problems on their own. The Smartpen enables students to record a lecture while taking notes. The pen will enable the student to place the pen tip on any word or drawing and listen to the part of the lecture that was taking place when those notes were recorded. Compare Prices Now
  • Post-It™ Easel Pads: This item is useful for brainstorming, but it's a little pricey. It's basically a pad of giant sticky notes that you can put on a wall or any other surface and cover with a mind-dump of notes, list items, ideas, or anything else. This tool is great for study group brainstorming sessions. Compare Prices Now
  • Notebook Computer: You will have access to computer labs on campus, but a notebook computer will free you up to do your work anywhere. You'll find that a full laptop gets tiresome really fast.  Compare Prices Now
  • Printer/Scanner: If you can afford to have a own printer in your room, be sure to get a printer with scanning capabilities. Scanners can be used to create study guides from your books. Compare Prices Now

    Note: Each college professor will distribute a syllabus during the first week of class, and that document will tell you if there are specific tools you need for the courses-things like protractors, poster boards, and art supplies.

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Your Citation
Fleming, Grace. "College School Supplies List." ThoughtCo, Aug. 4, 2017, Fleming, Grace. (2017, August 4). College School Supplies List. Retrieved from Fleming, Grace. "College School Supplies List." ThoughtCo. (accessed April 21, 2018).