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The new school year is just around the corner and you know what that means! Time to ramp up and gather allllll the things on your college school supplies list!
Did you know that 86% of U.S. universities are planning some type of in-person instruction in Fall 2021? So now it’s officially time to resume our typical college school supply shopping!
Now, I don’t know how many of you can relate, and this may be weird for all I know… but I personally get excited to shop for school supplies.
In fact, I’m bummed that I’m no longer a student and don’t get to partake in the school supply shopping festivities ☹️ Gotta hunt for office supplies and pretend it’s the same thing, right?
BUT being a college graduate, I can proudly say that I know exactly what you need to get ready for the upcoming school year!
Feel free to adjust this school supplies list for yourself, but I can say that I’ve needed everything on this list (at one point or another). So I’m pretty confident that you’ll be glad you had these items!
This post is all about your college school supplies list.
College School Supplies List To Keep In Your Backpack
1. Pencil Case
There’s so many cute pencil cases these days, and sometimes I even like to find makeup bags to use as pencil cases. These geometric ones at Target are my favorite on the site!
Whether you prefer standard or mechanical, you’ll definitely want some pencils on hand in case you have an exam that requires a pencil and not a pen. This is common if your school uses Scantron sheets for exams.
These mechanical pencils were always reliable and such a classic!
I always prefer to have black and a wide variety of colored pens! Is it normal to have a favorite pen brand? If so, Pilot is easily my favorite due to the quality of the ink, and these Pilot pens are the only pens I will buy.
For colored pens, my go-to are the Stabilo felt-tip Point 88 pens. I’ve had these for 4 years and they are just as vibrant and smooth as ever and haven’t dried up a bit!
So…notebook strategy comes into play here. You’ll first want to decide if you’re a binder or notebook person (or maybe both? I’ve only found the need for one or the other).
Then, do you prefer a single-subject notebook for each class, or a 5-subject notebook for all classes?
My notebook strategy has always been one 5-subject notebook for all my classes. I think it helps the most with organization and keeping your backpack lighter. In my opinion, the 5-subject notebook is a must in college.
Also, a little tip: PAY ATTENTION to if a notebook is wide-ruled or college-ruled (if you care). I aaalways overlook this and get so mad when I accidentally grab a wide-ruled, but that’s just my preference!
Anyway, I love a good Five Star notebook for my 5-subject notebooks!
5. Binder (+ loose leaf paper, dividers, folders)
Also pay attention to the size of the binder. 1 inch or 1.5 inch usually does the trick.
This 1.5 inch binder is SO stylish! Might just have to grab it myself for my office 👀
One of those things you won’t need all the time, but is definitely nice to have when you do! I always like to keep a ruler or two somewhere in my backpack.
Scissors are also SO annoying to not have when you need them most! Make sure you add these scissors to your pencil case. You just never know, and it pays off!
8. College Planner
Oh, I am passionate about having a planner on your college school supplies list! Seriously, a must-have. You cannot go without this.
Now, I have two fantastic recommendations for college planners.
First, if you’re bad at sticking to a planner all the time (I am!), but don’t want the pages to go to waste…I highly recommend the (undated!) Clever Fox Planner!
This comes in SO many colors and the best part is that it’s undated so you won’t EVER waste pages. It also features so many amazing pages for setting goals. You’ll love having this by your side to get you through college!
The next recommendation is the Erin Condren Academic Planner. This planner is PERFECT for any college student looking to stay organized.
It has pages specifically for recording your class schedule and keeping track of projects and exams. It’s super comprehensive and well worth the money. You’ll be glad you had a planner like this one!
9. Post-It Notes
10. Mini Stapler
There are times where I needed to staple pages for an assignment and the professor didn’t even have a stapler on their desk. That’s a bummer!
Make sure you have a mini stapler to avoid moments like these. (You’d also be surprised by how few other students have staplers–so don’t rely on your peers!)
11. Three-Hole Punch
I just got one of these and I can’t believe I didn’t get one sooner! There’s been so many times where I awkwardly pushed my pages through my binder rings without a hole punch. Not cute. Never a bad idea to have a three-hole punch!
Have you seen how many cute highlighter colors exist these days?! We’ve really stepped it up beyond the basic tacky colors of neon green and neon orange.
I love pastel highlighters like these. Much less harsh and will make your notes look aesthetically pleasing!
13. Index Cards
Index cards are always a prime study tool. While Quizlet exists, nothing will replace the effectiveness of studying with physical flashcards.
14. USB Flash Drive
These aren’t always needed in this era of Google Drive, but I have actually found myself in situations where this was necessary. Especially for certain lab classes. Just to be on the safe side, always carry a USB flash drive!
You KNOW you’ll want some good quality headphones to get you through the school day. It might be time to splurge a little and grab yourself some AirPods!
Last but not least, you obviously need a backpack to put all these items in.
These Kanken Backpacks have been all the rage for a while, and they are super cute! (Not to mention, do you see all the color choices they have? Insane! These will fit ANY aesthetic you’re going for.)
College School Supplies List For Study Space Essentials
Most popular: Macbook Air
Certainly a favorite among college students, the Macbook Air is perfect for getting you through your college years. Between the Macbook Air and Macbook Pro, the Air is known to be the best for college students.
Most affordable: Lenovo Chromebook
I have this exact Chromebook and in my opinion, it has been an absolute GAME CHANGER compared to my old, slow Windows laptop! This boots up in under ten seconds and covered just about all my college needs.
The only note to be aware of is that it is not compatible with certain programs, like Lockdown Browser (this may have changed–but it was not compatible in 2020 when I had to use Lockdown Browser).
Do your research and make sure your programs are compatible with it, or that you have a second computer as needed. But overall, I have no complaints with my chromebook!
Sensible Pick: Dell XPS 13
This was rated among the best laptops in 2021 by PCMag. An excellent, reliable choice among Windows laptops, this Dell XPS 13 will absolutely cater to your every need in college.
If you are a Windows fan, this is definitely the way to go for your college laptop!
18. Desktop Computer
You can often get away without a desktop computer in college, but I really enjoyed having a larger screen and a reason to get up and do my work at an actual desk.
It taught me to care about specs because they make a HUGE difference in speed and performance. The Acer Aspire has 8GB RAM and up to 4.3GHz which are great numbers to look for in a computer (I promise it pays off to pay attention to specs!).
19. Printer (+ paper and ink!)
You would be surprised how many in person classes require printed copies of assignments. You absolutely need a printer in college, and this HP DeskJet is an excellent, well-rated choice!
And pro-tip: never buy your ink from a big-name retailer. There are MUCH cheaper options from third party ink companies online, and yes the cartridges are legit! I’ve been doing it this way for years.
20. Dry-erase Wall Calendar
I LOVE the idea of a calendar that never goes to waste or “runs out” of pages, so a dry-erase wall calendar is the way to go.
Having something like this on the wall of your study space serves as a great reminder of upcoming events and anything you need to look out for.
This glass dry-erase wall calendar from Sugar Paper is the cutest and classiest wall calendar I’ve seen. Super motivating to have up in your dorm or bedroom!
21. Bulletin Board and Pins
A wall calendar pairs perfectly with a bulletin board. It’s nice to have something more “open ended” for keeping notes, pictures, or memories up on your wall.
You can make practical use of it as an organization tool or even just to decorate and have fun with!
Every student’s needs may vary, so feel this out for yourself! But I can certainly say that I swear by this college school supplies list. All these essentials helped me feel prepared to take on college and I know they’ll help you feel the same!