Best Back to School Supplies for College Students (Plus Tips on Making the Transition Into College Even Easier)
My son is entering his senior year of college and applying for grad school this fall. So he’s not who you might think of when you’re shopping for back to school supplies.
There are no teacher supply lists and his books are now all entirely digital. This kind of makes highlighters a thing of the past. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t need any school supplies. It simply means that shopping for a college student is different than shopping for school supplies for a third grader.
Target has a lot of great ideas for decorating college dorm rooms in addition to the standard back to school tools for college students. However Target also has one really amazing perk that really got my attention. And it’s absolutely perfect for students who are leaving home to go off to school.
When you shop online at Target.com, students can pick up your purchases at a Target store near the college campus they’re moving into. So there’s a lot less to pack for their next big life adventure. This means more room in the car for things from home that your new college student can’t live without.
So what are those must have back to school supplies for college students? Following are a few of my favorite back to school supplies. Plus some great tips for easing your son or daughter’s transition into college life. I’ve even include tips from my own son (who stayed local) and his girlfriend (who left home for school) that, as rising college seniors, felt will help your son or daughter have the best college experience possible.
The Best Back to School Supplies for College Life from Target
Even with a busy academic schedule and the opportunity to make tons of new friends, college can still feel lonely and even somewhat isolating to students. Something as simply as a package of command picture strips can help ease the loneliness as it’s an opportunity to display photos of friends and family back home. Plus, it’s also a chance to share photos of moments with new friends they make along the way. Or for a more whimsical touch, give a set of fairy photo clips with LED string lights a try.
Having a roommate for the first time in one’s life is always a new, and a somewhat challenging, experience – especially if your son or daughter is an only child. And let’s face it. Not every personality is well suited for another.
Wireless Apple® AirPods are a great way for kids to tune out the overstimulation that comes with starting a new school. And listening to music on the way to class can help ease anxiety so they’re relaxed when they enter each new class of the day. Not an Apple family? Sony also offers a great pair of True Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds that has equally rave reviews.
Alternately, if your son or daughter already owns a great pair of headphones, they’ll appreciate the Bose® Noise-Masking Sleepbuds. These completely wireless headphones will help your child get a better night’s sleep amidst the chaos and noise of dorm life – especially if their roommate snores.
Of course, a laptop is also a must for any college student. My son started college with a new MacBook Air and it’s kept up with needs over the past three years. However, if an Apple computer isn’t in budget, Target offers a lot of budget-friendly alternatives from Chrome, Windows, HP, Dell and Acer.
A Room Essentials™ Bathtub Caddy is a must for college dorm life. This convenient bathtub caddy allows for easy transport of all your college student’s bath and shower supplies to a shared dorm bathroom. It’s also and easy way to keep bathing supplies organized! Constructed to be partially see-through so there’s no guessing what’s inside, this caddy also has draining holes to help prevent water from collecting inside.
You’ll also want to be sure your new college student is stocked with personal care items, clothing hangers, a desk lamp and a power strip.
A super functional backpack is also a must. While many college students won’t necessarily have physical books to tote around, there are plenty of other things to stash inside. Snacks, money and a water bottle are musts for anyone running around a college campus all day.
This SwissGear® 18.5″ Scan Smart TSA Laptop and USB Power Plug Backpack is THE backpack to rival all other backpacks. It features a USB power ready port, TSA ScanSmart Technology and a large main compartment with flip-up show storage with side access pockets.
The ergonomically contoured, padded shoulder straps with built-in suspension make this backpack comfortable to carry, while the organizer compartment comes outfitted with a key fob as well as multiple divider pockets for pens, mobile phone, ID card and a memory stick. It also has an add-a-bag strap so it’s easy to slip the backpack over most telescoping luggage handles.
If you’re on a budget for back to school as many of us are, then you’ll appreciate both the quality and pricing of the products Target offers. Additionally, if you sign up for a Target REDcard (debit or credit,) you’ll also save 5% off your purchase when you use your card. Plus you’ll always get free shipping.
Tips for Easing Your Student’s Transition Into College Life
Now that you have your son or daughter stocked with the best back to school supplies for college, it’s time for the hard part. For them, it’s having the talk. For you, it’s learning to let go.
It’s super important to discuss what expectations you have for your child as far as academic performance as well as behavior while they’re away. Safety tips are also equally important. At the same, they’re learning to stretch their wings and start forging their own path for their lives. So here are fifteen amazing tips for new college students that you can share with them to ease their transition into college life.
Cody’s Back to School Tips for Entering College (From a Male Perspective)
1. Go to orientation and do all of the events. Everyone else will be as apprehensive as you. However this is one of the easiest ways you can make friendships that last a lifetime.
2. Buy a calendar. Read the syllabi. Put all important dates down in advance. This will let you know when you can have fun and when you need to work.
3. Make a daily schedule. Short work every day will be more effective than trying to do a lot of work all at one time.
4. Sleep. This cannot be stressed enough. If worse comes to worse, a fresh mind studying at the last minute will do better than a dead one that studied all night.
5. It will be harder than high school. It’s okay if you see a temporary drop in your usual grades. It’s happening to everyone else. Find out what you need to change to work around that.
6. Call home each week. The emotional support will be helpful.
7. Learn how to be independent. Figure out your schedule. Eat regularly and exercise if you can.
8. Do at least one extracurricular you enjoy, whether it’s a club or a sport. You’ll meet people and keep your sanity by doing something you enjoy.
9. Safety is crucial. Always be with someone you trust when you are out at events. Never leave a drink unattended. Also, don’t take a drink from someone else – even people you know. If you see someone that needs help, help them. Call campus police. You won’t be a party pooper, you’ll be saving a life.
10. Get to know your professors. It’ll help you now and when you need letters of reference. Don’t be afraid to ask your professors questions outside of class.
11. Write down your overarching goal. Write down all the things you need to do to achieve that goal. Then make sure you complete one of those sub goals every one to three months. This will help ground you to what you’re striving to achieve after college.
Paris’ Back to School Tips for Entering College (From a Female Perspective)
1. Everyone feels just as isolated as you. I never lived in a dorm. Rather I lived in the same apartment with roommates while I away from home over the course of four school years. So I can understand the isolation and difficulty that comes with trying to make friends when you’re in that type of situation. It’s easy to feel like you missed the train.
Students who are living in dorms for the first time will have already made friends the first week of classes. So it’s natural to feel like you are being annoying when trying to break into new friend groups. Honestly though, if you can find the right people, they will warmly welcome new friends into their circle. They will also value the things you bring to the table as part of that new friendship.
Your first year of college may be hard. Once you get into your major and find the right set of roommates however, making friends (even if you’re an introvert) will become SO much less daunting. You’ll find that you’re surrounded by like-minded people. You’ll also start to see recurring people each semester as your classes become more specialized.
2. Roommates can make or break your college experience. If you have the worst, most filthy and messy, disrespectful, loud roommates the first two years of college like I did, you’ll be able to relate. As a result of my first two years with roommates, I become a neat freak. I had to have all of the mugs facing in the same direction. I also had major trust issues when it was time for the next roommate to sign a lease with me.
The sight of a sink full of dirty dishes may eternally trigger you as a result of your experiences. However, if you keep pushing forward, you’ll realize that there is a light at the end of that gross, loud tunnel. And one day, even if its not in college, you will have a space you can call your own. Or you’ll finally share a home or apartment with somebody you know who shares your same methods and ideals.
3. Friends and relationships will come and go. People change a lot from who they were in high school. This can be hard to accept. You may feel like something is wrong with you when you leave home to go to college, and as a result, lose both your best friends and a significant other. Nothing is wrong with you. People just grow and change so much at this stage in our lives. So embrace it! See what and WHO the world brings to you and be thankful for the change that signifies.
4. Have whatever type of college experience you want. You don’t have to bend to peer pressure. Always keep in mind that there are people out there who are going to love you as you are and respect the boundaries and choices you make for yourself.
Peer pressure exists. It’s not everywhere like parents probably think however. If certain lifestyles aren’t for you, that’s great! Respect other people for their decisions as well, but also stand by yours. Standing by your own values and belief systems doesn’t make you lame. There are so many people that will ask once, you politely decline (and give your reasoning, or not) and they will ACTUALLY say, “That’s awesome! I respect that.” (This is from my own personal experience.) Those people are so important to have in your life. Try your hardest to find them, and don’t settle for less than what you are comfortable with or deserve.
Share Your Own Tips for New College Students!
Do you have any additional back to school tips for students entering college for the first time? If so, I’d love if you could share them in the comments. Alternately, I’d also love to hear about your memorable college experiences and how they helped to shape who you are today!
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July 30, 2018 at 11:54 am
Thanks for the great tips! My college days were a few years ago *ahem* so I loved reading the perspective of current students. My son is going into his second year, but he lives at home, so we don’t have to deal with dorm rooms.
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