What are the must items for college students in 2011?

When I went to college in 1990, the must-have items included a cute shower pail for the communal bathroom, a Velcro shower wrap from Victoria’s Secret, a cute comforter and some extra-long sheets.  (Why are the dorm beds all extra long?)

We didn’t bring a computer or phone – cell or otherwise. I do think I brought an electric typewriter.  (Do dorms even bother with landlines anymore?)

My sister-in-law is heading off to Florida State University this fall and she will be taking an Apple laptop, an iPad and a cell phone. I am so worried about her laptop and iPad being stolen. Can you put a LoJack on those things? How do you protect those items in a dorm room? Heavy safe in the closet?

What are the must-haves for college now and how do you protect your expensive electronics from being stolen – not necessarily by intruders but even by roommates and their friends? Is that a concern?

61 comments Add your comment

HB

August 12th, 2011
12:10 am

IPads have a feature that allow you to locate it and display a message like “I’m lost. Please call xxx-xxx-xxxx.” If stolen and you can’t catch the person using the iPad locator, you can remotely wipe the data. I think you can buy cable locks for when you leave a laptop in the dorm room.

DB

August 12th, 2011
1:37 am

Cell phones and computers can be programmed with passwords so that they can’t be used by other people. (Hint: BACK UP YOUR SMARTPHONE DATA REGULARLY!!) And never leave your laptop open in your room unattended — roommates and friends can miscievously hijack Facebook accounts and email.

a. My son just missed the iPad/tablet revolution for school, but he said that he would have definitely gotten one to record lectures if he was still in school.

b. Check to see how many textbooks are are Kindle — lot cheaper that way, and MUCH easier to carry around with you! Very searchable, too, for studying and looking up key phrases.

c. Know how to cook SOMETHING other than heating up pizza or Kraft’s Macaroni and Cheese.

d. Never buy the books before the first lecture — you’ll end up not needing about 15-20% of them.

e. PUT TOGETHER A GOOD FIRST AID KIT! Include first aid cream, different sizes of band-aids, cough/cold medicine, Tylenol/etc., Midol, and a pair of tweezers (for splinters, etc.)

f. A decent tool kit — a screwdriver with interchangeable heads, a small hammer, a pair of pliers and a tape measure. If you’re planning to put up posters, get the easily-removable mounts.

g. Laundry detergent and dryer sheets, if used. You’d be amazed at how many people think that the laundries in the dorms provide detergent . . . AND KNOW HOW TO DO LAUNDRY! (Hint: New purple shirt and new white shorts equal new lavender shorts . . .)

h. 95% of the dorm rooms have a TV, and a fridge and microwave. We got my daughter a somewhat larger fridge, one that was about 4 feet tall, with a real freezer section, big enough to stash Klondike bars and a few emergency frozen foods, and lots of room for fresh fruit and yogurt. :-) It was GREAT, and plenty big enough to share. Those little square fridges are useless.

i. Bring a cookie pan — sometimes,. you just want fresh warm cookies, even if they are the break-apart ones from the grocery store :-)

j. Don’t go overboard on school supplies — you won’t use 3/4’s of what you think you need. You may not even need a printer, many professors prefer electronic submissions these days. Wait and see before you lug the printer to school.

k. Depending on closet/storage, plan to have underbed storage drawers (either stacking or flat, depending on your room configuration) and consider a hanging rod that doubles your hanging space for short stuff like shirts and folding pants, etc.

l. If you have your own bathroom, bring cleaning products (i.e., wipes if you want fast and easy, cleaners and sponges/brushes if you’re determined). You are sharing a bathroom, and not everyone has the same standards of cleanliness that you do. Plus, after hearing the girl in the next room who shares your bathroom spend an hour throwing up in the bathroom after a party, you’ll be glad you don’t have to wait for the cleaning service . . .

j. If you are a girl, NEVER let your drink cup out of your sight or out of your hand. Bring it to the bathroom with you, if you have to, and if you ever set it down at a party and turn your back, just go get a fresh cup, and pour it yourself, if you possibly can.

k. College kids may be able to get by on 4 hours sleep a night, but most humans need more. Adjust accordingly.

l. Don’t eat too much junk food. Try to eat more veggies than pizza.

m. Decent bookbag and waterbottle. Fill the waterbottle every morning before you leave, and keep it full all day. Much easier (and cheaper) to grab some water instead of opting for a soda.

n. Do not be afraid to get to know your professors, no matter how big the class. Get to know them, let them get to know you. Ask questions, don’t skip class (you are paying for every one, you might as well get your money’s worth) and if you don’t understand something — that’s what office hours are for. That, and many teachers welcome short, concise emailed questions. ASK.

o. Don’t be afraid to live your moral code. Not EVERYONE is screwing everyone in sight, even though it sometimes seems like it.

p. Join a club or organization or two. Start slowly with things that interest you. Maybe one your fall semester, add or replace second semester, etc., etc. Don’t do something just because it will “look good on your resume’” — do it because it feeds something in your soul, whether it’s a modern dance troupe or a mock trial team.

q. Exercise. Most colleges and universities have work-out facilities — USE THEM. Walking is good — but it’s usually not enough to keep the Freshman 20 at bay.

r. Students are amazed and charmed at how much “free time” they have when they only have 2 or 3 courses a day . . . umm, no . . . the rest of the time is for STUDYING, not xBox or Facebook! Set aside at least a couple of hours each day when you turn off your phone and social networking and CONCENTRATE. You’ll get it done much faster, and more effectively.

Enjoy the beginning of your adult life!

DB

August 12th, 2011
1:43 am

T: Don’t waste a minute worrying about her electronics — that’s her job, and there’s not a thing you can do about it! And most dorms these days don’t have land lines — and the ones that do are seldom ever connected.

misawa

August 12th, 2011
2:28 am

I was such a minimalist when it came to back to school shopping for me. My wife was truly disappointed. I might pick up the book I’d need ahead of time, but all other things I waited until at least the first class or two. Specialty stuff – compass, log-log, semi-log, graph paper, etc. – I’d wait until it was assigned or we at least talked about it in class.

motherjanegoose

August 12th, 2011
3:32 am

DB…you pretty much covered it for me! Whew…good thing there is not a dump out for long winded posts…’cuz I think you beat me…haha!

A professor from NY once told me, ” You pay more for concert seats that are located at the front…college lecture seats are all the same price…do not sit in the back!”

We like those plug in the wall flashlights that are now a two pkg at Costco for $20. We have them at home too and if the power goes off they light up immediately…no fumbling around for light. A good choice for JUST IN CASE. My daughter loves those laundry sheets by Purex…they look like a felt square and you just pop them in the washer and dryer…no measuring or dripping. They are on sale this week at Walgreen’s as is the Swiffer Wet Jet for floor mopping.
A “sick box” with crackers/pretzels and 7 up/Gatorade can come in handy too. Although my son and his room mate raided theirs early and then I was called ( in Idaho) and told he had the flu and had nothing. Oh well!

My kids tell me they have a FLASH CARD thing installed on their Mac’s where the cards “pop up” to read and memorize. I do not know about this but the seem to like it.

Here is my biggest tip: If your child has not already exhibited financial responsibility BEFORE they have thought about college…it will be a interesting year for everyone. HInt…those of you with younger children: get started early with the ebb and flow of $$$. Many kids who are soley on their parent’s dime will run out of $1000.00 ( in their checking acct.) before they run out of shampoo. Opening up a checking account for your child a month before college and dumping in a large chunk of money will not be a good move for most kids. Some have a built in budget gene but most do not.

On that note,my daughter called me yesterday and told me:

“I am becoming like you…I stopped to fill my car up on the way to work and was thinking it would be $22. It was $22.04.” I often pre-figure things in my head and have mentioned it to her. Predicting outcomes, to me, can be a useful skill for college too:

My best time with this, was when I was at BIG LOTS with a cart full of items and I took out a $100.00 bill. My total? Exactly $100.00!

motherjanegoose

August 12th, 2011
4:20 am

FYI…while some of you are as or more intelligent, than your kids. I am not. I know a lot of practical things that are light years ahead of what my kids know but their academic knowledge often surprises me. It is fun to pick their brains on things I do not know!
My insurance agent told me yesterday ( when I told him my two went to UGA) “My brother and I both went to UGA many years ago and if you added our SAT scores together now…we would still not get in!”
Sometimes, you just have to let them go and NO this is not always an easy thing to do nor do things always work out the way you intended.

shaggy

August 12th, 2011
7:41 am

Just bring a brain…at least part of one. The rest will fall into place for better or worse.
Plus a laminated card that says “mom and dad will NOT let me live in the basement…EVER!”…just as an incentive.

motherjanegoose

August 12th, 2011
8:03 am

@ shaggy…I was in Ross a few days ago and the people behind me had two boys who were hassling each other. I looked at them and jokingly said, “they will move out eventually.” A lady in front of us said, “Then they move back in.” I paid for my items and asked her, ” do you have experience with that as my ( 24 year old) son was home for 30 days and he just moved back out ….he lived in our finished basement for a month between apartments.” She replied, “Oh we won’t let our son live in the basement…he is 27 and has been home for 6 months.” Maybe you need to market that card for parents….just sayin’….

JATL

August 12th, 2011
9:13 am

Make sure of dorm rules before going out and purchasing any sort of fridge or big electronic item. Most allow the small(and pretty awful) fridges, but some don’t due to building codes and school rules. This is especially true of smaller private colleges. Some have prohibitions on televisions or sound systems as well, particularly larger sizes.

By the time my two go to college, they’ll pribably just put on their special telepathy suits amd helmets and get a ritual barcode tatooed on them for payment and ID purposes.

Actually, Shaggy...

August 12th, 2011
9:22 am

…they need to take their WHOLE brain at the beginning of the freshman year since many of them will kill A LOT of their brain cells doing the usual freshman “freedom” thijg…

motherjanegoose

August 12th, 2011
9:31 am

JATL…it’s a hand scan at UGA both for eating food service and getting into the dorm. At least that is how it was last year!

NikNak

August 12th, 2011
9:40 am

Lock your room when you leave! It’s the simplest, most DUH thing you could do. Make sure that the roommate(s) know how you/they feel about leaving the room open and unattended. Also, most dorm rooms come equipped with a lockable drawer for each occupant. Mine was a lockable, 2-drawer file cabinet. I put my laptop, iPod, cash, purse, jewelry in there when i was not using them.

Another suggestion I have is to NOT use a computer bag when you’re lugging your laptop all over campus. I know a lot of people who had their bags stolen simply because they looked like they had a computer in them. Just get one of those little neoprene zippy cases and put it in a regular book bag.

also, CLOROX WIPES.

Lori

August 12th, 2011
9:58 am

Knowledge of how to balance a checkbook if they have their own account!! My nephew (20 yrs. old) keeps bouncing checks because he forgets to write down his check card transactions!!

Warrior Woman

August 12th, 2011
9:58 am

For mine, the must-haves were laptop, the largest mini-fridge we could find, a small microwave, cleaning/laundry supplies, and a first aid kit.

In the months leading up to move in, my daughter and her roommate decided on a dorm decoration scheme and purchased a couple of sets of XL twin sheets, comforters, throw rugs, and curtains.

We also purchased as many required texts as possible from Amazon and other off-campus vendors, saving several hundred dollars.

To prepare my kids for college, when they entered middle school, we started paying their allowances into a checking account. We continued our allowance requirements of saving at least 10%, investing 10%, and giving at least 10% to charity, and added the requirement that they create budgets for monthly spending and savings goals. When my oldest left for college, she had several thousand in savings and investment accounts (in addition to our college savings for her), and had 7 years experience in managing a bank account and a budget.

Mattie

August 12th, 2011
9:59 am

We will be sending our youngest two back to school this weekend, with a whole lot less than they took as freshmen. Both live off campus in furnished apartments, with x-long full beds. I never heard of x-long full, and neither did sheet manufacturers. They have to use queen sheets, and take up the slack with various mattress pads and memory foam toppers. But, they are taking old sheet sets from the house. I bought new ones that will stay here, and get washed occasionally (unlike their sheets at school).

Setting up the kitchens took the most money, but Home Goods and TJ Maxx are great for open stock items. Youngest and his 3 roommates made up a chart with all the desired stuff listed, and split it up.

It pays to contact your roommates ahead of time to avoid duplicating things. Last year we bought the dorm refrigerator, and the roommate bought the tv, since UGA dorms don’t provide one. A futon went under the lofted beds.

What we don’t spend money on are new books, and lots of school supplies.

We are trying to set up food budgets, since neither boy wanted the food plan this year. I hope they realize they will not be eating as well as they do at home, but they’ll find out soon enough.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

August 12th, 2011
10:33 am

things certainly have changed…condoms were all I cared about having on me at all times. Ahhhhh college.

“Why are the dorm beds all extra long?” uhhhhhh because that was the way to accomodate the tall people without having to hear complaints about beds being too short. But then again, hearing you complain about how your sheets didn’t fit probably wasn’t a walk in the park either.

I’m with NikNak…lock your door. If you can leave your laptop in your dorm and it doens’t get stolen, you’ve learned a great lesson about your fellow students in college…if it does get stolen, you’ve also learned a great lesson about your fellow students.

sonj

August 12th, 2011
11:25 am

HB, you have said it all, lol!! I just dropped my daughter off last week, and my oldest daughter, who attends college here in Atlanta, told her the same thing. Do not leave your drink cup unattended, don’t let anyone make you a drink without seeing them prepare it. I also worry about people stealing her phone and laptop. I told her that if she can, never leave those things in her room. College is so expensive! We brought her a used refrigerator, and microwaves are not allowed in her dorm rooms.

Jimmy O'Hagan

August 12th, 2011
11:26 am

Beer funnel, Golden Grain, whipped cream chargers

theresa

August 12th, 2011
11:39 am

Db awesome list!! Lori great thought on the checkbook. I remember learning in college.I was hard!! My sis in law was valedictorian of hr class and is coming in with like two yeas done from ap classes. she is on full scholarship and her essay was chosen to be read before a full convocation of the school before they even start classes. She will be up on stage with the president of he college during it. She is a smart sweet innocent girl. I’m more worried about the boys than the academics. Thinking of her definitely!!!

theresa

August 12th, 2011
11:41 am

Jimmy we had a different college exp3erience.

Atlanta mom

August 12th, 2011
11:56 am

Just be sure to cut the apron strings, if you haven’t already done that.

JoeV

August 12th, 2011
11:56 am

Tell them to NEVER LEAVE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

jarvs

August 12th, 2011
11:56 am

Jani Lane was found dead in a Comfort Inn?
What happens to people?

jarvs

August 12th, 2011
11:57 am

Studying hard and partying hard…think I had theresa and Jimmy’s college experiences.
I’ve never been able to sleep much.

b

August 12th, 2011
12:15 pm

Ikea is another great place. Freshman year the 4 suitemates met there with their moms, ate lunch and then shopped so that there were not duplicates for things in the kitchen or bathroom areas.

I cannot say it enough…..do not drink out of a cup you let out of your sight and did not pour or watch be poured yourself! Also, have your cell at all times, try to never walk at night alone, and lock your dorm/suite room all the time. This also goes for your car. Passwords are good for smartphones and computers. If they are stolen, or you let them sit, others cannot get into them easily.

Tairy Greene

August 12th, 2011
12:18 pm

when you went off to college, were you the fat, disgusting pig that you are now?

Aubrey

August 12th, 2011
12:20 pm

If you can get with the roomate ahead of time and plan storage. The laptop is a necessity and usually a requirement. There are locks for when it’s in the room. Perhaps a locked foot locker wouldnt be a bad idea if they have stuff they are worried about getting stolen?

KimZ'sPackage

August 12th, 2011
12:24 pm

Must have?
A thirst for Knowledge. Self discipline, self respect, self esteem, and confidence. Don’t be a drunk Hoe or Bast..d to try to fit in because your are there to become Your Own Person.

JATL

August 12th, 2011
12:27 pm

Ah, Jimmy -whip it and whip it good!

John Blutarsky

August 12th, 2011
12:45 pm

I dont know what kids take to college today but one things for sure, they’ll be coming back with an alcohol problem and a case of the clap.

penguinmom

August 12th, 2011
12:46 pm

TWG – I agree, why are dorm beds XL? They keep having really cute sheet sets at Target that my tween daughter would love but they are all for college dorms so are Twin-XL. I can understand the boy’s side having XL I guess but don’t understand the reasoning overall since it means you have to buy specific sheets for the dorm instead of being able to send sheets from home.

JATL

August 12th, 2011
12:54 pm

@penguinmom -there are tall people in this world ( men and women) whose feet dangle off of regular twins. Given how many dorms are co-ed, and just the sheer numbers of beds involved at larger universities, it would be an inventory and scheduling nightmare to try and separate regular and XL mattresses.

KimZ'sPackage

August 12th, 2011
1:19 pm

Send them all to Military Colleges or ROTC type dorms and many of these issues will take care of themselves.
Better yet make all 18yr olds do 2 years in the military before even going to college. surprising how little they will actually NEED compared to what they Want to have at college.

jarvs

August 12th, 2011
1:31 pm

Yes camrade. Make them do 2 years in the military.
Karl Marx would be proud.

KimZ'sPackage

August 12th, 2011
1:43 pm

jarvs
MOST and I do mean MOST students are not ready for college. They are not responsible enough to handle it. The Services give many kids a chance to gain much needed self respect and self discipline. That would make most of the students 20 yrs old when they start college. They then only have their freshman year to wait until they are legal drinking age. They would be in better shape physically and mentally too.
The only kids not having to serve at 18 are students that get scholarships to college. Be that Academic or Athletic. If they fail out then they will do their 2 years.
There is nothing wrong with Having to serve your country.

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

August 12th, 2011
2:26 pm

@KimZ’sPackage…

“There is nothing wrong with Having to serve your country”…you’re absolutely right..when you apply it across the board to every son and DAUGHTER in the country with no exceptions other than physical limitations….NOT the way the US has a history of applying it. The wealthy and politcally connected get deferments (i.e. Dick Cheney and Bill Clinton…Cheney’s reason was great…”I had other priorities in the 60’s than military service”) or get to serve in very coveted non combat reservist roles (i.e. G.W. Bush) while those without the connections and wealth get to be put in harm’s way.

Based on the political environment today, I see no reason to believe that politicians in office today have the moral fortitude to institute a system where they would be unable to prevent sending their own children to war while willingly sending mine.

shaggy

August 12th, 2011
3:04 pm

Tiger,

I TOTALLY agree, and well said.
Our all volunteer miltary is doing just fine thank you, no need for the corrupt politicians to get their dirty, grimy hands on our kids, via the draft boards…one of the MOST corrupt institutions of the corrupt institutions….PERIOD!

Tiger Ochocinco Mellencamp

August 12th, 2011
3:17 pm

@shaggy….thanks, but I even disagree with the statement that our all volunteer military is doing just fine. I think there should be a draft, but only where no one gets to cheat it without severe penalty. Our all volunteer military is stressed to the brink. We have Ft Carson here and those guys are serving 3, 4, and 5 deployments while the rest of us are fat, dumb, and happy. The real benefit though of a TRUE draft is not that there will be more bodies to send, but rather the public outrage of our politicians sending our sons and daughters to questionable conflicts for over a decade. When we’re all in together, these conflicts won’t last near as long as when only a select few get to do the dying.

motherjanegoose

August 12th, 2011
3:34 pm

@ John…not here.

KimZ'sPackage

August 12th, 2011
4:03 pm

You two can’t READ or Comprehend very well.
I said ALL only exceptions are students that receive a Full Scholarship Academic or Athletic. If they fail out then they go in the service. NO DRAFT BOARD. Where do you see a need for a DRAFT in anything I said.
ALL ALL ALL not a few. ALL.

motherjanegoose

August 12th, 2011
4:19 pm

@ Mattie…I have been shopping at BIG LOTS and Ross since Christmas and picking up $20 worth of stuff each week. My daughter is going off better than I did when we got married but then my mom did not pay for a single thing for my dorm…oh…I even paid for my own plane ticket and all tuition/room and board. Times have changed here. I did have use of a 1966 Ford Station Wagon for three years!

justmy2cents

August 12th, 2011
4:44 pm

I agree with KimZ….two years plus training for all HS grads. Male & female alike! Learn discipline, fitness, a job skill….and get all your partying out of your system before attending college. Plus college is free while you are in and you can also get the G.I. Bill and possibly the college fund kicker.

catlady

August 12th, 2011
4:46 pm

Theresa, “You” don’t protect those things. YOUR YOUNG person protects them, with reasonable help from you (like engraving/registering).

In college my beloved watch of my grandmother’s was stollen when I took a shower. Boy, that hurt. It wasn’t worth much money, but I loved it. Lesson? I locked the door when I took a shower(right outside my bedroom). I wasn’t allowed to bring anything of real value to school.

MomsRule

August 12th, 2011
4:51 pm

I saw an article the other day reporting that kids that go into the military and then to college have a higher rate of suicide.

Doesn’t make it fact….just throwing it out there.

justmy2cents

August 12th, 2011
5:00 pm

Hmm I went in at 17, then went to college…I’m still here :o)

KimZ'sPackage

August 12th, 2011
6:10 pm

momsRule

Where did you find that article. I would love to read it. Interested to know the parameters of the study.

MomsRule

August 12th, 2011
6:49 pm

KimZ’sPackage, it took me a while to find a copy.

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/08/110804123841.htm

“Nearly half of college students who are U.S. military veterans reported thinking of suicide and 20 percent said they had planned to kill themselves, rates significantly higher than among college students in general, according to a study presented at the American Psychological Association’s 119th Annual Convention.”

justmy2cents

August 12th, 2011
7:02 pm

Ahh well…population control

1 is enough

August 12th, 2011
7:04 pm

How many “school blogs” does the AJC need? This one can definitely go away!

KimZ'sPackage

August 12th, 2011
7:22 pm

Thanks MOMSRULE
This is people that actually were involved in live combat.
It is not the same for soldiers that have not been in action.
So if EVERY person had to serve many would never see live combat.
Like they say you can use statistics to prove or disprove any point.
Combat is hard on almost every soldier in some form or fashion.
I wonder how many just college students that thought about suicide were having mom and dad pay for college? I figure kids that are working to pay their way through school or on scholarship don’t think about killing themselves as much.
So mom and dads stop paying for your kid to go to college. Make them earn it or they migh kill themselves. LOL just saying need to see all the #s and reasons.