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5 Things College Freshmen Don't Really Need (And 3 Things They Do!)

Usually, when preparing to move into a dorm, students create lists of things they want to bring along, but there are also things that are better left at home. In this article, double check that there is nothing on your list that you will regret bringing with - or not bringing with - you.

Please Don't Bring These Items

Preparing for the first year in college dorms can be very exciting! Walking through the stores, it seems like there are a million things to get, from itty bitty book lamps to high-end laptops and electronic gadgets to creature comforts from home, like microwaves or coffeemakers. But what do freshmen really need their first year in the dorms? And what should they skip?

Dorms and campus housing can offer quite small accommodations and have a long list of items not allowed. Below are five things that should never see the inside of a college dorm room.

  1. Candles, any open flames or incense. Fire safety is a very serious consideration when living in close quarters with a lot of other people, especially when many students may be clumsy or forgetful due to sleep-deprivation or a few too many beers.
  2. Unnecessary valuables. First, theft can be a serious problem on college campuses. Second, dorm rooms are not the most spacious of living situations. Leave expensive or valuable (or simply unnecessary) items, such as jewelry, expensive electronics, large sums of cash and off-season clothes, at home.
  3. Electronic items and appliances that are against the rules. Talk to the housing office ahead of time to find out what is and what isn't allowed. Many websites suggest taking microwaves, toaster ovens, hot plates and coffeemakers, but there are several schools that don't allow these items. Dormitories may have electric voltage limitations as well.
  4. Pets. There are many reasons not to bring pets to residence halls, the first and foremost being that colleges and universities do not allow them, although occasionally fish will be tolerated. Second, fellow students may be allergic to them, which will not work in the close quarters. Also, certain animals could be potentially dangerous if they got loose. And finally, the hectic schedule and the sometimes drunken antics of college students may not be a safe environment for the animals.
  5. Alcohol, drugs, weapons and anything illegal. Dorm rooms will be inspected. Keeping illegal drugs, weapons, stolen items or alcohol (if you are under 21 years old) could potentially bring a lot of trouble.

Don't Forget These Items

The list of things to bring to school is long, including appropriate clothing, toiletries, several sets of sheets, towels, clothes hangers, quarters for laundry, non-perishable snacks, cleaning supplies, surge protectors, basic tools, office supplies and office equipment. Below are three things that often get overlooked, but can make a huge difference in the freshman experience.

  1. Flip flops or shower shoes. It is a horrible thing to have to take a shower in a filthy bathroom used by many other people and strangers. Chances are you will have to share a bathroom with at least a few other students. Footwear for the bathroom is a must!
  2. A stapler. Who would think that such a small thing could cause such chaos! No college student gets through the school year turning in only one-page assignments. Students who forget the simple little stapler could waste precious time in a frenzied search for someone with a stapler on them!
  3. A USB flash drive. Flash drives are much more efficient than burning CDs or e-mailing large amounts of information. Whether the need is to go print files at the library, do a PowerPoint presentation in class or simply share music and pictures with friends, flash drives are quite handy.

Read some college admissions tips for home-schooled students.