It’s that time of year again: school supply shopping season! If you’re anything like me, post-it notes, highlighters, and mechanical pencils are very exciting purchases. But walking into your local Staples or Office Depot can be overwhelming, and shopping in your college bookstore can mislead you into thinking you need things you really don’t (paper clips shaped like your school mascot, anyone?). Don’t get distracted by all the unnecessary items available and instead, stick to what you really need. This school year we’ve created a list, in two parts, of the most important supplies you should include on your list.
Part one of our 2018 school supply list includes the “must haves”. These are items that you should definitely already have before school starts. Part two includes “might needs,” or items that you can afford to wait on-- you might not need them, after all! For additional tips check out Mighty's Good's 13 Experts Share Their Best College Packing Tips.
|A ClassTracker Planner||
The right planner will keep you organized and on schedule. The wrong planner, though, won’t help you do much more than take notes. As the semester progresses, you’ll be glad to have a planner in your backpack that helps you track your assignments, monitor your schedule, plan extracurricular activities, and keep your grades up.
Buy your planner while supplies last!
|Backpack or book bag||
Make sure to get a backpack that has proper support for your back! Bags such as the Patagonia Refugio or the Northface Surge laptop backpack will offer you great back support, cute colors, and will last a lifetime.
Click here for Class Tracker’s definitive list of 2018’s best book bags and backpacks!
|Binders||Binders are great for paper organization. Buy a separate binder for each class, label it, and store all of your papers there.|
|Subject dividers||This will, of course, keep your files separate and will make finding notes easy!|
|White-Out||For those “oh no!!” moments|
|Highlighters||Good highlighters are a must-have to focus on key points in notes and readings. Grab a couple of colors to color-code your highlights based on importance or meaning.|
|Notebooks||College can include a lot of note-taking, so notebooks are good to have on hand. I have a different colored notebook for each of my classes to stay organized.|
|Paper clips||More organizational tools!|
|No. 2 Pencils or mechanical pencils||While I usually use pen for taking notes, nothing beats pencils when it comes to filling out exams or writing essays. You need to be able to erase sometimes, so stock up on No. 2 pencils.|
|Pens||A couple of good pens are must-haves for college students. When you’re trying to keep up with your professor talking a mile a minute, you’ll be glad to have a smooth pen.|
|Stapler and extra staples||When you’re hunting down a stapler to finish off that ten-page paper, you’re going to wish you had bought one at the beginning of the year. Get one that will last a while without giving you problems.|
|Sticky notes||Sticky notes come in handy for so many purposes. Writing notes to roommates, organizing class materials, and scrawling phone numbers all use sticky notes. Get different colors to stay color-coordinated.|
|Hole puncher||College professors do not hole punch papers for you. Stay organized by hole punching papers and filing them away in your binder.|
|Extra lined paper||It’s always nice to have backup paper! College ruled, of course.|
|Laptop||If you didn’t have a laptop for high school, it’s probably time to invest in a long-lasting computer. While these can be expensive, it’s possible to rent or look for discounts when you get to school.|
|Folders||If you want to store some papers in your dorm room, or you don’t have too many papers for one class, allocate a folder for it.|
|Erasers||My favorite eraser are these Staedtler Mars Plastic Erasers, that can pretty much erase any mistake.|
|Index Cards||When it comes to studying techniques, index cards are necessary. I like to make flashcards for exams, or even just write down key points on 4x6 cards.|
|Paper||I like to keep lined paper, blank printer paper, and graph paper in my desk to be prepared for any needs.|
Protip: can be used to mark you page in your planner and double as snack clips!
You may not need this all the time but when you do, you’ll be glad you have it.
|Filing bin and folders for your room||When the semester is over, keep your notes and study materials handy in a filing bin! This is also a great place to store your financial aid forms, book rental receipts, and more!|
|Graphing calculator||Wait on this until you know for sure you need one. Chances are, though, you probably will!|
|Multicolored pens||As previously mentioned, multicolored pens can be great for note taking.|
|Pencil pouch||You may want to use a small pouch on your backpack as a pencil pouch but, just in case you’re of the purse persuasion, a pencil pouch is incredibly handy to have!|
|Combination lock||Sometimes it’s nice to have some added security.|
|Lunch bag||You may not always have time to snag lunch in the cafeteria. Bring a thermal lunch box with you to class with snacks and sandwiches, just in case. This will keep everything cool and ready to go!|
|Printer||Similar to the whole stapler thing, libraries will likely have printers for your use. Check this out when you get to school and you can always order something online. And don't forget the paper and ink cartridges.|