College Freshman Survival Guide

Moving away from home for the first time can be scary – for both students and parents. But life in the dorm shouldn’t cause freshman fear. Get started now preparing for your college career, and you’ll be ready for class in no time.


  • Plan ahead. Start thinking about what you’ll need to thrive in dorm life. Make a list of items to purchase for your dorm and for class. Check with your college for a list of recommended items as well as items that are not allowed in the dormitory.


  • Create a budget. Determine how much income you’ll have while in school, and create a budget. Explore all your options for sticking to your new budget. Reloadable pre-paid cards are a great tool for learning to live within a set budget. These cards can be used like any debit or credit card but are loaded with money upfront and don’t require a bank account. They’re cheap, and many offer email or text updates on balances.


  • Dorm room essentials. Stocking a dorm room on a budget has been made easier by discount retailers. In one stop, you can get everything you need to outfit your dorm room. Basic include a bed-in-a-bag, sheets, towels, pillow, trash can and storage bins. You’ll also need laundry detergent and a laundry basket or bag, fabric softener and stain remover, an iron, a hair dryer, hand sanitizer and tissue. Think of the items you typically use throughout the day, and stock up


  • Bathroom Basics. Most dorms don’t provide the luxury of private restrooms, so be prepared for the community restroom. Items you’ll need include a shower caddy filed with essentials such as shampoo, razor, soap, wash cloths, flip flops, and a bath robe.


  • Stock the fridge. Busy class schedules and late-night study sessions require serious sustenance, typically in the form of easy to make foods. You’ll probably also want a few basic cooking supplies such as a can opener, a set of small bowls and coffee makers.


  • Get ready for class. Now that your dorm room is in order, you’ll need to get ready for class. Classroom basics include a book bag, notebooks, highlighters, and pens and pencils. If you have a computer and printer, don’t forget copy paper, extra discs or an external hard drive.