30 Unexpected Things To Bring To College You Can’t Forget

Going to college soon and looking for unexpected things to bring to college? Here are some unexpected things to pack for college that you’ll need.

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unexpected things to bring to college

There are so many unexpected things to bring to college that tons of college freshman don’t realize they need to get. When I first went to college, there were a few important things that I needed but hadn’t even thought to bring with me.

As a recent college grad, I’m here to tell you all of the things no one tells you to bring to college with you! These are things I wish I brought to college as a freshman that you can’t forget!!

This post is all about unexpected things to bring to college.

Unexpected Things To Bring To College That You Can’t Forget

1. Rain Stuff

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unexpected things to pack for college

I totally forgot to bring things for rainy days when I went to college. If you’re going to be walking to class from the dorms, an umbrella, rain boots, and a rain jacket are all must have unexpected things to bring to college!! I learned this the hard way by having to sit through class dripping wet because I forgot these things. Don’t be like me!!

2. First Aid Kit

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A first aid kit is something I never really even thought about getting for college, but it is a good idea to have one on hand in case you get hurt or get a rash or anything!! Recently I got poison oak on a walk with my dog and I was so happy I had a first aid kit at home with the medicine and stuff I needed in it lol.

Related Post: The Complete Dorm Room Essentials List Of Things You Really Need In A Dorm Room For 2024

3. Extra Storage

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When I went to college I literally didn’t even consider bringing stuff for extra storage. But dorm rooms are SMALL. When I was trying to unpack and move into my dorm room I saw that my roommate had brought closet storage stuff like this, and I was really wishing I’d done the same thing instead of trying to squish all my stuff into a closet.

Getting some extra storage stuff will save you so much space and it’ll keep everything so much more organized!!

4. Ear Plugs

things i regret bringing to college

Dorm can be really really loud. Whether it’s noisy roommates or people just being loud in the halls or common areas, it can be tough to focus on homework or sleep with all the noise.

After moving into the dorms, one of the first things I bought after I realized I needed some was earplugs. I would highly recommend getting some if you’re going to be living in the dorms, especially if you’re an introvert like me!!

Related Post: 9 Life-Changing Hacks for Introverts In College That Will Help You Thrive While Living In A Dorm

5. Light Blocking Sleep Eye Mask

college girl must haves

Odds are you and your roommate will probably have classes at different times or will wake up at different times. If you want to avoid waking up to light shining in your eyes every morning because your roommate wakes up earlier than you, or not being able to sleep at night because your roommate goes to bed later than you, I would definitely recommend investing in a light blocking sleep mask like this one!!

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6. Self Defense

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It’s a good idea to get some self defense things for college, especially if you’re going to be living in the dorms. College campuses can be kind of dangerous, and it’s better safe than sorry! This door lock will keep people from getting into your room even if they have a key, and this safety alarm and pepper spray and taser kit would be good tools to have on hand for self defense.

7. Padlock or Safe

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Along the same lines, it might be a good idea to lock up your valuables if you’re living in the dorms so they don’t get stolen. This is something I never would have thought about if my dad hadn’t told me to do it.

In my dorm my desk’s top drawer had a spot for a padlock to lock it, so if your desk has that, a padlock like this is a good option! You could also get a little safe like this one, or a secret safe like this one to go on your bookshelf!!

Related Post: 25 Super Aesthetic Dorm Room Decor Ideas That Will Make Your Dorm Look So Cute

8. Shower Shoes

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If you’re going to be using a communal bathroom or sharing one with other people, you’ll need some shower shoes!! If you don’t wear any you’re at risk for getting bacterial or fungal infections, so I’d definitely recommend getting some.

Also, these shoes went viral on Tik Tok for being really comfy!! They’re also super cute.

9. Bath Robe

must haves for college

A bathrobe is another necessity for college that you might not think about. If you’re sharing a bathroom with other people, a bathrobe is a better coverup than just a towel. It’s also cute and will keep you warm if your dorm is chilly!! This one has pockets that you can put your phone/ keys/ whatever you need in.

10. Mesh Shower Caddy

things you need for college

You’ll also need a mesh shower caddy to carry your stuff from your room to the bathroom. You want to get a mesh one instead of a plastic one because the plastic ones tend to mold when they get wet (speaking from experience). This one is perfect because it has lots of pockets to keep things organized!!

Related Post: The Ultimate College Freshman Dorm Checklist + A Free Printable PDF

11. Noise Cancelling Headphones

things you need in college

Like I said earlier, dorms, and college spaces in general, can get pretty noisy. Getting some noise cancelling headphones can help you tune the noise out and focus more when you’re studying, watching movies, etc.

These noise cancelling headphones are the ones I used in college (and still use) and I love them!! They do an amazing job at cancelling out all outside noise so you can only hear what’s coming through the headphones.

Cheaper Alternative

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I got my Beats as a high school graduation present, and even though I love them, they can be pretty pricy. If you’re looking for a cheaper alternative, these have really great reviews on amazon!!

12. Command Strips

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You’ll need command strips to decorate your dorm so you don’t damage the walls!!

13. Backrest Pillow

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There usually isn’t a lot of space in dorms for extra seating, so you’ll need a backrest pillow so you can sit in your bed and do things like homework! This one is perfect because it has pockets on the sides where you can put your phone and stuff.

Related Post: The Best Dorm Room Essentials For Girls 2024

14. Water Filter Bottle

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One of the best discoveries I made prior to going to college was water filtering bottles. A lot of people recommend Brita pitchers for college, but I would recommend getting a bottle like this one instead. This will make it so you save room in your mini fridge and you’ll be able to get water anywhere on campus and won’t have to worry if it’s filtered already or not because your bottle will do it on its own!

15. Lap Desk

how to pack for college

A lap desk like this one is perfect for doing homework or watching TV on your laptop in bed! You could also use it to eat in bed. This one is perfect because it has a little phone slot as well!

16. Sewing Kit

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If you know how to sew, it’s a good idea to have a sewing kit at college just in case you rip any of your clothes or need to repair anything.

You will probably have a limited amount of clothes at college with you and the washers and dryers on campus are usually not the greatest, so odds are you will probably have to repair something at one point or another.

17. Portable Chargers

things i wish i brought to college reddit

Its a good idea to have a couple of portable chargers on hand for if your phone or laptop die and you can’t find an outlet.

I would keep one in your backpack for when you’re going to classes, and one in your purse just in case your phone dies when you’re out at football games or parties.

Related Post: 24 College Backpack Essentials Every Student Needs In Their Backpack

18. HDMI Cord

things i wish i had brought to college

If you’re bringing a TV to college, I would also bring an extra HDMI cord! This is something I didn’t think about bringing until I got to college and realized I needed one.

19. Electric Kettle

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Electric kettles are usually allowed in dorms and are a really good appliance to keep on hand! They heat water up super fast and are good for boiling water for things if you don’t have a place to boil water in your dorm.

20. Tide Pens

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Tide pens are good for getting stains out of your clothes while you’re out and about! I’d keep one in your backpack and one in your purse in case you spill food or something.

21. Reusable Containers/ Reusable Baggies

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Reusable containers and baggies are obviously good for takeout leftovers, but they’re also good for taking food back to your dorm from the cafeteria/ meal hall! The containers are good for putting a lot of food in, but if you’re just wanting little things and want to save space, the baggies are really nice. The baggies would also be good for keeping snacks like chips in your backpack so they don’t spill.

22. Wrinkle Release Spray

what i wish i knew before college

Wrinkle release spray was a genius invention in my opinion, and it is great to have on hand in college!! Your clothes will probably get wrinkly from the subpar dryers on campus, taking too long to put them away, etc. All you have to do is spray your clothes with this stuff and it will get the wrinkles out without you having to iron them!! This is one of the best unexpected things to bring to college with you!

Related Post: 15+ College Essentials For Class You Actually Need For Your Classes

23. Dry Shampoo

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I would keep some dry shampoo on hand to freshen up when you can’t shower! You can use it after working out, getting sweaty from walking to and from class, not having time to shower because you were too busy studying, etc.

24. Power Strip Surge Protector

things i wish i knew before going to college

You’ll need a power strip because there will most likely not be that many outlets in your dorm. Getting a power strip that is also a surge protector will keep your electronics from getting fried in case there is a power outage!

25. Fan

things i wish i knew in college

Dorms can be a little stuffy, so I’d recommend getting a little fan for air circulation. They’re also really good for creating white noise in a noisy dorm! This fan is perfect for college living because it comes with a clip! This is good because dorm beds are usually pretty high up, so there probably isn’t a surface that you could sit your fan on that would make it blow on you. With the clip you’ll be able to clip it right to the bed!

26. Step Stool

things i wish i had in my dorm

If you’re short like me, you will probably need a step stool to help you climb into your dorm bed since they can be pretty high up. It’ll also be super useful when it comes to decorating your room!

Related Post: 8 super useful dorm kitchen essentials that will make your life so much easier

27. Costumes

Costumes were the absolute last thing on my mind when I went to college, but you would be surprised at how often you need them for events and such. If you plan on going to any parties or campus events, you might want to have some costumes on hand!! Here are some common themes I saw a ton during college.

Greek Gods & Goddesses/ Toga Parties

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things i wish i knew before i went to university

I literally could not tell you how many times I saw people having these kinds of parties on campus. This dress, these accessories, and these shoes would be SO cute for a toga party.

Neon/ 80s Parties

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Another party theme that I saw literally more times than I could count was neon/ 80s parties. These costumes are both so cute for those themes!

28. Clear Bag

things you don't think about bringing to college

This might seem so random, but if you plan on going to football games (any sport event really), graduations, etc, you’ll need a clear bag. They only allow you to bring a bag to these events if it is see through!!! Literally every single time I’ve gone to someone’s graduation I’ve forgotten that they only allow clear bags, and I’ve had to run back to my car to put my purse away so I can actually go into the event.

I highly, highly recommend just getting one ahead of time so you don’t go through the same struggle as me lol.

29. Dish Rack

things people usually forget to bring to college

This is probably a super unexpected thing to bring to college, but if you plan to use dishes in your dorm at all, I would recommend getting a dish rack. It will save you space from having to leave all of your dishes on a rag on the counter to dry, and it will help them dry better!

I did not even think to get one of these until I had moved into my dorm freshman year and saw that my sophomore roommate had brought one. It was so useful!

Related Post: 23 Genius Dorm Room Kitchen Ideas To Help You Set Up An Amazing Kitchen Space

30. Hidden Stash Water Bottle and Scrunchies

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These things are genius for hiding valuables when you’re out and about so they don’t get stolen!! These scrunchies are perfect for parties so you don’t leave them somewhere and lose your stuff. This bottle could be good for parties if you’re using your own cup for stuff, and it would also be really good for taking to class!

This post was all about unexpected things to bring to college to help you pack everything you need.

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