Classroom Supplies for College Freshman

Classroom supplies are among the larger list of necessities for first year college students.  Classroom supplies are necessities that help students take notes, do homework, study, and succeed.  Make a shopping list for the classroom supplies along with a budget.  Shopping for college freshman supplies is exciting and stressful, but applying some organization skills can ease the off-to-college jitters. 

College Books and Classroom Supplies






First Year College Classroom School Supplies

College Classroom Supply #1: Laptop, Tablet Computer, or Netbook

College students require computer access. One of the most popular student laptops is the MacBook Air, but not every student can afford Mac laptops.  Remanufactured, pre-owned, and refurbished tablet computers like the Apple iPad are great alternatives to new laptops.  Apple Macbooks, HP laptops, and many other computer brands sell perfectly fine refurbished, discount computers.  Buying a refurbished iPad can save $100+ and is an easy way to get a cheap computer for college.  Think outside the box to save money on laptops and electronics.

The university computer lab is another way to save money because computer use is free.  Check with the university to see if they have a program that allows students to borrow laptops.  Wireless keyboards can help some students as well as a printer for last minute research projects. 

  • Messenger Bag or Backpack for Laptop, iPad, or Tablet Computer

Every student needs some type of bag. Messenger bags are popular for both guys and girls. Fossil messenger bags, Oakley backpack and messenger bags, Case Logic bags, Northface messenger bags, and many other brands are availabe is sizes that will hold a small computer, Kindle or iPad to 17" laptop bags. Messenger bags are easier on the back, but if you are carrying all your books then consider rotating a backpack with a messenger bag. There are cool styles of messenger bags, from small very nice messenger style laptop bags for men as well as leather laptop messenger bags for women.  

College Classroom Supply #2: Printer

Laptop/computer printers are extremely important supplies to have when you are in college. Although this isn't necessarily in the classroom, it is going to help you succeed there. This is one of the most important supplies around, but often forgotten about because it is only used to print. Although there are ways that you can print without owning an actual printer, it is very convenient to have one. Find the places you can go to print for free. Sometimes, this is in the college library or the computer lab. The ability to print from home is convenient. You may also find that investing in a flash drive/thumb drive/USB drive will help you print.

College Classroom Supply #3: APA or MLA Guide

In college, other than reading until your eyes bleed, you will write many papers. Instructors require the assignments to be written in a certain style (APA or MLA) depending on the type of classes you are taking. You will need to know how to cite properly so buying an APA guide or an MLA guide is wise. Always check for the latest edition because small citation rules change and with the internet and more resources, both APA and MLA guides are constantly being updated. When you cannot refer to your own book then check the internet, but use college sites to get the right information. Finding a used APA guide or MLA guide is the best, cheapest option. Check Amazon for used guides as well as the college bookstore or other textbook sites.

College Classroom Supply #4: USB/Flash Drive

Buying a few flash drives, jump drives, or USB drives for first year college students wont go to waste. Using a jump drive to save term papers, notes, and other writing enables you to have your important work without carrying so much stuff. You can copy your term papers onto the jump drive if you do not have a printer then take it with you to the computer lab for final printing. Everyone should own a couple of USB drives to store information and make it mobile. Using USB drives can also allow you to pass classroom study notes easier between students, so you can make up what you missed. Look for these on sale before you head off to your first year of college.

College Classroom Supply #5: Tape recorder/Voice Recorder

An important college classroom supply that is often overlooked, but is needed for the first year of school is a voice recorder. Voice recorders or tape recorders are essential supplies throughout college, especially for students who have just the slightest bit of trouble listening and writing, taking good notes, remembering what the notes mean, paying attention, concentrating, focusing, keeping up with the instructor, etc. Using a voice recorder or handheld tape recorder can make the difference between understanding and not getting it, and that shows in grades. Digital voice recorders under $50 are available at many stores, especially Amazon. Some digital voice recorders use a USB cord to transfer its recorded notes onto a laptop computer.

College Classroom Supply #6: Paper/Binders/Notebooks

Having your notebooks and binders organized for each class is really helpful. Most likely your classes will not all happen on the same day, so using a different notebook/binder for each class helps to keep your study guides and notes all together. This will be useful when it comes time to study. Along with having plenty of paper, binders, and notebooks, you need pens, pencils, and highlighters. Using a highlighter during note taking is really helpful, so you know where to come back to once you are at home studying. The cheapest place to get these supplies is at the thrift store. They usually have tons of office supplies, so it is easy to save money on these classroom supplies.

Final Tips for Buying College Classroom Supplies for First Year Students

These first year college classroom school supplies will make your student life a little bit easier. The list of first year college supplies is fairly consistent throughout the rest of college with some exceptions, for example, lab classes. Buying supplies before school starts is a good idea. Some students can purchase all their first year supplies in the beginning. Other students will need to stagger their purchases. If there is a school supply that is needed then try asking for it as a holiday gift. There are many discount computers during the holidays, so that might be a better time to purchase a student computer.

Students with anxiety, attention problems, or other issues should consider using a voice recorder or some of the other cool college gadgets like a scanner pen or electronic highlighters. Again, voice recorders are a big help and can be purchased at discount prices. Students need a prioritized first year college student shopping list, especially those with extra anxiety or issues that may impede learning. Notify the school to obtain ADA college classroom accommodations like extra time for tests. There are many other available accommodations for students with disabilities (not just for physical disabilities).

Buying college school supplies before school starts is the easiest on students. There are generic classroom supplies all students need and then there are those extra supplies that pop up after the first few days of school. Expect unexpected classroom supplies to become necessary over time. Some must have college supplies depend on whether housing is on campus or off campus, in a dorm setting or a shared housing environment. Students going away to college for dorm living or shared housing have a longer shopping list because they need more than classroom supplies. First year students on their own for the first time usually need housing and living supplies plus their college student classroom supplies.

Budget wisely and don't buy everything at one time.

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