15 College Dorm Room Essentials Every Freshman Needs

It seems like only yesterday you were watching your kid walk across the stage and get the high school diploma that took 12 years to earn. That’s because it was actually just a few weeks ago. But you don’t have time to think about that. Not long from now you’ll be hitting another milestone – sending them off to college.

The event is sure to be emotional, especially if this is the first calf to leave the barn. Like any good parent you’re pushing those thoughts aside so you can get geared up for the big move.

We’re helping busy, frazzled parents out with a list of all the dorm room essentials that will provide reassurance your kid can survive on their own.

Meningitis Vaccinations

This is one thing to get checked off the list before unpacking. Dorm life will provide a number of unique experiences, but one of the down sides of living in close quarters is the risk of being infected with bacterial meningitis. Dorm dwellers are at an increased risk of catching this potentially fatal infection.

Luckily there are meningococcal vaccines that protect against meningococcus bacteria. Your kids were probably vaccinated around the time they started middle school, but a booster is needed before starting college. If your child hasn’t gotten the serogroup B meningococcal vaccine yet they will also need that vaccination, which is delivered in 2-3 doses. There are also preventative antibiotics that can be prescribed to students if an outbreak occurs on campus or in their dorm.


It’s the one piece of kitchen equipment you’re confident your kid can use. A microwave is also extremely versatile and compact enough for a dorm room.

Mini Fridge

They’ll need someplace to store the food that needs to be microwaved. The best options will have a small freezer compartment in addition to the fridge space.

Disposable Utensils, Plates and Cups

Your teen probably doesn’t wash many dishes at home, and without a kitchen sink it’s a guarantee they won’t make it a habit in the dorms. Disposable utensils, paper plates and plastic cups are easier and will actually get used.

Sheets and Comforter for a Twin XL Bed

Anything larger than a twin XL bed is nonexistent in dorms. If your kid has a full size bed or larger you’ll need to shop for a new set of sheets and comforter.

Laundry Supplies

During summer college bound kids should start practicing their laundry skills. They’ll need a laundry basket, detergent, fabric softened sheets and a roll of quarters. It’s probably best to skip the bleach, since they’re likely to do more harm than good with that.

Alarm Clock

They should have an alarm clock on their smart phone, but a back up never hurts.

Reminders of Home

Kids are usually excited about starting college, but they quickly learn it’s a big transition. Reminders of home, like a few family photos, are always good to have when they move out on their own.

Noise Cancelling Headphones or Earplugs

Sharing a room with someone else on a floor with dozens of other teenagers can get loud. Really loud. During mid-term study sessions noise cancelling headphones or earplugs will make it easier to focus.

Power Strip

Two outlets are definitely not enough for a teen that’s packing a smart phone, laptop, tablet, TV, Blu-Ray player, etc.

Shower Caddy

Private bathrooms are another thing you won’t find in the dorms. It’s the one time in life when they’ll have to lug toiletries to the bathroom every time they need to shower.

Shower Shoes

Foot fungus isn’t the best introduction to dorm life. A pair of shower shoes is a must for anyone living in a dorm.

First Aid Kit

Hopefully they’ll never need more than a Band-Aid, but at least they’ll be covered.

Cleaning Supplies

They’ll finally appreciate all the cleaning you did while they were growing up now that the chore is all on them.


The first time they have to walk to class in the rain they’ll be glad you thought to pack an umbrella.

Moving your kid into the dorms can be an emotionally and physically draining experience. Let Square Cow Movers shoulder some of the burden so you can spend more quality time together. Our professional moversare experienced in hauling big boxes up stairs and down narrow hallways. Give us a call to talk with a moving expert that can help you start planning or fill out the online form for an instant moving quote!

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