50 School Supplies Every College Student Needs

50 School Supplies Every College Student Needs
portrait of Staff Writers
By Staff Writers

Published on January 13, 2021

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Advertising Disclosure: Our team independently selected these products. If you purchase a product through one of our links, we may collect compensation. Pricing and availability are accurate at the time of publication.


Building the right college supplies checklist can take time and a great deal of thought. Depending on their living situation, not all students require the same products, but certain items tend to be more useful at school.

To help learners get a head start and begin their studies on the right foot, we've compiled a list of the most important items for students. Read on to explore our list of 50 essential college supplies.

School Supplies Checklist

Price Legend

$ = Under $10 | $$ = $10-$25 | $$$ = $26-$50 | $$$$ = Over $50


For Class

Basic Pens


Our Recommendation

Zebra Pens, Z-Grip Retractable Ballpoint Pens

Having the right pen can make all the difference in school. These ballpoint pens can improve both the quality and the speed of note-taking. These pens also provide comfort during long writing sessions.

$$ on Amazon

Pencils


Our Recommendation

BIC Xtra-Smooth Mechanical Pencils

Every student needs pencils in their college supplies. These pencils feature a darker lead that resists smudging and erases easily, allowing learners to take clear notes. The convenient mechanical action allows users to avoid sharpening their pencils.

$$ on Amazon

Highlighters


Our Recommendation

Sharpie Chisel Tip Highlighters

Highlighters allow students to emphasize the most important text in their reading assignments or notes. These Sharpie highlighters offer bright and varied colors and a smear guard to keep ink intact when highlighting.

$ on Amazon

Colorful Pens


Our Recommendation

iBayam Journal Planner Pens

In addition to traditional black and blue pens, a college supplies checklist should include some colorful pens. Stored in a protective case, these journal planner pens give students a multipurpose tool for drawing, coloring, and taking notes. The fine tips on these colorful pens eliminate bleedthrough and let students make detailed drawings.

$$ on Amazon

Erasers


Our Recommendation

Ticonderoga Pink Carnation Erasers

No college supplies list is complete without erasers. These classic pink erasers make erasing as easy and clean as possible, whether you're preparing a handwritten letter or cleaning up notes from the school year. These erasers are comfortable to use and free of latex and toxic chemicals.

$ on Amazon

Whiteout


Our Recommendation

American Tombow Mono Hybrid Correction Tape

Whiteout ensures that mistakes written in pen aren't permanent. With this correction tape, students can easily cover pen marks and immediately rewrite over the same spot with no drying time.

$$ on Amazon

Pencil Case


Our Recommendation

EASTHILL Big Capacity Pencil and Pen Case

Hold and protect your college supplies in style with this large pencil case. These zipper cases can store 50-90 pens and pencils, along with other small school supplies. They come in a variety of colors, including yellow, orange, pink, and blue.

$$ on Amazon

Notebooks


Our Recommendation

Oxford One-Subject Notebooks

Most college supplies lists include notebooks. This assorted six-pack allows students to easily sort their notes by subject or lesson. The 70 double-sided sheets in each notebook are three-hole punched so they can be stored in binders and perforated for easy removal. Each sheet is durable and minimizes bleedthrough from pens and markers.

$ on Amazon

Binders


Our Recommendation

AmazonBasics Three-Ring Binders

These three-ring binders can store up to 175 pages, and students can customize the spine to organize their notes and assignments by subject. These binders also feature interior pockets and come in white or black.

$$ on Amazon

Subject Dividers


Our Recommendation

Avery Five-Tab Binder Dividers

Binder dividers make your binders more organized and effective. These five-tab binder dividers feature reinforced tabs that provide more space for labeling, tear-resistant holes, and a unique tab design that ensures inserted labels won't fall out easily.

$ on Amazon

Folders


Our Recommendation

Five Star Four-Pocket Folders

These four-pocket folders feature vertical and horizontal pockets to hold various papers, along with reference charts like the periodic table and measurement conversions. These laminated folders come in assorted colors and are three-hole punched for easy binder storage.

$$ on Amazon

Notebook Paper


Our Recommendation

Oxford Filler Paper, College Rule

Although many assignments can be completed digitally, most students will still need paper to write on. These sheets are three-hole punched for storage in any binder. Designed for college students, the narrower lines accommodate more writing, using up less space in binders and producing less waste.

$$ on Amazon

Planner


Our Recommendation

Clever Fox Planner

While juggling lectures, homework assignments, essays, tests, and extracurriculars, it can be tough for college students to keep track of everything. Fortunately, a planner can help them stay organized. This undated planner includes monthly and weekly page layouts, helping students keep track of short- and long-term goals.

$$ on Amazon

Sticky Notes


Our Recommendation

Vanpad Sticky Notes

Sticky notes make it easy to attach notes and reminders to nearly any surface. These notes feature 82 sheets on each pad, and the colorful and sturdy pages stand out and stand up to wear and tear.

$ on Amazon

Page Markers


Our Recommendation

Post-it Flags

Post-it Flags allow students to quickly color-coordinate study notes or add colorful stickies to documents without permanently marking them. They're a good substitute for highlighters if you're borrowing a book from a classmate or the library.

$$ on Amazon

Calculator


Our Recommendation

Casio FX-115ESPLUS Scientific Calculator

This scientific calculator has a large display that showcases formulas in the same way as a textbook. Solar powered with a battery backup, this calculator also comes with a protective case.

$$ on Amazon

Flash Drive


Our Recommendation

SanDisk Cruzer USB 2.0 Flash Drive

Don't forget a flash drive when building your college supplies checklist. This 128 GB flash drive provides students with a portable way to transfer videos, images, and other files, and comes with a limited two-year warranty.

$$ on Amazon

Portable Charger


Our Recommendation

Anker PowerCore 10000 Portable Charger

Include a portable charger in your college supplies to keep your mobile devices charged longer. This charger provides more than three full charges for an iPhone 8s. Small, light, fast, and safe, this portable charger comes with a micro USB cable and travel pouch.

$$ on Amazon

Water Bottle


Our Recommendation

Thermoflask Bottle

Having a useful, durable water bottle makes it easier for students to stay hydrated. This vacuum-sealed bottle keeps cold and hot drinks at their ideal temperatures for longer. Made with food-grade stainless steel, this bottle reduces condensation, resists rust, and is free of BPA.

$$ on Amazon

Coffee Tumbler


Our Recommendation

YETI Rambler Tumbler

The YETI Rambler Tumbler features a strong, magnetic lid; a sweat-free design; and double-wall insulation to keep drinks at their perfect temperature. This tumbler also fits all standard cup holders and won't peel or fade over time.

$$$$ on Amazon

Backpack


Our Recommendation

Herschel Retreat Backpack

Having a comfortable backpack is important, especially if you don't live on campus or plan on being out all day. This backpack features magnetic latches, cushioned straps, and padded and fleece-lined pockets for more protective storage.

$$$$ on Amazon

Laptop


Our Recommendation

Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop

Laptops have become a necessity for college students because of their portability and convenience. The Acer Aspire 5 Slim Laptop features a 15.6-inch HD screen, various USB ports, and a 128 GB solid-state hard drive. It also has Wi-Fi capability, long battery life, and a backlit keyboard.

$$$$ on Amazon

Laptop Case


Our Recommendation

MOSISO Laptop Sleeve Bag

This laptop sleeve bag comes in many colors, fits various laptops, and features several pockets for earphones and laptop hardware. The bag's foam-padded interior and fleece lining keep your computer protected.

$$ on Amazon

Wireless Earbuds


Our Recommendation

TOZO T10 Bluetooth Wireless In-Ear Headphones

These wireless headphones offer superior bass performance and a charging box that provides up to four hours of life every charge. They automatically sync and pair with many Bluetooth devices.

$$$ on Amazon

Rain Booties


Our Recommendation

Amoji Chelsea Rain Boots

Stay dry by adding rain boots to your college supplies checklist. These waterproof boots come in many colors and styles, including laced and slip-on versions. They also offer a comfortable insole and flexible outer material.

$$$ on Amazon

Umbrella


Our Recommendation

Repel Travel Umbrella

Rainy days don't have to be spent indoors if you bring an umbrella to college. Vented and coated with teflon to protect against wind, rain, and snow, this travel umbrella has a single open and close button and fits in any backpack.

$$ on Amazon

For Studying

Binder Clips


Our Recommendation

AmazonBasics Binder Paper Clips

Binder clips allow students to fasten large stacks of papers without damaging or losing any sheets. These tempered steel clips provide a strong grip and can be easily removed and reused.

$ on Amazon

Dry Erase Sticky Notes


Our Recommendation

mcSquares Dry Erase Sticky Notes

These dry erase sticky notes adhere to various surfaces using micro-suction technology. Students can write notes on the squares with the included marker, then erase and reuse them, reducing waste and mess.

$$ on Amazon

Stapler


Our Recommendation

AmazonBasics Office Stapler

This office stapler can fasten up to 10 pages at once and holds 200 staples. The rubber base grips on most surfaces, and the hinged back allows users to staple papers to other materials.

$ on Amazon

Scissors


Our Recommendation

iBayam Multipurpose Scissors

Don't cut scissors from your college supplies. These multipurpose scissors snip various materials cleanly and feature a comfortable straight-handled grip. The stainless steel blades on these scissors provide precise cuts, staying sharper and lasting longer than previous designs.

$$ on Amazon

Tape


Our Recommendation

Scotch Magic Tape

Students can use tape to seal folders, make crafts, hang papers, and repair various items. Users can write over the top of this tape and it'll go on clear, not even showing through on copies.

$ on Amazon

Paper Clips


Our Recommendation

VINACO Medium and Jumbo Paper Clips

Paper clips can help students stay organized. These clips come in assorted sizes and colors, and the vinyl coating prevents them from breaking down, rusting, or leaving marks on papers.

$ on Amazon

Note Cards


Our Recommendation

AmazonBasics Heavy Weight Ruled Lined Index Cards

Perfect for making study or presentation notes, note cards should be on every student's college supplies checklist. These index cards are heavy duty and lined on one side for a cleaner and more professional look.

$ on Amazon

Permanent Markers


Our Recommendation

Sharpie Electro Pop Permanent Markers

These Sharpie markers come in various colors and feature fine tips that can be used to write on multiple surfaces. The fast-drying ink from these markers resists smudging and fading.

$$ on Amazon

Ruler


Our Recommendation

eBoot Plastic Ruler

This plastic ruler has dual-side measurements. Its translucent nature lets users see the page or material below, allowing for more accurate measuring.

$ on Amazon

Three-Hole Punch


Our Recommendation

Bostitch Office Hole Punch

This three-hole punch comes in a variety of colors and can punch up to 12 sheets of paper at once. The rubber base provides a stable grip on many surfaces.

$ on Amazon

Combination Whiteboard and Corkboard


Our Recommendation

Quartet Combination Magnetic Whiteboard and Corkboard

Multipurpose items like a combination whiteboard and corkboard are useful in small spaces, such as a college dorm room. This board allows students to hang important items on one side and write on the other. It also comes with magnet accessories and a dry erase marker.

$$ on Amazon

Desk Organizer


Our Recommendation

Mindspace Office Desk Organizer

Featuring six compartments of varying sizes, including a pull-out drawer, this mesh metal organizer can help keep your desk clear of clutter. It also has rubber grips to avoid scratching the surface below.

$$ on Amazon

Desk Mat


Our Recommendation

YSAGi Dual-Sided Multifunctional Desk Pad

This dual-sided desk pad doubles as a large computer/mouse pad and writing surface. Made from synthetic leather, this waterproof mat offers surface protection, an easy-to-clean surface, and comfort for the user.

$$ on Amazon

Office Chair Pillow


Our Recommendation

Everlasting Comfort Lumbar Support Pillow for Office Chairs

Think about your own comfort when building your college supplies checklist. This lumbar support pillow conforms around back curves for pain relief, back support, and posture control. The pillow is made of a breathable material and comes with adjustable straps and a lifetime warranty.

$$$ on Amazon

Desk Lamp


Our Recommendation

TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp

Brighten up your dorm room by grabbing an LED desk lamp. The LED light reduces energy usage while keeping your study space well lit. The lamp also doubles as a charging port for your phone and other USB devices.

$$$ on Amazon

Printer


Our Recommendation

HP LaserJet Pro M15w Wireless Laser Printer

This HP printer is one of the smallest of its kind. It provides fast and high-quality printing and offers wireless connectivity and energy-saving technology.

$$$$ on Amazon

Printer Paper


Our Recommendation

HP BrightWhite Printer Paper

Students who plan on having their own printer will need printer paper as part of their college supplies. This paper is bright and thick and compatible with various printers. The paper also comes from renewable forest resources.

$ on Amazon

Wireless Mouse


Our Recommendation

Jelly Comb 2.4 G Slim Wireless Mouse

Available in many colors, this wireless mouse slides easily over surfaces and makes little noise when in use. The mouse features universal compatibility and a range of up to 15 meters.

$ on Amazon

Power Strip


Our Recommendation

Witeem 12-Outlet Power Strip With Surge Protector

This mountable power strip features 12 outlets and a surge protector. It provides room for all of your devices to charge, along with four fast-charging USB ports and overheating protection.

$$$ on Amazon

External Hard Drive


Our Recommendation

WD Elements Portable External Hard Drive

Don't risk losing your work forever. Pick up an external hard drive with your other college supplies. This external hard drive allows users to transfer and store data quickly and safely. The drive is compatible with USB 2.0 and 3.0 and various operating systems.

$$$$ on Amazon

Standing Desk


Our Recommendation

FENGE Standing Desk

This convertible standing desk can easily adjust to accommodate sitting or standing users. The lightweight design also allows for simple transport.

$$$$ on Amazon

Wi-Fi Hotspot


Our Recommendation

TP-Link Wireless Portable Router

A portable Wi-Fi hotspot can help college students with internet connectivity or speed issues. This portable router offers dual-band Wi-Fi in a small, travel-friendly package. Powered through a micro USB port, this router also comes with a two-year limited warranty.

$$$$ on Amazon

Laptop Lock


Our Recommendation

Kensington Combination Cable Lock

A good laptop lock keeps your computer secure, even in heavily populated areas. This combination cable lock is compatible with various laptop brands and features a carbon steel cable and four-number lock.

$$ on Amazon

Pepper Spray


Our Recommendation

SABRE RED Pepper Spray Keychain

If students plan on walking around campus alone — especially at night — having pepper spray within reach may help make them feel safer. This keychain-mounted spray is reliable and strong. The spray is easy to access and use and supplies 25 bursts from a 10-foot distance.

$$ on Amazon

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Feature Image: Peter Cade / Stone / Getty Images

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