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College Dorm Checklist | My Baby's Going to College

Updated on April 1, 2013

College Dorm Room -- Here She Comes!

I knew this day would come -- my baby girl is leaving for college at the end of the summer. The past 3 months, we have been putting together a college dorm checklist so we would be prepared.

This is my second and last child to leave for college so I had some idea of what she needed. However, in my experience, girls are different than boys when deciding what they need for the 9 months away at school. (Haley wants everything, Brendan just wanted bare necessities.)

Together, we made this checklist that I thought might help other parents as they get ready to send a son or daughter off to college. This list includes some obvious and some not-so-obvious college dorm necessities. Have a look!

Image Credit: - Public Domain

Obvious -- Need Fridge for Cold Snack & Drink Storage - Check on the Size

Perfect for a college co-ed! Inside view:

Not-so-Obvious: Bed Risers - Need the Extra Storage

Kennedy Home Collections Adjustable Black Bed Risers - 8 Inch
Kennedy Home Collections Adjustable Black Bed Risers - 8 Inch

Dorm rooms are notoriously small. Every square inch you can squeeze out for storage is a must. By lifting the bed a few inches, you can use the under part for storing luggage, plastic storage boxes filled with dishes, out of season clothes, purses, school supplies and more. These risers help make the most of the space you have!


Extra Long Twin Sheet Set - for College Dorm Bedding

Twin XL Extra Long Zebra Sheet Set
Twin XL Extra Long Zebra Sheet Set

Most college dorms have extra long twin sized beds. Stand twin sized sheets will not fit. When shopping for your students bedding make sure they are extra long twin.

Haley has chosen these zebra design sheets at for her bedding.

college dorm checklist
college dorm checklist

What Should be on my College Dorm Checklist?

Students and Parents work together

There are very obvious items that students will need for moving into the dorm and attending school. Things like computers, printers, notebooks, folders, cell phones, toiletries, clothes, etc... are not hard to come up with.

Other items will actually depend upon the rules and regulations provided to you by the Housing Office at your school. You don't want to take something that they will just make you turn around and take home. For instance, most schools do not allow toaster ovens or George Foreman Grills. Each school has its' own idiosyncrasies and it's easier to plan if you know what those are.

Image Source:

Comforter for Your College Dorm Checklist - Twin Extra Long

Microwaves in Dorm Rooms

I went off to college 29 years ago. Back then, microwaves were still new and not allowed in dorm rooms.

A girl on my floor successfully kept a microwave in her room for an entire semester by placing a set of rabbit ears on top.

You Need some Towels - for your College Dorm Checklist


A set of towels is something every student will need -- actually about 3 sets minimum (they don't like to do laundry most of the time). This set includes a wash cloth, hand towel and bath towel. Haley has 3 of these on her college dorm checklist but I may get her 4...


A Good Surge Protector - Should be on your College Dorm Checklist

Belkin 6-Outlet Wall Mount Surge Protector with Dual USB Ports (1 AMP / 5 Watt)
Belkin 6-Outlet Wall Mount Surge Protector with Dual USB Ports (1 AMP / 5 Watt)

A really good surge protector is important for college dorms. Not all are new buildings and protecting your investment in electronics like computers, printers, televisions, phones, etc... is a smart decision. Power surges can happen anywhere but are likely in old buildings.

This surge protector even has 2 usb connections for charging sell phones, MP3 players and any other devices that need to be charged.


Ironing Companion for the Student - a helpful accessory on your college dorm checklist

Household Essentials Over-the-Door Ironing Board Holder
Household Essentials Over-the-Door Ironing Board Holder

Haley will be taking a full size ironing board and iron. She's likes to have one available if she needs it. We decided to get this over the door organizer to hold the board and iron so she can get to them easily but they won't take up valuable space.


Microwave for Snacks and When the Cafeteria is Closed - College Dorm Checklist

Oster OGG3701 .7-Cubic Foot 700-Watt Digital Microwave Oven
Oster OGG3701 .7-Cubic Foot 700-Watt Digital Microwave Oven

Haley is allowed a 700 watt or lower microwave. Because she is part of the young generation, she cooks better in a microwave than she does with a stove!

This is the model she has added to her college dorm checklist.


Remember, check with your school's Housing Office for a list of acceptable items to bring to school.

Drown Out the Dorm Hallway Noise - with a Sound Machine

HoMedics SS-2000 Sound Spa Relaxation Sound Machine with 6 Nature Sounds, Silver
HoMedics SS-2000 Sound Spa Relaxation Sound Machine with 6 Nature Sounds, Silver

Haley cannot sleep in pure quiet -- good thing since she'll be living in a dorm with hundreds of other students. She's not crazy about yelling, talking screaming though that could very well go on in the dorm hallways.

So she has decided she wants a sound machine to drown out unwanted noises.


College Dorm Checklist Must-Have -- Fan - For circulation and sleeping

Lakewood LSF1610BR-BM 16inch Remote Control Stand Fan
Lakewood LSF1610BR-BM 16inch Remote Control Stand Fan

Haley has always slept with a fan all year around. She likes the circulation, especially for sleeping. She's a student athlete and finds she sleeps better in a room that is a little cool as opposed to warm and/or stale.

She chose this one because it sits on its' own pedestal so she won't have to make room on one of the limited surfaces in her dorm room.


Collegiate Trunk on your College Dorm List - Great for Hauling and Storing!

Seward Trunk Wheeled Footlocker, Black
Seward Trunk Wheeled Footlocker, Black

When my son went off to college, he had a trunk like this. It was so wonderful to just load it up with all his school supplies, dorm room items, hangers and anything else we could fit. We put it in the van and off we went! A lot easier to carry the loaded trunk up the stairs at the dorms than to make a million trips with small loads.

Haley want's this black one. It has wheels even! She plans to unload it and then keep it at the end of the bed for storage during the year.


Be Honest...

Are you ready emotionally to send your child to college?

See results
checklist for college dorm living
checklist for college dorm living

Making Your Own College Dorm Checklist

If you don't receive one, either request one or visit your school's website and find out what the rules are concerning what your student can bring with them to school. It will save some heartache and maybe money in the long run.

Take personality, hobbies, extra-curricular activities and course study into effect when coming up with your checklist. We all want our students to be comfortable during their time at school.

Though I have parred down Haley's original list, I think she will have everything she needs and a few things she wants to make her dorm life comfortable. Good luck to your student!

Image Source: Public Domain via

Did you find things to add to your College Dorm Checklist?

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    • Lorelei Cohen profile image

      Lorelei Cohen 

      4 years ago from Canada

      Yes it is funny but the time to start preparing for college is long before you graduate. The summer goes quick and it is important to have everything ready to go when the time arrives to leave.

    • BillyPilgrim LM profile image

      BillyPilgrim LM 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for sharing, some useful info here. Thanks x

    • LouisaDembul profile image


      6 years ago

      I am so happy my daughter is about to start fifth grade, I'm not ready for separation just yet! But the college dorm list is good.

    • Wednesday-Elf profile image


      6 years ago from Savannah, Georgia

      The college dorm checklist certainly has changed from MY college days (no TV, Computer, Cell know, the 'Dark Ages!') and even from My Daughter's college time. Best of luck to Haley as she embarks on this new stage in her life. No 'kids' at home anymore.... what are you going to do, Mom? :)

    • iamraincrystal profile image

      Rosyel Sawali 

      6 years ago from Manila Philippines

      It's a good thing that my daughter's college is so near home ^_^

    • Scotties-Rock profile image


      6 years ago from OREFIELD, PA

      My oldest child, daughter is getting ready to leave for college this fall. It is an exciting but scary time. :(

    • Gayle Dowell profile image

      Gayle Dowell 

      6 years ago from Kansas

      My oldest will be attending college this fall, but thankfully we have a college in town and she will be living at home. It is easier on this mom's emotions that way. Great dorm ideas for when she does go off to nursing school.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      6 years ago from United States

      Since my children's ages are 5 years apart, I had to do this for so many years in a row, that it got to be almost routine and we simply left their boxes packed from the move out each year so they would be ready for the following fall. There is a lot to remember! Would you believe one of my first lenses on Squidoo was a complete list of what was needed for a dorm room? LOL, great minds think alike :)

    • oranagade profile image


      6 years ago

      Whoa, what a list this is! I would have never thought of some of these things. But, we have to get ready someday to send them off properly. Thanks for the list and all my best to Haley for a great college experience.


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