Backpack Essentials for College: What You Must Have

Backpack Essentials: What You Must Have|

Written By Melanie Studer

Melanie Prather Studer has spent the last thirty years as a mother and teacher- preschool through middle school. When her kids became teenagers, Melanie started keeping notes and doing research to help her children get a head start on getting into college and ultimately out into the real world. She shares real world ideas and solutions for raising teens in today’s world.

July 9, 2020

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Backpack essentials for high school or college

Packing an organized backpack for high school or college is essential to academic survival. It is much smarter to plan ahead for classes, emergencies, and daily occurrences than to just throw a bunch of stuff in your pack and go. Grab this list of backpack essentials before your teens head off for college!

Backpack Essentials for College|

Pin for later!

One thing that all the students I asked had in common, was that they didn’t think about any of this before they were in high school or college, depending on the age of student I asked.  Now that they have been in school, these are the things that they make sure that they always carry. 

Each student and schedule will be different.  Sometimes even from one semester to another, so think carefully, and readjust as the semester continues.  *This post may contain affiliate links.  This means, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.

Here is a list of college student backpack essentials

I gathered this list from six current college students.  There were no differences for the high school students I asked. It just depended on their class load at the time.

  1.  Wireless earbudsThese will come in handy for walking across campus, working out, and listening to music while studying.

     2.  Chapstick– This is long-lasting and has both UVA and UVB protection. It comes in a tube, not a stick, so it won’t melt.  

     3.  Water bottle– This bottle is great with many features.  It folds up, has a wide mouth, leak proof, and is BPA free.

     4.  Planner- Basic or bullet, makes no difference!  Just make sure you use one!


     5.  Jacket or sweatshirt-This is always great if there’s a cold classroom or you are just cold in general.  

     6.  Portable charger– You will need one for your phone for sure, but an extra charger for your laptop is a good idea as well.  You never know what kind of day you will have!  Here is a smaller option.

     7.  Small office supplies-  I asked a number of students what this would include for them.  These are the things that they listed.  Small stapler, post-its, graphing calculator, tape, pencils and pens.  

     8.  A small pouch for personal items-Kleenex, hair ties, your favorite pain reliever, feminine products, and gum. 

     9.  Last but not least, an umbrella!-Don’t get caught out in the rain with one.  This particular one is windproof, which also comes in handy.

This is by no means a complete list of college backpack essentials! 

However, when you are planning on your first semester at college or your last semester, the biggest takeaway I have gotten from the students that I spoke with is to be organized and be prepared for a long day.  One thing I forgot from this list would be hand sanitizer, (these are cute and clip onto your key ring). Don’t forget it!

Be sure to check out my complete lists for dorm room essentials and college school supplies!

Backpack Essentials for College|

Pin for later!

You might check out these related posts:  What You Didn’t Know You Need in a Dorm Room and Your Parental Rights Change When Your Teen Turns 18.

Have you checked out my book? This spells out all the things that you and your teen need to discuss before they leave home. Start now while your teen is in middle school or high school.  College Bound:  The Ultimate List of Conversations to Help Your Teen Through High School 



You May Also Like…


  1. Great list! We sent our middle daughter off this past year, and all of this was in hers! Hand sanitizer was another big one! THANKS !

    • Thanks! I will have to add that!

  2. Thanks for the helpful article! There are so many articles on dorm room essentials, and, while those are important, I’ve never seen a post about backpack essentials. There are some great tips in here, so everyone listen up. Cheers!

    • Thank you! My son felt like there were many things that he always kept in his backpack, so I thought I would write a post about it!


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Thrive Through High School

Join our mailing list to receive your high school survival kit. Stay organized with the necessary information required when applying for colleges, scholarships and future employment..


You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest