This time of year has me thinking about the more important back to school supplies that have been on my college and graduate school lists. My hope is that this will help you find the best products for your college student or for yourself as you set out to your first semester of college or are heading back to school. While there are a lot of supplies that every college student need need needs, there are also a few that give an extra edge on school and in life.
To get by in college, every student should think about these basic supplies. Through semesters of trial and error, many end of summer back to school shopping runs, and not to mention figuring out some things in high school, these are the products that have worked best for me:
Five Star Notebooks—I like to use the multi-subject notebooks, especially for semesters with more than a couple classes that will require notes. If one subject ends up filling its space, I just move onto another section or use another notebook. These multi-subject notebooks have folders and pockets which make them perfect for managing a chaotic back to school class schedule.
Highlighters—I never got into the habit of using highlighters in text books for the sake of selling them back to my campus bookstore at a reasonable price (or because I rented them), but for books I bought and knew I wanted to keep, and definitely for note taking, I love these pen-sized highlighters.
Post-its and Tabs—I love to use stickie notes and tabs for note taking, keeping track of certain pages and files, and for leaving myself the occasional reminder. I made another post about them, if you’re interested. Check it out here.
Desktop Organizer—Unless you are super neat without any help, this organizer will help keep the crazy out during your return to college and for rest of the academic year. I would be a total mess without mine.
Personally, I think pens and pencils are a very subjective choice: .5 or .7, ball point or gel, grip or no grip, thick or thin, clickie top or cap, etc. For this one, definitely go with your gut preference.
Flash Drive / External Hard Drive— A flash drive (also known as a memory stick, thumb drive, or computer stickie thing) guarantees writing papers, making projects, and preparing presentations a thousand times more likely to be saved and safe. This allows you to save files where ever you are, to pull up presentations and assignments in your classroom, on your class partner’s computer, and at the library for printing. Tech is everywhere, and I’d be surprised if a flash drive isn’t on everyone’s back to school list. (I’m listing an external hard drive here also because picking one up when I was a freshman in college was one of the best decisions I’ve made—I now have all of my college and grad school files saved, all of my family and personal photos tucked away and backed up, I’ve stored all of my music and movies for safe keeping, and I still have a lot of space for things to come). For typical use, you don’t need to get a huge amount of memory: an 8 or 16 GB drive should suffice for a school year, maybe all of college (depending on how neat it’s kept).
Amazon Prime—One great thing about being a college student is that you can get an Amazon Prime discount. It means included two-day shipping, streaming tv and movies, and some other things even I haven’t gotten into. I’ve used it throughout college and it’s been pretty great.
Back to school can be tough for a college student; it can seem like there are million things to do and what if college requires something different, what if graduate school somehow steps it up without your knowing? I can assure you, it’s basically the same. Of course, study practices and getting to know how to work best in the new academic environment will take time, but the study supplies I’ve listed will make it a little easier. Just stay focused on the work and remember,
Don’t study hard, study smart!
Oh, and don’t forget the coffee!