Pack light for your first term at university, taking just the essentials to get you through your first few weeks. Clothes, bedding, stationery, basic cookware, and your toiletries are all you need, plus a few of your favourite things to help see off the homesick blues. There’s no point hauling everything bar the kitchen sink to your student digs – remember, university towns have shops too.
We asked some of our favourite student bloggers and YouTubers for their top tips for what to take to uni – those little extras that will make your new life a bit easier. We don’t suggest you pack all these items, but select the ones that seem most sensible to you.
Basics for your uni studies
You know you need to take your pencil case, paper for taking notes, plus any other items you need for your specific course, but what else might come in useful? Here’s what our friendly students said:
1. Extension lead
Students at Kent University’s top tip is to remember to pack an extension lead – they say there’s never enough plug sockets at uni. If you don’t want a flat laptop battery to get in the way of taking notes or working in the library, pack an extension lead. And while you’re at it, they also remind you not to forget your essential documents – which can turn out to be a real pain.
2. Laptop lock
Taking your laptop to uni for library study? If you’re worried it’ll be stolen, ease your fears by getting a handy laptop lock, say the team at Student Hacks. Even if you’re just popping out of your bedroom, a laptop lock will allow you to nip to the kitchen for a coffee without worrying that your latest essay is being stolen.
While a printer isn’t exactly a lightweight option, it might be worth investing in one when you do get to college. ThisisMani reckons having your own printer for your room is a massive bonus, especially if you have a last minute deadline to make. Plus, he says, uni printers are expensive to use.
Uni student Nayf is a fan of flashcards – he says if you get used to taking a few cards to lectures and making notes as you go, by the time you come to revision time, you’ll have a stack of revision notes ready.
You’ll have a tonne of assignments and essays to do, says Ryhan Hussain, plus you’ll be printing off loads of lecture notes. “A stapler saves you from having papers scattered around your room, and it helps with organising your notes.”
6. Book stand
“I bought a bookstand after I started suffering from a sore neck caused by constantly looking down at books on my desk,” says Liam Porritt of Exam Grade Booster. Given the amount of time you’ll spend studying, this little extra is well worth considering, although we’re sure all that partying will also help to loosen you up after a long study session…
7. Formal wear
You’d be surprised how many new students forget to pack any clothes for formal occasions. As Giz Edwards explains, you should pack a nice shirt, and smart shoes – perhaps a pair of brogues: “You often find yourself giving presentations and meeting new people. Wearing smart shoes gives a good first impression.”
How about the little extras that make your uni home that little bit more comfortable? Why not try a few of these ideas for size – you’ll be surprised how much difference they make in those first weeks away from friends and family.
8. Door stop
Blogger Ali Abdaal says his doorstop was a fiver well spent: “Many of my happiest memories from university were a result of the serendipitous meetings that happened as a result of the open-door policy. Had I kept my door shut while I was in (as most students tend to do by default), I probably would’ve been a bit more productive in terms of studying, but at the cost of missing these moments that I now look back on with fondness and joy.”
9. Toastie machine
Student Vlogs – Dylan gave us his top three creature comforts for uni – he says a toastie maker is top of his list – and why not? Who doesn’t like nuclear heated cheese toasties at three in the morning? Next up he suggests you take heaps of pants so you don’t have to spend too much time in the laundrette. And last but not least – a pair of sliders for those grubby shared bathrooms.
10. Door hook
Take some hooks to go over the door says Luke Birch – they’re extremely useful for your coats, towels and hoodies. He reckons storage is really tight at university, so you’ll need to make the most of all the available space.
On a similar note, there are never enough clothes hangers to go round says vlogger Thomas Rowntree, especially if you’re bringing a lot of clothes with you. If that’s you – bring extra hangers.
12. Mattress topper
You know a recommendation is important when so many different people mention it. Liam Porritt is one of a number of our student vloggers and bloggers who recommends taking a mattress topper with you: “It’ll make a massive difference to how well you sleep.” Not only can student mattresses be grubby, but many of them are hard and uncomfortable. Look after your sleep and you’ll enjoy your uni experience so much more.
Although we’re sure you plan to work hard, university life isn’t all about the study. It’s also about meeting new people, trying new things and learning to stand on your own two feet. Here are some top tips for making new friends, while keeping in touch with old mates who’ve moved to universities all around the country.
With University, there’s a lot of formal dinners, matriculations and smart evenings, says Ryhan Hussain: “A lot of my friends forgot to take their suits to Uni, so they had to go and buy a new one. So make sure you go and buy one or even two suits to take with you.”
Parth G highly recommends getting a railcard, especially if you know you’ll be travelling by train often: “The savings you make on train tickets add up very quickly, and nothing is more important than saving money as a student.”
15. Packet of biscuits
Being generous and offering a sweet treat to fellow freshers is a great way to strike up a conversation, says Martin at The University Blog. Cheaper than a round of drinks, a biscuit is “a tasty ice-breaker that people will remember you for.”
Most halls of residence have a ready supply of standard kitchen equipment, but it’s good to check what’s provided before you arrive. Food and drink can eat into your student budget, so tips to help your money go further are always welcome.
Save time and money by preparing a double batch of food and storing a portion for the next day. But tupperware isn’t just for food. Jack Edwards reminds us that it also comes in useful when you need to “store loose change for club entry, bus fares, pins for notice board” etc.
17. First aid kit
Freshers’ week activities often revolve around alcohol, but it’s hard to enjoy them when you’re already suffering from a raging hangover. Pack yourself a small first aid kit containing a few plasters, antiseptic cream and some paracetamol, says Nayf. It could save you a trip to the medical centre.
18. Reusable coffee cup
“Buying coffee on campus is so expensive,” says Selina Ozay. Save money by taking a reusable water bottle and a thermal cup or flask. The added bonus? You won’t need to queue for coffee to keep you awake though early morning lectures…
19. Hand sanitiser
Ever heard of ‘Freshers’ Flu’? It’s a thing, says Ibrahim Mohammad, known as Ibz Mo on his popular YouTube channel. He recommends taking hand sanitiser to uni, especially for Freshers’ week: “You’ll be meeting a lot of new and amazing people, and shaking a lot of hands.”
Stay fit and healthy, pack a few things to help you feel at home and, most importantly, enjoy your time at university. As your course progresses, you might like to check out some of our other helpful student content:
- 10 clever exam tips for students
- What to wear guide for students
- How to dress for undergrad success
- Student guide to internships
- Father and son guide to graduation
- Students – how to dress for employment success
Just heading off to university? Already enjoying student life? Drop us a line below and let us know what you’d pack to make campus life more comfortable.