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Articles / Admissions / Back-to-School Survival Items

May 18, 2020

Back-to-School Survival Items

Here's a quick afterthought to complement my two previous posts about packing for college. Whether you're a first year freshman or a veteran senior, this back-to-school survival guide features the top 10 items you might have missed (or the stuff you purposely avoided) when shopping with mom.

1. Multivitamins – You will wish someone had told you early on that popping two multis after a night of drinking will be your saving grace the next day.

2. Toothbrush-On-The-GO – You never know where you may wake up and need to brush before you head into class. Colgate Wisps are the inexpensive and convenient way to stay fresh – and you don't even need water!

3. Futon Slipcover – Sure Fit makes a wide variety of machine washable futon covers, easy to slip on and off, so that unexpected visitor or spilt beer won't ruin the futon your parents bought you.

4. Do Not Disturb Sign – When you're studying for finals, a DO NOT DISTURB sign is sure to give you peace and quiet and remain uninterrupted.

5. Socially Acceptable Sweats – You will wear sweatpants every day. Make sure you have a few pairs that don't make you look homeless.

6. The Little Book of Big Excuses – You aren't allowed to have a dog in your dorm-room, so that excuse won't fly in college. Pick up this read along with your text books, and you'll never have a lame excuse again.

7. TUMS - Because the munchies don't care how late it is or what you're eating.

8. Laptop Lock – In case your roommate's a clepto, or likes to leave your dorm door open all day to make new “friends."

9. Ping Pong Balls – This is college after all. You never know when an impromptu game of Beirut will break out.

10. Oscillating Fan -- Even if your dorm room is air conditioned, there will be "hot spots" that need cooling. There may also be other rooms that aren't A/C'd, so chill at will.


Be sure to check out all my admissions-related articles and book reviews at College Confidential.

Written by

Dave Berry

Dave is co-founder of College Confidential and College Karma Consulting, co-author of America's Elite Colleges: The Smart Buyer's Guide to the Ivy League and Other Top Schools, and has over 30 years of experience helping high schoolers gain admission to Ivy League and other ultra-selective schools. He is an expert in the areas application strategies, stats evaluation, college matching, student profile marketing, essays, personality and temperament assessments and web-based admissions counseling. Dave is a graduate of The Pennsylvania State University and has won national awards for his writing on higher education issues, marketing campaigns and communications programs. He brings this expertise to the discipline of college admissions and his role as a student advocate. His College Quest newspaper page won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award, the Pennsylvania Newspaper Publisher's Association Newspapers in Education Award, the Thomson Newspapers President's Award for Marketing Excellence and the Inland Press Association-University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Mass Communications Inland Innovation Award for the Best New Page. His pioneering journalism program for teenagers, PRO-TEENS, also received national media attention. In addition, Dave won the Newspaper Association of America's Program Excellence Award for Celebrate Diversity!, a program teaching junior high school students about issues of tolerance. His College Knowledge question-and-answer columns have been published in newspapers throughout the United States. Dave loves Corvettes, classical music, computers, and miniature dachshunds. He and his wife Sharon have a daughter, son and four grandchildren.

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