After what seems like years of Zoom classes and remote learning, students everywhere are gearing up for back-to-campus shopping (read: cool school supplies for college!).
Need a refresher? Our college school supplies checklist has your young scholar covered from class to commute. Whether it’s college backpacks, or that perfect essentials bag; laptops and earphones, or binders and markers, we’ve got all the college supplies you need in one easy list to save you time (and money!).
Check these university school supplies off your list, then read on for helpful tips on getting you (and your trendy teen) ready for campus life this fall.
Want to make back-to-campus shopping even easier? Download the complete back-to-campus school supplies list and simply check the items off as you shop.
Your Complete Back-to-Campus Checklist
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Tips for Returning to Campus
After a couple of years away in remote online classes, returning to in-person learning might need some getting used to again. Make the transition back to campus a smooth (and fun!) one with these helpful tips.
Never skip registration
- Sign up, subscribe and log on: Enrolling in college or university requires a lot of registrations and paperwork, so make sure you get all the leg work done in advance so you’re not scrambling around your first day on campus. Whether it’s signing up for classes, parking passes or financial aid, logging on to your post-secondary email and online campus portal, registering for accessible learning, if required, etc. (Your future self will thank you.)
Know how to get around
- Find your class: Speaking of trial runs and maps, figuring out where your classes are before your first week on campus will help ease any navigation anxiety. Most schools will have a map online (and/or displayed around campus) showing where various buildings and classrooms are. This is particularly important for large universities and colleges where school buildings are spread out across an entire city versus in one centralized location. While you’re at it, scope out the best places to eat lunch, study and relax
- Commuting: If possible, do a trial run before your first day. If that’s not possible, check Google Maps to find out average travel times (whether you’re walking, biking, taking transit or driving). If you’re biking or driving, make sure to scope out a reliable spot to lock up your bike or park your car. (Some schools offer parking passes for students; if you’re driving, secure that spot in advance.) Add in extra time for traffic. Learn an alternative route in case of road closures, weather delays or transit interruptions.
Dive into campus life
- Have fun: Sure, school is about studying, grades, scholarships, future career plans and all that, but it’s also about meeting friends and having fun. Don’t know where to start? Get involved on campus (intramural sports, student organizations, school government, etc.), go to pub or trivia nights, attend your school’s sports games or campus events and more. Having a good time will make the studying, tests and assignments less stressful.
- Be flexible: Your idea of college or university life might not be the same as years past or what it looks like in the movies. A global pandemic has changed everything. While we’re celebrating the return of in-person learning, it’s important to remember that some of your classes might be virtual or outside or smaller than before, physical distancing and face mask protocols may be in place and it might be awkward to navigate interactions with strangers at first. Be flexible and compassionate and open to change. Everyone is figuring it all out together.
Don't sleep on good habits
- Study habits: Got some time between classes? Consider finding a quiet place to get a head start on your readings or working on that assignment. Everyone studies better in different environments – complete silence, some activity around them, etc. – so find the best spot for you. Need some suggestions? How about campus coffee shops, the library, empty classrooms, dining halls, outside, or the student services building? You can build good study habits by setting a timer to help you stay focused and then give yourself time to break, stretch and snack.
- Establish a routine: Sticking to routines helps us foster good habits and provides structure in a new—and perhaps nerve-wracking— Remember to get up and go to bed at a similar time each day, eat on a regular schedule (bring snacks with you to campus to avoid those afternoon hunger pangs!), drink lots of water, study and go to classes, of course, as well as leave time for things you enjoy: exercising, making music, watching Netflix, reading non-school material, playing sports, etc.
- Covid check: Prior to returning to on-campus learning, be sure to check your school’s Covid-19 information and requirements. Many colleges and universities require proof of vaccination status (and booster dose), as well as masks and social distancing. Some schools offer asymptomatic testing to help prevent the spread of Covid-19 on campus. (Remember to shop our Health and Safety section above to help with this, too!)
Build that support group
- Build connections: Make a friend in every class. You’ll find this especially helpful if you miss a day, need a study buddy, have questions about an assignment or need someone to talk to about navigating the nerves of post-lockdown post-secondary life. (Remember: They can relate, too!) Get to know your professors, as well (introduce yourself, go to office hours, ask questions in class). It not only breaks down the invisible teacher/student boundary,but they can help hook you up with opportunities, make introductions, and provide valuable advice on classes, career paths and navigating post-secondary life.
- Reach out: Starting something new can be hard. Plus, there’s this added layer of returning to in-person learning after a couple years of doing the opposite. If you’re having a hard time, that’s okay (and totally normal!). Reach out to a teacher, classmate, family member or a friend. Also, most college and university campuses have free on-site mental health and wellness services, such as counsellors and therapists, peer support groups, medical care clinics, etc. Utilize them. You’re not alone.
Print this Back-to-Campus Checklist
- Best Colleges. 30 School Supplies Every College Student Needs.
- College InfoGeek. Backpack Essentials: 15 Things That Should Be in Every Student’s Bag.
- Student Life Network. 25 Items You Need In Your Backpack For Back to School.
- The Olden Chapters. College Backpack Essentials: The 21 Items You Must Carry With You.
- Apply Board. Top 4 Tips for Returning to Campus Life.
- Grad Guard. 4 Reasons You Should Get to Know Your Professors.
- University of Wyoming. 4 Reasons You Should Get to Know Your Professors.
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