Campus Living: Campus Living Necessities

Family Modules

Module 8 Part 2



Objective: Families will create a top 10 list of “must have” items for college living.

Estimated time 20-30 minutes

Materials needed:

Curriculum Link:

This section corresponds with Module 8 Activity 2 in the STEPP Classroom Transition resources.

Learn About It

There are many decisions to make about what to pack for college your first year, especially if you are living in a dorm room. We polled freshmen students who lived on campus at East Carolina University in the dorm. This is the top 10 list of “must haves” they shared.

  1. Shower shoes: Believe it or not, most dorms have 1–2 showers per 8–10 students on a dorm hall in the form of community showers. You never know who has set foot (literally) in a shower before you. Where there is water, there is often mold. Don’t walk barefoot in the shower or bathroom of a dorm.
  2. Lockbox or lockable trunk for storing valuables.
  3. Water filter: Fresh drinking water is a must. An easy way to cut down on costs (rather than purchasing bottled water) is to bring a water filter and pitcher.
  4. Ethernet cord (extra-long): In the dorm, you never know how far you are going to have to reach a cord to plug from the wall into your desktop or laptop computer. Some dorms are exploring wireless connections, but not all have this capability yet.
  5. Cable cord (extra-long): Having extra-long cords helps when you and your roommate want to rearrange the furniture in the middle of the night, including where you plug in your TV and/or computers. Make sure you have the extra footage needed to make your decorating dreams come true.
  6. Small fan: You never know how hot the dorms are going to be, especially during the summer months. Most dorm rooms are not equipped with an individual thermostat.
  7. Cleaning supplies: Even though your mom is not hounding you to “clean your room,” you’ll need to clean every once in a while. Do not let your dirty dishes pile up to the ceiling—or the dust mites either. Disinfecting wipes, dusting supplies, dishwashing liquid, laundry detergent, and some cleaning cloths should be on everyone’s list. (No, your mom did not pay me to say that.)
  8. Casual clothing: The more you have, the less laundry you have to do. Find a balance, though. Dorm rooms have limited storage space.
  9. Comfortable shoes: Walking around campus can constitute a cardio workout depending on how far you have to walk from class to class. Bring a comfortable pair of shoes to help support your feet on those long walks.
  10. First aid kit: It really helps to have bandages, acetaminophen/ibuprofen, gauze bandages, and other medicines packed in your own first aid kit. Plus, having a well-stocked kit helps you avoid unnecessary panic in a minor emergency.

Some other items to consider that did not make the top 10 list:

  • Portable music player
  • Plastic containers
  • Bed linens (more than one set of sheets)
  • Microwavable foods

Parents Chime In

Work together with your student to complete the “Campus Living Necessities” handout.

Objective Check

Have you accomplished today’s objective?

Objective: Families will create a top 10 list of “must have” items for college living.

If so, congratulations!

If you don’t feel like you have created a sufficient list, keep in mind you can alter it as you plan.

Digging Deeper