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The essential checklist for moving to college or university!

Are you moving to or ? Don’t try and take everything from home. Use the CadaStudent Checklist to help you take only the essentials with you.

Are you moving to college or university? Don’t try and take everything from home. Use the CadaStudent Checklist to help you take only the essentials with you. Click To Tweet
university sign

So, you’ve gotten into college or university – well done. Now the next stage, moving into halls or private accommodation. CadaStudent has done the thinking for you and created a list of essential items needed when moving out from your family home.

Download and print out the checklist and use when you are packing and organising your move.

Taking too many items may be the wrong thing to do. Remember, you need to carry and store all these things in your room, and the available space is most likely to be less than your family home.

The list (in 8 categories) is for essentials, not every item – you will have a local shop where you can buy things on your arrival.


Living away from home for the first time, possibly in a room with a stranger isn’t something you’ve experienced before. But remember, it’s new for almost everyone else as well.

Here’s how to get yourself prepared for college (college’ is used in this article to mean college or university).

Identify and set goals for your academic and your social life. Yes, you will have one! Consider what activities, sports and clubs you may want to join. Perhaps something brand new, that you always wanted to try, but didn’t have the opportunity! Check out the college and student association websites for information.

Finally, decide on how you’ll communicate with and family back at home while you’re at school. Remember your and family will be just as nervous and excited as you and may need and will love regular contact.

  • Identify and set goals for:
    • academic success
    • social life
  • Find out what social activities are available
    • Check out the college website
    • Check out the student association website
  • Agree on how and when you’ll communicate with:
    • family
    • friends

budget planning

If you’ve had a job while in school, you may have some experience in financial planning. But moving away to college means you’re making daily financial decisions on your own.

Living on a budget isn’t impossible, but it’s easier if you’ve done some planning before you head off. Here’s how to prepare while you still have some support at home:

  • Sort out where the money is coming from, e.g. a job, parents, savings, etc.
  • Create a budget to ensure the essential college expenses are covered, and you know how much money is left over
  • Decide the budget on other necessities, like food and social costs, e.g. events, clubs, etc.
  • Practise sticking to your budget in the months leading up to college
  • Use a banking app to keep track of your spending (there are also several budgeting apps available)
  • If you’ve not spent your budget during a month, put that money into a savings account; you may have a sudden large bill, for example, a car repair
  • Look at your bank statements regularly, start daily, once comfortable move to weekly and if confident you are on top of things, perhaps move to monthly
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The Move

With your mind and your wallet set right, it’s time to get your brain in college preparation mode. The actual process of leaving your family home, moving into your college accommodation, gathering all your supplies, meeting new people, attending welcome events, and getting to classes on time can be stressful.

Here are some tips to making move-in feel less like a juggling act and more like an event to remember:

  • If you can, view the accommodation before moving in
  • Find out if there are local stores near your accommodation for any last minute forgotten items and don’t forget – ask for a student discount!
  • Plan for the weather during moving
  • Get to the accommodation as soon as you can. There could be many people arriving at the same time, especially if you are in dorm accommodation; the parking could get messy and stressful
  • Bring snacks and water to help you through the move
  • Accept help from friends and family to move in and arrange the room
  • Pack light, but know your situation, e.g. are you going to a rural or city-based college?
  • Pack a small bag with all your day one essentials (this will help you avoid spending all day unpacking)


student dorm bedroom

Most of the requirements for accommodation should be provided. But check what is and isn’t. You might need:

  • Air mattress (for visitors)
  • Clock (in case of a power cut best have a battery powered alarm; and don’t rely on your phone!)
  • Lamps (general lighting and study lamps)
  • Message board (a cork or whiteboard to leave messages and a “To-do’s”)
  • Mirror(s)
  • Storage (under-bed storage systems are a good idea)
  • TV (although many student use laptops, tablets or even phones these days)
  • Door stop (always ensure it is not a fire door before using – fire doors must not be held open)


  • Blankets
  • Laundry basket
  • Mattress topper
  • Pillows
  • Sheets
  • Shower Mat


Casual clothes are great for day-to-day stuff, for example, lectures or shopping. Dress or forma

  • Backpack (a necessity for a student)
  • Bad weather gear (this will depend upon where you’re studying)
    • Boots
    • Hat
    • Jacket
    • Gloves
    • Scarf
  • Business clothes (if you’re going to get a job, dress right for the interview)
  • Casual clothes
  • Dress shoes
  • Formal clothes
  • Hangers
  • Jewellery
  • Pyjamas
  • Robe
  • Shirts
  • Shower shoes
  • Socks
  • Sports shoes
  • Sun hat
  • Swimwear
  • Trousers
  • Umbrella
  • Underwear
  • Workout clothes

Bathroom and medicines

student bathroom

Most of the bathroom items can be easily purchased from a local supermarket or discount store, so it isn’t a big deal if you forget or don’t have enough room to take them.

  • Allergy medicines
  • Antacid
  • Antibiotic cream
  • Antidiarrheal medication
  • Aspirin
  • Birth control
  • Body/face lotions
  • Bug repellent
  • Cold and flu medicine
  • Comb/brush
  • Contacts/solution
  • Cotton swabs
  • Cough drops
  • Decongestant
  • Deodorant
  • Eyeglasses
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Floss
  • Hairstyling equipment
  • Hand mirror
  • Makeup
  • Prescription medicines
  • Razor and shaving cream
  • Shampoo and conditioner
  • Soap
  • Sterile bandages
  • Sunscreen
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste
  • Tweezers
  • Vaccinations (discuss with your health professional)
  • Vitamins


student desk

University student halls typically have rooms designed with a desk to allow you to study. However, within a privately rented flat this may not be the case, and you could consider purchasing a cheap desk and chair.

Other items to be considered could be a printer, although your university will have printers available, it may be useful to have one in your room, post-it notes, stapler and staples, scissors, and course textbooks – which can be bought new or second hand on Amazon or the local/university bookshop.

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  • Batteries (rechargeable)
  • Cables (HDMI/Ethernet/USB)
  • Chargers that cover all devices
  • Computer (laptop/tablet/desktop)
  • Headphones (consider bluetooth – this will avoid cables everywhere)
  • Keyboard and Mouse (ideally wireless – this will avoid cables everywhere)
  • Laptop/monitor stand
  • Laptop/tablet case (or a strong backpack designed for a laptop or tablet)
  • Mobile phone (check service for the area)
  • Monitor (especially useful if you use a small laptop or tablet as your computer)
  • Power extension (a 4 point with surge protection, to protect your electronics, is ideal)
  • Printer (and don’t forget the paper; although it’s more than likely your college will provide printing facilities)
  • Speakers (ideally bluetooth – this will avoid cables everywhere)
  • USB drives/external storage (CadaStudent provides 2Gigabytes of free storage and will soon integrate cloud storage, e.g. GDrive, OneDrive, Dropbox, etc.)


  • Banking App
  • CadaStudent (sorry, but we had to include ourselves)
  • Office 365, G Suite… There are many alternatives, free and paid for, most of the paid ones include a discount for students, or may even be free through your college
  • Security software. There are many to choose from, and you probably have your own already. If not, consider products such as Bitdefender, Kaspersky, Norton, Avast… A search online will provide reviews and suggestions
  • Virtual Private Network (VPN). As you’ll be using public Wi-Fi, this is a must-have. We recommend NordVPN. We’re not affiliated, but they have provided us with an excellent service for several years


  • Business cards (sounds weird, but as you’re going to meet lots of new faces, useful in the early days)
  • Envelopes (a selection from small letters and cards, to large documents)
  • Folders (you’re going to need them)
  • Highlighters (yellow is excellent and doesn’t interfere with printing)
  • Flashcards (for revision)
  • Notebooks (of course you can also use CadaStudent)
  • Pens and pencils
  • Rubber bands
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Sharpener
  • Stamps
  • Stapler
  • Sticky notes


Various items for university

For documents, international students should consider printing and taking documents for visas, travel, insurance, accommodation, or acceptance letters.

  • Car insurance
  • Car registration
  • Class schedule
  • College ID
  • Credit and/or debit cards
  • Driving license
  • Emergency contact list (leave it somewhere prominent – the message board?)
  • Health insurance card
  • ID card
  • Passport

Living in halls, or even private accommodation, most of your kitchen requirements should be provided. However, if they aren’t or you wish to take your own, we have provided some items to consider.

  • Bowls
  • Can opener
  • Chopping board
  • Coffeemaker
  • Cutlery set
  • Glasses
  • Hot plate
  • Measuring jug
  • Microwave
  • Mugs
  • Oven gloves
  • Peeler
  • Plates
  • Saucepans
  • Scissors
  • Small fridge
  • Tupperware
  • Washing up sponge and liquid


  • All-purpose cleaner
  • Dish soap
  • Dish towel
  • Mini broom with dustpan
  • Paper towels
  • Rubbish bags
  • Small vacuum
  • Stain Remover
  • Tissues
  • Wet wipes

Personal stuff:

  • Bicycle
  • Books (to read for fun – not study!)
  • Journal
  • Luggage (for a weekend and home travel)
  • Musical instruments

Food: Check with roommates about allergies before buying or using!

  • Bottled water
  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Coffee/tea
  • Snacks
  • Soup

Safety and security:

  • Bicycle helmet and lock
  • Flashlight
  • Pepper spray
  • Safety whistle

Remember to download and print the checklist! Moreover, enjoy this great new phase of your life!

If you think we have missed something please mention it in the comments section below.

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