*This post was about college backpack essentials*
Are you about to begin your first year of college? Or are you looking for great tips on how you can start your next semester on the right foot? If so, then you’ve come to the right post.
I’m sharing 15 college backpack essentials that you CANNOT forget to bring to college. Without these college backpack essentials, you’ll risk falling behind before the semester really begins.
With these college backpack essentials, however, you will feel and be extremely prepared for ALL your college classes.
Let’s jump in:
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Disclosure: *This post contains affiliate links which means that I may receive a small commission at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through my link.
The first college backpack essential you need and The MOST important backpack essential to 4.0 college students are notebooks.
P.S. I was a straight-A student in college so I’m sharing EXACTLY what I brought to college to make me an insanely successful college student 🙂
In college, you are going to be writing A LOT and if you’re taking really good notes, you’re writing your notes down in a notebook with enough pages to fill them.
My GPA DEPENDED on my ability to store my class notes in something I can whip out really fast at any time and know that come hell or high water, they will still be there.
When I was in college, personally used this notebook:
I love this notebook because it has 150 pages, which is enough to last me the entire semester. And trust me, you will need all those pages too, especially if your class meets more than once a week.
As I explain in my post, How to Take Notes Like a 4.0 College Student, there are 3 different types of notes that you need to take in EVERY class for 12 weeks in order to ace your exams.
And when you do, those notes add up!!! As such, any notebook below 150 pages simply will NOT do.
You will have to buy a second notebook to continue your notes, and then during exam week, be forced to have to flip back and forth between the two of them to study.
And it’s a HUGE pain in the butt when studying for exams. To avoid this altogether then, I highly recommend that you bring this notebook to college.
Another reason I highly recommend this notebook is that you will need one notebook for EACH class.
If you don’t have any notebooks on you now, I also recommend that you check out Amazon now.
At the time of this writing, you can get this notebook for only $4.29 on Amazon!
Note: If your major calls for a legal pad or a sketchbook, then by all means get that instead!! Just as long as you have a notebook lol…that’s what matters 🙂
Onto the next college backpack essential!
2. Black Paper Mate Pen
Did I mention you’ll be writing A LOT in college??? I thought I did! lol
And since you are going to be writing a lot (and really fast some days), you ABSOLUTELY need a good pen that will make writing feel like painting.
As such, I highly recommend this black Paper Mate Pen.
This Pen will be your best friend.
Unlike all those other pens on the market that makes writing feel like you’re scraping your nails across the chalkboard and fracturing your wrists in the process, this pen is SO feakin’ smooth and feels incredible!!!
I can literally write for HOURS with this pen without getting tired.
I’m in love with this pen so much, I have 50 more of these same pens in my apartment (I’m not even kidding lol).
So make sure you pack about 5 of these in your backpack. You’ll be so glad you did.
The next college backpack essential that you cannot forget to pack are highlighters.
There are going to be many times in class when…
- your professor tells you to study a section of your textbook really closely because it’s going to be on your test
- your professor is talking like a fast maniac from a powerpoint
- you’re unclear on a point your professor made
- your professor digs cold calling and you need to be able to find the info in your textbook fast…
Having your highlighters is a MUST in these situations!!!
You can whip out your highlighter and highlight the bits that you need to return to instead of taking MUCH longer to write down word for word the information you’re attempting to retain.
I personally love packing these multicolor highlighters in my backpack. That way if I need to compartmentalize my notes, I can color code my notes.
4. Sticky Notes
In addition to highlighters, another college backpack essential that you cannot forget to bring to college is sticky notes.
Like highlighters, sticky notes will save your life in class when the professor is rambling a mile a minute and you want to save your place or take expansion notes.
Expansion notes are notes that you add to your former notes or a specific concept in your textbook to further explain what that note is about.
And most times than not, you won’t have time to write EVERYTHING out in your notebook or you may miss the next important point your Professor makes or risk spending all night writing notes.
These sticky notes will make taking notes A LOT easier for your heavier, more demanding note-taking classes.
As such, make sure you got a block of sticky notes in your bag at all times so you’re prepared for a heavy note-taking lecture at any time.
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5. Expanding File Organizer or Folder
Expanding File Organizer or a Folder…Whichever one you choose, just make sure you have one in your backpack to college.
Having a folder is an IMPORTANT college backpack essential because professors are always passing out copies of their power-point slides or a “fascinating” 20-page case study that they found in the middle of the night that may be on your test. *wink*
Those should not be rolling around in your bag getting crushed my who knows what so that they become unrecognizable when it’s time to prepare for your exam.
4.0 students FILE these handouts away in a folder they’ve designated for each class so they will know exactly where to find them when it’s time to study for their exam.
That’s literally the SMARTEST way to do it. Stuffing them in your spiral notebooks and praying they stay will not do.
You might lose it and then you’re screwed.
So give those future handouts a proper home and place them in an expanding file organizer or folder.
6. Hand Sanitizer
Okay, so I included Hand Sanitizer in this list of college backpack essentials because if you’re anything like me, small items like hand sanitizer (even amid a pandemic) are an afterthought.
But don’t forget to pack this in your backpack.
There will be so many surfaces that you’ll have to touch to make it to class and so many things you’ll want to touch (like your face, your nails, your mouth, the snack in your bag) out of pure boredom because class is a drag.
As such, make sure you have some hand sanitizer on your so you can keep your hands…sanitized!
OMG – Gum is one of those college backpack essentials that you have to have in your bag at all times!!!!!
Like I hinted above, you are going to have some days when class is drop-dead boring or your slipping away because you didn’t get enough sleep the night before.
Whatever is causing you to become drowsy, you need a quick fix to wake you up so you don’t miss what your professor is saying and can take good notes.
Gum will do that for you.
While you munching away at a fresh slice of gum, crystals of sugar will be released into your body and your brain, causing your brain to become excited…or in this “awake.”
Mission accomplished. Your 2-second of mouth action did the trick.
I believe these are the best pack of gum for college students because of their LONG-LASTING flavors so I highly recommend that you bring this pack with you to college.
8. Water Bottle
The next college backpack essential that you cannot forget to pack is a water bottle.
Bringing a water bottle to college is absolutely necessary, especially on a big campus, because you will be walking a lot!!
And during the warm summer months and hot spring semesters, the walk can be brutal leaving you to feel very thirsty.
One water most popular amongst college students is the Camelbak Bottle.
They love this water bottle because of the mouth of the bottle.
The mouth of the bottle provides a very easy and enjoyable way to slurp up water.
Not trying to be weird but this water bottle is so fun to suck on, that in class, I could always find at least two students without fail sucking on the mouth of their bottles for no reason other than to play around with it. haha.
The next most popular water bottle amongst college students is the S’well bottle.
What I love about this bottle is that it’s super chic and stylish and has an amazing ability to keep liquids really cool or really hot for very long periods.
I love that cool and hot feature because I want my water to feel fresh at all times.
Another college backpack essential you cannot forget to pack in your bag is tissues.
You’ll never truly know when you’ll need them until you need them, but tissues are life savers!!
Whether ink from your pen splatters all over you, your water bottle slips and gets you wet, or you sneeze and well…something disgusting happens lol, those tissues are there to help clean up the mess.
You won’t have to awkwardly get up in the middle of class and touch multiple surfaces before you get to a paper towel. You can whip your tissues out.
Plus with covid still lurking around, it’s best to keep these handy just in case a friend or classmate goes into a fit of sneezing and needs some tissues.
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This one is a BIG ONE!
You absolutely cannot forget to pack this in your backpack.
An umbrella is a college backpack essential because you never know when the heavens are going to start raining cows.
And because most college campuses have open courtyards and you have to walk long distances outside to get to each class, the chance of you and your backpack getting soaking wet without an umbrella is extremely high.
One time I made the mistake of not packing an umbrella and was completely taken off guard by the rain that came down shortly after I left my apartment.
When I got to class, not only were my notebooks wet but the textbook that I needed for class (and that I was RENTING by the way) was soaking wet too.
I was so afraid my school was going to force me to buy the book outright for damaging their book.
Don’t make the mistake I made. Get an umbrella like the one above that is small enough to fit in your bag but big enough to cover you so you don’t ever arrive to class wet.
11. Computer Charger
Okay, so I don’t think you need this reminder but I also thought it would be weird to not include computer chargers on the list of college backpack essentials because they are INSANELY IMPORTANT.
If you’re like most college students, you are on your computer ALL the time checking your emails, writing essays, doing assignments, watching a lecture, reviewing notes, or watching Netflix to catch a break.
The point is your computer is ALWAYS running. That also means that your computer frequently needs to be charged.
As such, if you’re on campus for a long school day, then having a charger in your backpack is a MUST to survive the day.
And if you’re a library addict like me, having an extension cord is a must too as it can be very hard during rush hour times to find a good spot to charge up.
So don’t forget to pack your computer charger and/or your extension cord.
The next college backpack essential that you cannot forget to pack is headphones.
Headphones are SUPER important, especially now since college life has been modified considerably due to Covid-19.
You need headphones to not only listen to music when you’re studying or seeking to get your Netflix fix but to listen to lectures and recordings.
As such, if your headphones are on their last leg, then I highly recommend that you get some new ones so you’re good and ready to start the semester.
I always packed these headphones in my backpack and am totally in love with them.
They’re cheap but the sound quality and overall quality of the headphones are great.
13. Portable Phone Charger
If you’re that college student that is ALWAYS on your phone because you live by your phone’s calendar, calculator, and college apps, then I highly recommend that you get a portable phone charger.
Nothing’s worse than having a dead phone on a big campus.
If anything happens to you or your car, it becomes incredibly difficult to get the help you need; especially if you’re seeking outside help and you don’t have any of your important contacts memorized.
I highly recommend that you pack this charger in your bag.
Even backpack companies are realizing the importance of phone charges and are selling backpacks with phone charging pockets like this one below one so you can charge your phone on the go.
This is one of the most popular phone charges I’ve found online and it’s super effective and fast at charging phones.
If your major calls for solving lots of math or math-like problems, then packing a calculator is an ABSOLUTE college backpack essential that you cannot forget.
As useful as the calculator app on our phones are, nothing is a good as a calculator when solving complex problems.
As such, I highly encourage you bring a calculator to school so that way you are ready for anything.
Finally, the last college backpack essential that you cannot forget to pack is a snack.
Packing a snack is ESPECIALLY important if you commute to college and spend long days on campus.
Nothing’s worse than sitting in class on an EMPTY stomach that is threatening to shrivel up on you because you didn’t eat.
Plus, I don’t know about you but I CANNOT concentrate and have 0 motivation to listen to my professor when I’m hungry.
As such, I highly recommend that you pack a snack.
One snack that I love packing in my bag is dried mango. It literally tastes like fruit roll-up except it’s really good for you.
I recommend that you pack a similar snack – fruit, nuts, granola bars. Something that will give you a boost without making you drowsy.
After all, the goal is for you to go to school and be awake to learn…not show up like a drowsy zombie lol haha…so choose your snacks wisely.
*This post was about college backpack essentials*
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Learn more about Jessica, you’re go-to-girlfriend for college advice. Feel free to email her if you have a question or just want to say hello.