Everything You Need to Bring to University: A Complete Guide of University Essentials

November 24, 2023
5 min read
Cress Warnell

Preparing to become a university student can be an exciting time; ensuring you have everything you need to take to university is crucial to starting your academic journey on the right foot. 

From personal items and textbooks to study materials specific to your area of study and student accommodation, this comprehensive guide covers all the essentials you'll need as you embark on this new chapter of your life. Read on for a complete university checklist, for international students or those studying in the country they grew up in, designed to help you transition into university life with comfort and ease.



Textbooks play a fundamental role in your educational experience. It's essential to identify the required textbooks for each course and ensure you have them in your possession before classes begin. Arm yourself with the knowledge needed to succeed in your coursework by having the relevant textbooks ready.


Note-taking is an integral part of university life for most people. Having an ample supply of notebooks allows you to capture important information presented during lectures, jot down thoughts, and organise your ideas. Whether you prefer spiral-bound or hardcover notebooks, make sure to pack enough to last you through the semester.

Pens, Pencils, and Highlighters

Equipping yourself with a variety of writing tools is essential for effective studying, reading lists and note-taking. Stock up on pens, pencils, and highlighters to add colour and clarity to your notes, as different coloured pens and highlighters can help you categorise documents and prioritise information efficiently.


Depending on your field of study, a calculator may be an indispensable tool. From complex mathematical equations to statistical analysis, having a calculator suitable for your requirements ensures you can tackle any numerical challenges with confidence.

Other Materials Specific to Your Area of Study

Each discipline has its unique demands. Whether you're studying arts, sciences, engineering, or any other field, be aware of the additional materials required. These could include specialised software, art supplies, lab equipment, or specific textbooks or publications. Research and consult with your professors or academic advisors to identify any subject-specific essentials before you commence your studies.

With these essentials in your arsenal, you'll be fully equipped to tackle the academic demands of university life. Remember, being prepared not only enhances your learning experience as university students but also helps you stay organised and focused on your goals.

Personal Electrical Items

  • Laptop, computer or tablet: A reliable device for academic tasks and online learning.
  • Chargers and necessary cables: Make sure to bring all the required chargers and cables to keep your devices powered throughout the day.
  • Devices for note-taking, researching, and staying connected: Consider bringing a smartphone, e-reader, or other devices that can assist you in taking notes, conducting research, and staying connected with friends and family.

Personal electronics are vital for academic success and staying connected for international students in today's digital world; make sure to pack laptops or tablets, along with their chargers and necessary cables. These devices will serve as your primary tools for note-taking, researching, and staying connected with your peers. Some students also like to bring fairy lights, lamps or games consoles to personalise their space and stay entertained, so this is something you may want to consider.

Don't forget to bring any additional devices that can assist you in your academic journey - stay organised and connected by including personal electronics in your packing list for university.

Bedding and Linens

  • Sheets: It is important to bring at least two sets of bedsheets and duvet cover that fit your mattress. Make sure they are comfortable and suitable for your taste. A mattress protector could also prove useful.
  • Pillows and pillowcases: Don't forget to pack your favourite pillows and enough pillowcases to keep them clean. This will ensure a good night's sleep.
  • Blankets: Depending on the climate of your university's location, bring blankets that will keep you warm and cosy during colder nights.
  • Mattress toppers: If you prefer extra comfort, consider bringing a mattress topper to make your dorm bed feel more like home.
  • Towels: Pack a few sets of towels for your personal use. Include bath towels, hand towels, and washcloths to cover all your needs.
  • Laundry basket: Having a laundry basket will prove beneficial in organising these bed side essentials so that you can easily settle into your new space and focus on your studies.

Having the right bedding and linens will ensure your comfort and help you have a restful sleep in your new residence or university accommodation environment - having all of the necessary home comforts in your university bedroom, especially during first year, will help you settle in and feel comfortable in your new environment. 

Kitchen and Dining Essentials

  • Plates, bowls, and utensils: Make sure to bring enough dishes, glasses, mugs and silverware for your everyday meals. Having extras is also a good idea in case you have guests.
  • Microwave: A microwave can be a lifesaver for quick and easy meals or for reheating leftovers when you're in a rush or not in the mood to cook.
  • Mini-fridge: Having a mini-fridge in your dorm room allows you to store perishable foods and keep drinks chilled, and can also be very practical and help make your life easier. 
  • Coffee maker: For all the coffee lovers out there, having a coffee maker in your dorm room will save you from those long lines at the campus cafe.
  • Other necessary appliances for cooking and eating: Depending on your cooking preferences, you might want to bring additional appliances such as a toaster, chopping board, blender, wooden spoons or electric kettle. Tea towels and oven gloves are kitchen items that are often forgotten by those new to uni; make sure to not get caught short!

Clothing and Personal Care Items 

When packing a bag for university, it's important to bring the right clothing and personal care items to ensure your comfort and well-being throughout the year.

Clothes suitable for different seasons

  • Pack a variety of clothing options that are suitable for different seasons. This includes both warm and cold weather attire, such as jackets, sweaters, t-shirts, and shorts.
  • Don't forget to bring formal attire for special occasions or events that may require a more polished look.


  • Bring a selection of shoes including sneakers, sandals, formal or smart shoes, and comfortable walking shoes.
  • Consider the weather conditions in your university's location when choosing your shoe options.


  • Pack your everyday toiletries such as toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and deodorant.
  • Don't forget any specific toiletries you may need, such as contact lens solution or shaving cream.

Laundry supplies

  • Bring laundry supplies such as detergent, fabric softener, stain remover, and dryer sheets - as well as coat hangers!
  • Consider packing a small laundry bag or hamper to keep your dirty clothes separate.

Other personal care products

  • Remember to pack any other personal care products you use on a daily basis, such as skincare products, makeup, or hair styling tools.
  • Consider the storage space available in your dorm room - whether this is a wardrobe or storage shelves or drawers - when deciding which products to bring. This is most likely a big move for you; you don't want to bring excess and have nowhere to keep it. 

Study Aids and Organisation Tools

When it comes to university, staying organised and having the right study aids are essential for academic success. These study aids and organisation tools can help you stay on top of your coursework, save, and manage your time effectively.

Index cards are perfect for creating flashcards to help you study and memorise important information. Use them to jot down key concepts, formulas, and vocabulary words. They are portable and easy to review anywhere.

Sticky notes are another great tool for organising your thoughts and reminders. Use them to mark important pages in textbooks, important documents, jot down quick notes, or create to-do lists.

Binders and folders are essential for keeping all your important documents and, class notes, handouts, and assignments organised. Invest in sturdy ones that can withstand constant use throughout the semester.

A planner is a must-have for any student. It allows you to schedule your classes, assignments, and study sessions, ensuring that you stay on track and meet all your deadlines.

Desk organisers are helpful in keeping your workspace tidy and clutter-free. They can hold pens, highlighters, paper clips, and other small items you may need during your study sessions.

Lastly, students, don't forget about other tools that can contribute to your organisation and academic success. This may include file folders, dividers, binder clips, or even digital tools such as productivity apps or online calendars.

By having a checklist of these study aids and organisation tools, you'll be well-equipped to tackle your university studies and stay organised throughout the year!

Room Essentials

  • Desk lamp: A desk lamp will provide you with adequate lighting for studying and working on assignments during late-night study sessions.
  • Alarm clock: Don't rely solely on your phone for waking up in the morning. An alarm clock will ensure you don't miss any early morning classes.
  • Extension cords and power strips: With numerous electronic devices to charge, extension cords and power strips are essential for keeping everything powered up.
  • Fans: Depending on the climate, fans can be a lifesaver during hot summer months. They help keep the room cool and create a comfortable environment for studying and relaxing.
  • Other items for comfort in your living space: Consider bringing items like cozy blankets, throw pillows, posters and images of your friends, family or even pets, to personalise your living space and make it feel like home.

Bathroom Essentials

Don't overlook these must-have items for your university bathroom, whether you are sharing a bathroom or going to have your own space:

  • Shower caddy: Keep all your toiletries organised and easily accessible with a convenient shower caddy or wash bag.
  • Toiletries: Remember to pack your toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, and any other personal care items you need.
  • Towels: Bring a few towels for drying off after showers or to use at the gym.
  • Flip-flops for communal showers: Protect your feet from communal shower floors in shared accommodation by having a pair of flip-flops or crocs handy.
  • Other necessary items for personal hygiene: Depending on your needs, consider packing items such as a razor, shaving cream, feminine hygiene products, and any medication or creams prescribed by your doctor.

Recreation and Leisure Items

  • Sports equipment: Bring any sports equipment you enjoy playing, such as tennis rackets, soccer balls, or yoga mats.
  • Musical instruments: If you play a musical instrument, consider bringing it along for leisure and relaxation.
  • Board games: Bring some popular board games to bond with your roommates and friends during downtime.
  • Books: Don't forget to pack some of your favorite books to enjoy in your free time.
  • TV: Most halls will have a TV already included, but this is worth checking as it is not always the case - remember, if you are buying or bringing a TV with you you will also need a TV licence!
  • Other hobbies or activities you enjoy: Whether it's painting, knitting, or photography, bring the necessary supplies for your favorite hobbies to fill your free time with.


Hopefully from this guide you will have managed to put together a list of everything you will take to university, and have a better understanding of essentials vs luxuries when it comes to packing effectively. 

If you still have questions related to university life, how to do well in university and anything else education related; Summer Schools is here to assist you: Feel free to check out our other informative blogs, read our FAQs or contact us for additional advice or support.

Cress Warnell

Cress is a skilled copywriter who transforms ideas into captivating content. With a passion for words and a keen eye for detail, she crafts compelling copy for Summer Schools, helping students explore their options in education.

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