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The Most Useful School Supplies For College Students

If this is your student's freshman year in college or if they are rounding out their senior year having the right school supplies is very important. Some items can be purchased very cheap and make a world of difference. Please read the list below and let us know if you have any ideas to add.

Some links on this site will take you to item pages on Amazon. Full disclosure: PSUMoms participates in the Amazon Associates program, and we’ll earn a commission on qualifying purchases made through the links on this page (at no extra cost to you). We’ve worked hard to research and recommend items that are both high-quality and inexpensive.

1. Sony Handheld Digital Voice Recorder

The most cost effective gadget to purchase for college is a handheld digital voice recorder. They come in handy in a variety of situations. Two of the most notable uses for these are recording the professor's lectures and practicing presentations (There will be a lot of these). Why not just use a smartphone you might be asking? Many professors will not let students have phones out during lectures.

2. Color Coded One Subject Notebooks

Taking notebooks to college may seem like a no brainer, but the key is to color code. Purchase these sets of different colored notebooks and for each semester remember that "red is english", "green is history" and "blue is business". This can save precious seconds and sanity when rushing out of the dorm room and running to class.

3. Chromebook Laptop Computer (Under $250!)

A Chromebook is the best way to bring the power of a laptop to class for a fraction of the price. A Chromebook is a "bare bones" laptop that generally has things like wi-fi internet, email, word processing, and most everything needed for class. They will also have no issue running applications such as youtube, netflix and almost everything from the google play store. A Chromebook will easily connect to the PSU network and have full access to anything a professor wants to do during class.

4. Messenger Style Shoulder Carry Bag

The messenger bag is the perfect way to carry things around campus. It fits a laptop, books, supplies like pens, pencils and notebooks as well as several pockets for smartphones, voice recorders and other gadgets. This particular messneger bag also converts into a backpack for those days where your student may have to carry multiple bags at once.

5. Monochrome Laser Printer

A printer is not an item that comes first to people's mind when thinking about purchasing school supplies. However over the long run, especially at Penn State Main Campus, having a printer right in your dorm room saves time money and sanity. Penn State only gives students 110 free pages to print on campus per semester and trust us, that is NOT alot. One presentation or handout from a history lesson can sink that 110 pages right away and each additional printed page costs money. Purchase a monochrome laster printer and enjoy four years of free printouts without walking late at night through the rain to print out a presentation for tomorrow's class!

6. 2021 Weekly & Monthly Planner

Using a planner is a great habit to devlop while in college. If a professor mentions something in class like a quiz or important article to read outside the lesson just write it down. Put aside a couple of minutes each night to review the week and month ahead. This way an upcoming graded assignment or event will never go unnoticed.

7. Executive Leather Presentation Binder

There are going to be multitudes of opportunity for students to present resumes and other important documents to teachers, professionals & recruiters alike while attending Penn State. The most inexpensive way to make this process look professional is to purchase this basic school supply. A black leather presentation binder keeps documents crisp, makes your student look organized and gives off a great vibe. Make sure your student keeps one of these binders full of resumes, business cards and a pen with them at all times.

8. Pens, Pencils & Highligters

Probably the most basic items on anyone's school supply list. Pens and pencils are pretty self explanatory, but the unsung hero of the college wiriting supply world is the highlighter. Highlighting is a skill college students must learn quickly. Information comes so fast and furious from classes that quickly highlighting soemthing in a textbook, on a syllabus or on a classroom handout can be incredibly valuable.

9. 3.5" Desktop Note Paper Cube

The desktop 3.5" notepaper cube has 700 pages for writing quick notes with any type of writing utensil. These papers have the unique attribute that felt tip pens and markers will not bleed through them. This makes it great to use at a dorm desktop, inside textbooks and any time it's necessary to quickly write something down to remember later.

10. Somewhere To Put It All

Space is at a premium in a small dorm room or apartment where you might only have one desk to perform all of your work. Organization tools like this desktop caddy are extremely helpful and while not really a school supply makes the list for its sheer usefulness.