people woman in class

Calling all parents of freshmen college students. I’m sure you’ve read article after article telling you what your child will need when they embark on their first college semester. Shower shoes, toiletries, extra bed sheets, and a laptop are definitely on that list. But what shouldn’t be. Save space in the moving van and in their dorm.

Brand New Textbooks

The publishing companies and courses have a great thing going. New editions are published all the time. Opt for use editions because they’re a fraction of the charge and who knows maybe your student will also get some great notes in the margins that will serve to be quite resourceful.


Most colleges offer students printing options within the library and technology labs. There is usually a printing allowance associated with a student’s id number and/or log in.


There are so many viewing options outside of cable that are much more economical than paying the outrageous price for cable. Hulu, Amazon Prime (Fire stick), Netflix and all of the network apps are perfect substitutes.

Potential Supplies

College is way different than grade school. Yes, your student will need supplies such as notebook paper, binders and pencils. As your student makes a routine and gets adjusted they’ll figure out what supplies are most needed – and then those items can be purchased when it’s necessary. College is expensive so it’s important to save money wherever possible.

Tool Sets

Most dorms don’t allow students to hang anything. Opt for command strips to hang posters and other pictures.

Desktop Computer

Laptops are much more useful because students will make use of them for taking notes and when they’re studying in different locations on campus. Also, dorm rooms are not nearly big enough to house a desk and desktop computer.


Save the space and don’t bring the TV. Opt for a tablet or laptop for viewing purposes. If you listened to the advice about not getting cable, then no television won’t be a big deal.

Full Size Vacuum Cleaner

In reality the dorm room isn’t big enough to need a full size vacuum cleaner. Instead opt for a handheld vacuum cleaner that can keep the area mess free, but not clutter up the space more than necessary.


There are several other options outside of a student having their own vehicle. Some colleges charge students for a parking space. Look into a metro card or other bus passes that are available within that area.


Yes, you want your kid to have their dorm room feel like home. It’s important to remind your freshmen that this living space is only temporary – the more stuff that’s in the room then the more things that need to be moved in the long run. Any memorabilia that your kid may have should be boxed and stored away.

Too Many Clothes and Shoes

Before you move your freshmen into their new dorm room, check it out and evaluate what should be brought and what shouldn’t.

Your student will need clothes, but if they have a ton of outfits and shoes it may be best if those items are not brought along. It’s also important to remind your teen that the new lifestyle won’t require every shoe that is owned. If the college weather conditions are in need of a coat, then remember that one coat option is enough. If rain boots are a requirement, then one paid is good enough.

As parents it’s our duty to help our children (teens) as much as we possibly can. College is a new thing for everyone – child and parent. Your freshmen will probably propose a little bit of resistance to your college necessity knowledge, but try to remember that their newfound freedom will make them feel like they know everything already. During this transition, work as a team and the college life will become second nature before you both know it.

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