Throughout this book I’m reading “Getting Ready for College, by Polly Berent, I found quite a bit of good advice and specific tips and recommendations regarding preparation for college.

I’ve posted a few things on here from this book, but recently I kind of did a sweep of the book to maybe gather together a nice “Miscellaneous” list of things you need to really think about in preparing for college. Things that you just might not think about.

Well, here they are. Also check out my post about the list of things you would need when packing for college. I’m also working on another list of basic items to consider packing with you for college.

Things that are sometimes forgotten…


Don’t forget extra batteries, lightbulbs, garbage bags, grocery bags, printer cartridges, electronic items like extra cords or USB cords. Almost like getting an awesome electronic game for Christmas, but not having any batteries to play it. You want to have backup. You just never know the kind of town you will, be in and not having to run out in the middle of the night or snow.


Not much to say about this except that you can buy cheap lamps or bed hanging lamps and use as light. Dorm rooms usually have overhead basic lighting that is pretty bright anyway. A floor lamp is always good. The kind with three switches so you can adjust the lighting to your convenience and study needs. Bright lights make it easier for you to study. Like opening the windows and cranking the radio to stay awake, lighting in a room has the same effect.


You will most likely receive a school calendar for free, or buy for cheap at the bookstore, but make sure its something that fits. It’s always a good idea to use those school calendars to not only keep your own notes and important numbers, pin numbers, etc. But these calendars always have the games, events and other goings-on on campus. The latest technology has calendar offerings, but use what is comfortable. I would highly recommend keeping a school calendar or some sort of hard copy calendar/planner to keep track of necessary things If you are connected, make sure you keep track of all this. Set reminders on your phones or PDA’s.


Call them and make a list together of stuff each of you plan to bring. You don’t need to double up on stuff. You won’t have enough room. But in conversation, you might come up with ideas. I remember my first conversation with my first roommate. We actually knew each other from grade school, but hadn’t seen each other until the first day of college together. I felt so much more comfortable after talking to him. Even though I knew him, I was still nervous about it. But talking to him made me feel better.

Your “Life-File”-

I have a green hanging file folder, that if I ever passed on or was hurt and in traction or something, than loved ones could access my life in this file. I copied my license, social security card. It contains my birth certificate and my latest tax information and so on. It’s basically everything that I would need in case anything like this would happen. I remember one time when I was traveling in sales in California, I had my wallet stolen. In the middle of California. Everything I had from cash to credit cards to social security card was in that wallet. I kept no copies around. It was a true nightmare. I was John Doe out there and stuck for about a week with no money and no way of getting any. I just ate the food at the hotel. Good times, good times. 🙂 Now I know that if I ever had a problem I would have backup.

Your Freshman Handbook-

There are these kinds of handbooks out there. Official manuals for freshman. Most of the time you will receive this at orientation. If not check with your colleges admissions office to get one, if they provide them. These handbooks have everything in them from food menus to calendars of events, health center service hours, and benefits and things you as a student are entitled to. Vital information so don’t throw it away.

In fact keep a folder full of this stuff. I’m a big collector of paperwork because there might be a time you’ll need it. I’ve thrown stuff away before and it wasn’t long when I needed it. So, anything you get that is official while in college keep in a file folder, or a pocket folder. the biggest mistake students make is not keeping important stuff that was needed. I keep stuff, but I don’t like it. I just learned my lesson. 🙂

Health Stuff-

Make sure you have copies of all prescriptions, immunization records, birth certificates and all that important healthcare related stuff. Make sure your medications are in line and that you have stock, or at least a way of getting your medicine when you need it. You are a big boy and girl now so you need to take care of yourself.

You are probably still under your mom/dad insurance, so be sure to carry a card, or paperwork pertaining to your insurance. II hope this never happens, but emergency rooms always ask for this stuff. Check on where your campus health center is, and take note of hours and services that are free and what you are eligible for as a student at that school. Make sure you know where on campus these centers are located. Be prepared. Check through your medicine cabinet at home and see what you would need to buy or take with you.

Here’s a list of ideas:

Band-aids (different sizes)

First-aid antibiotic ointment like Neosporin


Extra contact lens solution

Benadryl cream or gel for bites/poison ivy

Antacid powder, liquid or tablets

Allergy relief medicine

Pain relievers like aspirin, Advil, Tylenol, etc

Cold medicine

Role of quarters

The Room-

It sounds fun and great to order pizza or eat at Wendy’s a lot as an independent college student, but that gets expensive. Real fast. So consider the snacks in your room. We all get the munchies at some points in our lives, so here’s a list of stuff I think is good to keep in a room:

popcorn, yogurt, pretzels, peanut butter, power bars, ramen noodles, wheat thins and crackers, baby veggies, power/energy drinks, milk, instant coffee, granola bars, dry cereal, bagels, apples, chips, rice cakes, macaroni and cheese packs, canned/box soups.

Just an idea of some snacks for you to keep, but you have your own taste, so Bon appettit!

Money, Money, Money-

This is the life blood of your existence in college, you must have money. It doesn’t grow on trees, so your efforts to making as much money as you can, and saving and being conservative is important. I can’t tell you how many times I bounced checks in college because of my total mis-management of money. I didn’t have any anyway, but I managed.

So should you! You have to watch how your money goes. College is very, very good way of spending money and not really realizing it. Many college students go halfway through the school year, or semester and run out of money. Now, to help you manage your money and expenses I provided you a list below of areas of expenses that you will encounter when in college. Be sure to mark these down, and record whatever you spend in any of those areas. Make a list on appear and leave it on your desk or in your planner.

Monthly expenses:

1. school-related items like books, lab fees, uniform fees, etc.

2. Big ticket items like loft, futon, bike, refrigerator, etc.

3. Food and drinks aside from school cafeteria, ordering or going out

4. Personal items like clothes, haircut and body care

5. Entertainment stuff like movies, DVD’s, downloads, etc.

6. Drug store items like toiletries or cosmetic items

7. Cell phone charges

8. Miscellaneous expenses like whatever there is that isn’t a part of above.

So, make this list on a piece of paper and leave some space between them for you to take note of what you spend, and the amount. I’ll post more about finances and budgeting in another post. Continue to follow me and you’ll find future posts regarding packing for college, especially a complete list of everything you need to be prepared, thus making it less stressful for you. The more prepared you are, the better you will feel.

Your Success is My Success,


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Keith Lipke is a careers and college recruiter, coach, mentor and blogger at The Hope Chest. His passion is to educate, inspire, and give hope to young people who need it upon their search for the right career and college.