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College Dorm Room and Apartment Essentials

Packing for a new dorm room or apartment at Penn State needs to be a strategic endeavor and decisions must be made on what to take and what to leave behind. These are the essential items your student will want to bring, especially as a freshman. Review the information below and get your student off on the right foot for move-in day.

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Top 10 items you must bring to your college dorm or apartment

These are the items you will want to make sure your son or daughter has for their new college dorm room. Review our notes about why you will want to have the items and click the links for the best price on our picks. Most of these items can be purchased for under $25 and will have a great impact on quality of life

1. Hypoallergenic Waterproof Mattress Pad

By no means are we suggesting that the mattresses at Penn State dorm rooms will be unsanitary, but there is a good chance your student will not be the first person to have ever used it. Our absolute top rated and recommended item to bring to a new college dorm room is a hypoallergenic and waterproof mattress pad. It will prevent dust mites, bed bugs and other pests from choosing your students bed as their home as well as protect their mattress against food and drink spills.

2. Chromebook Laptop Computer

Bringing a computer may seem like a no brainer but every college student should have a laptop. Students will need to complete research, type reports, login to Penn State University websites and will need to bring a computer to some classes. What isn't always seem like a no brainer is the amount of money you have to spend to purchase a college capable computer. The Chromebook option above is our #2 most recommended item and will provide your student with an inexpensive but extremely capable computer. This Samsung Chromebook will get through all four years and for less than a used car payment

best college laptop

If you're looking to get your student a more powerful computer that can also seamlessly stream video, music and play the latest video games consider the top performing Acer Predator Helios 300. It is currently on sale for more than 20% off and will be the envy of the dorm.


3. Rugged Shower Flip Flops

Often overlooked when gatahering your shower and toiletry items for college is a pair of rugged flip flops. If you are wondering why flip flops are necessary there are two very important reasons. The first is reason is safety. Students may have to walk down an entire hallway just to get to the bathroom and shower. Walking the halls of a college dorm with bare feet can be a bit of a safety hazard. The second reason is sanitary and hygenic. Showers at college are shared among multiple people and wearing flip flops gives the advantage of not standing in whatever the previous user left behind.

4. 6 Outlet Surge Protector With Built In USB Ports

Your student is going to be housed in a confined space with a limited number of power outlets in their new dorm room. A high quality surge protector with 6 outlets and built-in USB ports for phone charging will eliminate this problem entirely. Our suggestion is this Bestek "Round" version which makes it easier to plug in electronics coming from multiple directions in your room. It can also be placed into a smaller space than a long rectangular surge protector.

5. Two Pack of 32gb USB Flash Drives

Staying in the technology realm, our number 5 most recommended item to bring to a college dorm is a USB flash drive. These are used almost daily to bring homework, projects, presentations and more between classes. Micro Center 32gb USB flash drives It is also a very convenient way to share information between classmates and teammates. USB Flash memory is extremely cheap and since they can be lost easily you might as well spring for a two pack

6. Collapsible Laundry Basket w/ Foldable Metal Handles

Moving on to functional and convenient items that will make chores easier in a small and fast paced living environment is this foldable laundry basket. The reason this item should be a coveted addition to your students room is because carrying laundry to the laundry room will need to be done with one hand. The other hand will have any other number of things depending on what else your student will do while the laundry is cleaning. Maybe they will carry their laptop, books, lunch or any number of other things so being able to carry laundry in one hand is well worth the small price tag

7. Eight Piece Adjustable Set of Bed Risers

You may wonder why a set of bed risers made the list, but it might be one of the best things we include. You can use these inexpensive pieces of plastic to raise your bed a few inches off the ground and essentially out of thin air create 15 square feet of storage space. Now that you have the additional space under the bed you can buy these under the bed storage containers to store extra clothes, shoes, blankets, linens and more.

8. Portable Lockbox w/ Protective Steel Cable

There will undoubtedly be items of value that your student will want to lock up when they are not in the room (or even when they are). The first choice of most students is a small rectangular fire safe to store under the bed. However, many students report losses due to thieves just walking away with the entire box. Learning from the experience of some of our users we recommend this portable "purse" sized lockbox that has a steel cable attached. This way your student can lock the steel cable around their bed frame or some other stable fixed object. While it is not a fool proof system it will almost assuredly ward off theives looking for a quick score because of its complexity to remove.

9. 299 Piece All Purpose First Aid Kit

Cuts, burns, stings, aches, pains and sickness. They happen all the time and this portable one stop first aid shop is a wonderful item to send to college with your student.

10. Toilet Plunger...Yes, a Toilet Plunger

We heard a story from one of our users that on their students first day in their new dorm room he received a knock at the door. When he opened the door the girl from the dorm room next door smiled at him and said "Hi, it's very nice to meet you, but I have a very embarassing question to ask"...."do you have a plunger I can borrow??" Spend the money on the plunger/brush combo above and don't subject your student to the embarassment