an illustration of essentials for college
Illustration by Tiphany Jackson, University of the Arts

Back-to-School Essentials for Fall 2022

From fashion trends to dorm room must-haves, make sure you’ve gotten everything you need to start the semester off right.

College x
an illustration of essentials for college
Illustration by Tiphany Jackson, University of the Arts

From fashion trends to dorm room must-haves, make sure you’ve gotten everything you need to start the semester off right.

The beginning of the school year can be a stressful time, but you will feel much better if you go into it feeling prepared. Although college and university dorms usually send out checklists of things to bring, these lists rarely include the things that students actually need to enjoy their semester to the fullest. If you’ve already gotten everything on one of your school’s lists and still feel like something is missing, check out this list of campus essentials. And if you’re doing some last-minute shopping, don’t worry; you can find everything from this list on Amazon and get fast, free shipping with a Prime Student membership of only $7.49/month.

Room Essentials

When it comes to dorm room essentials, everyone knows to bring a pillow, sheets and a comforter. You’d think these things would be all you need to have a good night’s sleep, but most people don’t anticipate just how flat or hard a dorm room mattress can be. Unless that’s your preference, you might find it difficult to switch from your Sleep Number mattress back at home to the uncomfortable navy-blue nylon mattress that has become the standard for college dorms.

For maximum comfort, you might want to consider buying a memory foam mattress topper, and you can get the Linenspa 2-Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper for only $42.99 on Amazon. If that’s not thick enough for you, try the LUCID 3-inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper, which is currently on sale for $63.74. Although it won’t feel exactly like your Sleep Number bed, I think every college student who has lived in a dorm can agree that it’s 10 times better than sleeping on a brick.

Kitchen Essentials

If your dorm room has a kitchen, you’ll most likely find that it’s equipped with a gas stove, a fridge and maybe even a microwave if you’re lucky. Although many college and university dorms tell students not to bring air fryers, that usually doesn’t stop them from doing so, and for good reason. Air fryers are compact, versatile and easy to use, making them perfect for students. The possibilities are endless as to what you can cook in an air fryer, but you can read more about that in another article. A great air fryer for students that’s on the lower end in terms of cost and won’t take up much space on your kitchen counter is the CHEFMAN Small Air Fryer, which is $49.99 on Amazon. You can get the CHEFMAN in black or white and choose between a dual dial control or a digital touchscreen.

Tech Essentials

Apart from a laptop, one tech essential that every college student should buy is an iPad. iPads provide the perfect way for students to stay organized and take notes digitally, which means you can save money on buying paper while also helping the environment. Many iPad models are out there, but the 2022 Apple iPad Air is probably the best option for students since it’s close to the iPad Pro in terms of performance but is much more affordable. The 2022 Apple iPad Air, which comes in five stunning colors, is available for $559 on Amazon, but you can actually purchase it from Apple’s Education Store for $549 and even get a $100 Apple gift card with your purchase. If you plan on taking notes with your iPad, like many other college students do, you can buy an Apple Pencil on Amazon for $129.

Desk Essentials

If you don’t feel like going to the library to study and do your homework, it’s important that you have a clean workspace in your room. Having an organized desk can help you be more productive, and just being able to look at an aesthetically pleasing desk setup can make studying and doing homework slightly less miserable. The first thing you’ll need is a leather desk pad, which will protect your desk from scratches and spills and also serve as a huge mouse pad.

Next, you’ll want a laptop stand, which elevates your laptop to a perfect eye level and prevents you from hunching over your screen. Laptop stands also provide better cooling for your laptop and save space on your desk since you can store a keyboard and mouse underneath. The last item you’ll need is a desk organizer, which will allow you to organize all of your stationery, keep your desktop clean and make it easy for you to find what you need.

Fashion Essentials

If you entered college within the past four years, you’ve probably noticed that tote bags are the new backpacks. Tote bags have become popular since Marc Jacobs launched The Tote Bag in 2019, and they’ve been a favorite in the fashion world ever since. Unfortunately, The Tote Bag will cost you at least $175, but if you’d like to splurge, then by all means, go ahead. However, a dupe is available on Amazon for only $38.99, and the only real difference is that it doesn’t say “Marc Jacobs” on the front. If you’re not convinced of spending more than $20 on a tote bag, you can also just get a simple one for as low as $12.99.

Although these items are fairly affordable, we know that money adds up fast, so it may not be realistic to buy everything at once. However, if you can get your hands on even some of these essentials before move-in day, you’ll be off to a great start.

Writer Profile

Cassandra Jenkins

Temple University
Journalism

Hi! My name is Cassandra and I’m a senior journalism major at Temple University. I love reading, writing and playing video games.

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