International Student College Checklist

If you’re moving to the United States for college, you’re probably excited and nervous at the same time — and we don’t blame you. To make the move a little easier, we’re going to list some of the important (and comforting) items that you should bring with you. 

This checklist for international students should give you an idea of what you still need to buy. There are items that you must bring from home and others that you can purchase once you arrive on campus. (If you bring everything along with you, you should definitely budget for baggage fees at the airport, as your bags will likely be over the weight limit.)

Ultimately, keep in mind that dorms are very different across, and even within, institutions — so you just may need to prepare for a comfortable setup. When you get there, you will likely have a bed, desk, and dresser, with just enough drawers to organize your belongings. For extra storage, it might be smart to store boxes under your bed; you probably will have items that don’t fit elsewhere, especially if you have several roommates. 

Documents

These should ideally travel in your carry-on, as you want to make sure they are safely stored. Before you head to the airport, make sure to photocopy each document and email them to yourself. 

  • Passport
  • Boarding pass
  • U.S. student visa
  • Health insurance documentation
  • Institution acceptance letter
  • Immunization forms
  • List of emergency contacts
  • Medical history

Supplies and Devices

You will be glad to have your devices, whether you’re studying for those midterms or missing your family and friends back home. You can also take the old-fashioned route and use stationary supplies to send letters back home. If you’ve decided to invest in new devices, you can go shopping as soon as you arrive, but these are necessary investments.

  • Laptop
  • Phone
  • Digital player
  • Speakers
  • Headphones
  • Notebooks
  • Binders
  • Dividers
  • Printer
  • Ink
  • Paper
  • Pens
  • Highlighters

Bedroom

If you want to balance your social life with classes, optimal sleep is essential. Bring along everything you need to keep you warm throughout the night — and during rainy days in your dorm room.

  • Comforter
  • Warm blanket
  • Sheets
  • Pillows
  • Pillowcases
  • Rug

Bathroom and Cleaning

Some of these items may be purchased once you’ve arrived on campus, but these are everyday bathroom necessities to keep handy.

  • Laundry bag
  • Towels
  • Robe
  • Flip-flops (for the shower, especially if it’s a communal bathroom)
  • Container with bathroom products (carrying essentials) 
  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Blowdryer
  • Iron
  • Soap
  • Face wash
  • Loofah
  • Toothbrush
  • Toothpaste 
  • Mouthwash
  • Deodorant
  • Floss
  • Bandages
  • Alcohol pads
  • Eyedrops
  • Q-tips
  • Cotton swabs
  • Stain remover
  • Makeup (if necessary)
  • Air freshener
  • Bleach
  • Laundry detergent
  • Dryer sheets
  • Glasses or contact lenses
  • Multivitamins
  • Prescriptions