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Top 7 Must-Haves for College Freshmen

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A Guide for Parents

The time leading up to your student’s first year at SEU is bound to be filled with excitement, anticipation and even some nervousness. As a parent, you may be wondering how you can best assist them in preparing for this new season of life.

Other than making sure your student is Fire Ready, one possible stressor that you can help alleviate is making sure that they have everything they need to start the school year off right. Whether it’s school supplies or home essentials to help them feel comfortable in their dorm room — it’s important your new college student is set up for success.

Here are seven items that we suggest every incoming student bring with them to college:

  1. Backpack with a Laptop Sleeve — One of the most basic needs for a college student is a reliable, durable bag that is designed for everyday use. More importantly, this bag should be equipped to safely transport their laptop or tablet to and from their classes. Having a bag that is spacious enough to include the necessary textbooks and notebooks in addition to their electronics will make their everyday life much easier. 
  2. Daily Planner — As your student begins college, they are going to need a simple and effective way to stay organized, especially as they get more involved. A daily planner, or planner app on their phone, will allow them to keep track of their assignments and make sure that they are completed and turned in on time. Be sure to purchase a planner or download an app that includes calendars for each month, which will allow your student to stay on top of upcoming due dates for various tests and projects, as well as manage the time they spend with extracurricular activities, their job, and time with their friends. 
  3. Noise-Canceling Headphones — When it comes time for them to get their coursework done, your student will need something that can help them focus completely and minimize the distractions that are inherent to shared spaces on campus. Noise-canceling headphones are the perfect tool for this purpose!
  4. Twin XL Sheets and Bedspread — The standard mattress size for all of our residence halls is twin extra long (XL). Having the proper size sheets and comforter can make the difference for your student’s level of comfort. Not to mention, letting them pick out a bed set with a custom color scheme or pattern can help their room feel more like home. 
  5. Foldable Laundry Rack — Having items that can be easily stored when not in use are ideal for living on campus. A foldable laundry rack is perfect for a student looking to save space, as they can be tucked under the bed or in the closet in between laundry days. (P.S. Did you know that the use of SEU laundry facilities is FREE to residential students? You read that right…no worrying about keeping rolls of quarters on hand or reloading a card!)
  6. Coffee Maker — Caffeine is near the top of the “must-have” list for many college students! Investing in a coffee maker saves both time and money. A single-serve coffee machine is ideal for college students, as it takes up minimal space and makes enough just for them. Of course, grabbing coffee on-campus from Portico Coffeehouse (in the Pansler Alumni-Student Union) or Einstein Bros. Bagels (in the Buena Vida Food Court) is a great way to connect with friends and use Fire Funds that come with their meal plan — having an in-room coffee maker is just another way to help your student maximize their time.
  7. Reusable Water Bottle — It may sound simple, but a reusable water bottle is an essential item that your student should bring with them to campus. Not only is it something that they will use every day, but it offers economic and environmental benefits. As opposed to wasting money on big, clunky packs of plastic bottles, your student can easily refill and stay hydrated throughout the day at one of the many filling stations and water fountains available across our campus.


Depending on how far your student will be traveling for college, you may even decide that it will be easier to buy some items once you’re here. Waiting to purchase bigger items, like bedding and appliances, lessens the hassle of packing and transporting. Be sure to check what our bookstore has available, or even some of the stores here in Lakeland. Ordering online and picking up your purchases in our local stores can also save you time!

Although this is not an exhaustive list, these items are a good starting point for preparing your student for their first year of college. For more information, check out our Dorm Checklist as well as our Parent Resources page for answers to any questions you may have. 

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