Pack the essentials for university

If you’re moving to university this September, you’ll want to make sure you pack everything you need for your first year away from home. Zoe, a third year Biomedical Engineering student, gives her top tips on what to pack.

There’s so much to consider when starting University in the run up to becoming a Fresher. Whether you’re a last-minute packer or a checklist lover, you’ll want to make sure that you live comfortably over the first term at University.

You could be moving into halls or finding private accommodation; either way you’ll need to decide on what to leave behind as you’ll more than likely be downsizing in living space.

Whilst you’re ransacking your parents’ house, deciding what to take or what not to take to university, you can sort through your old possessions such as childhood toys or clothes that don’t fit anymore and either flog them for some extra spending cash, or hand them over to a charity shop.

I’ve put together a ‘top 5 list’ of stuff to take to university for each area, based on my friends and my own experiences, that we think would help a first year live comfortably. Hopefully this rids you of your ‘I feel like I’m forgetting something…’ worries and makes getting ready for university that bit easier!

It might be worth checking in with your landlord or university halls manager to see what comes provided with your accommodation, as some places will come with more than others (you can see what’s included at The Green here).


  1. Towels
  2. Toiletries
  3. Tissue paper
  4. First aid kit
  5. Bathroom cleaning supplies


  1. Earplugs
  2. Dressing gown and slippers (for early morning fire alarms)
  3. Reminders of home (pictures, gifts)
  4. Clothes for all seasons (English weather is always unpredictable)
  5. Laundry basket (keep your clothes off the floor)


  1. Frying pans / saucepans
  2. Cutlery, utensils, mugs and glasses
  3. Bowls, plates and tupperware
  4. Chopping board, baking dishes, cutting knife, tin and bottle openers, grater and peeler
  5. Oven gloves and tea towels

Also, despite probably munching down on takeaway or two the first few nights, I recommend doing a food shop to buy the essentials such as milk, bread, tinned food. That way you can rustle something up in the kitchen rather than spending lots of money eating out.

My biggest help through my first and second year of university, was ordering food shopping online and having it delivered to my flat. Ordering items in bigger packs or to freeze can save a lot of money. Making double quantity meals means you don’t have to cook every day, and means you’re having high quality food instead of pre-made microwave meals! This was much easier than lugging shopping bags through the city and meant I could get a whole weeks’ worth of shopping in one go, saving time and money.

Study supplies

  1. Notebooks and organisers – maybe an academic diary
  2. Sticky notes, card, glue, blu tack and sellotape
  3. Pens, highlighters and a ruler
  4. Calculator (if you think you’ll need it for your degree)
  5. Course reading material*

*Be wary of going overboard with course textbooks before you arrive – maybe get a book or two on your subject area, but don’t invest in big expensive textbooks unless a lecturer advises you to once you’re at uni. Most course material can be found online, in library catalogues or second hand – splashing your cash on brand new books that you might not need isn’t really a worthwhile investment! You can check out your reading lists before you arrive on the university website.

Electrical items

  1. PC / laptop – really beneficial for lectures, your studies, and for when you’re relaxing!
  2. Extension leads, because there’s never enough sockets!
  3. Travel plug adapters (if you’re an international student)
  4. Chargers for all your devices
  5. Memory sticks / an external hard drive – always backup your work!


  1. Games to play with your new housemates – a great way to break the ice and get to know each other
  2. ID – passport, driving licence etc.
  3. All documents from university, student finance etc.
  4. Your bank card, details and your national insurance number
  5. Your NHS medical number (if you’re an international student bring medical records of any pre-existing conditions, with English translation)

A tip from me would be to store all important documents in a folder, sectioned depending on the type e.g. identification, bills, student finance letters etc. You could also scan your important documents and save them on your computer, in case you lose your paper documents.

It’s worth remembering though, even if you forget something and realise you need it once you’ve moved into your student accommodation, there’s always supermarkets nearby to buy a substitute, or you can arrange for a friend or family member to bring an item or send it to you.

Best of luck, and enjoy university life!

One Comment

Leave a Reply