Is your child heading off to college for the first time? This is a real rite of passage for both of you and can cause considerable anxiety on your part.  While you can’t possibly plan for everything, it can help to plan for life in the dorms. And this goes for returning students as well!

Of course, there are some items that should go without saying – laptop, clothing, some way of paying for things – but there are other products that can help make those long days on campus a little easier.

Mini Fridge/Microwave

If possible, find a tiny mini fridge and microwave.  It’s convenient to have snacks ready-to-go right there in their room, and having a cool place makes it easier to stock healthy food as opposed to non-perishables like chips.  It also saves money and can prevent your child for venturing out late at night alone to quell their hunger.

Personal Coffee Maker/Kettle

For much of the same reasons listed above, grabbing a small coffee maker and/or kettle can make life a lot easier (especially if they don’t have room for a fridge/microwave). So many students rely on coffee and tea to get them through lengthy study sessions but the cost of heading to coffee shops can really add up.  Bonus – hot water can be used to make instant noodles!

Smart Phone

Whether you pick the iPhone 5, Samsung Galaxy S4 or some other device, a smart phone can be a very useful and important asset for your child.  They can use it for something as minor as searching for nearby restaurants – or as crucial as finding medical care in an emergency.  The GPS features can also be turned on so the phone’s location can always be tracked.

Headphones

Most kids already have ear buds but a good pair is a nice investment, especially if they are sharing a room with another student.  In addition to wanting to listen to music, they might have to watch videos or listen to content for research which can be problematic in a quiet place such as the library.  Another consideration are headphones that have noise-cancelation properties.  When on-campus parties get loud, they can put them on and get some sleep.

Safety Whistle

Unfortunately, we live in a world where crimes happen everywhere.  This is probably your child’s first time away from home and they could be more trusting than they should be.  Maybe they want to stay out late for a party, maybe they are making their way home from a late-night study session, maybe they saw a movie.  Whatever the case, it’s not a bad idea for them to have a safety whistle designed to scare off attackers.  They are usually designed to be heard from great distances.  It’s low-tech and low-cost but it can be a life-saver.

This isn’t an exhaustive list of things your college student should have for dorm life but it’s a good place to start.  Talk to other parents and read up on the internet for more ideas.