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10 Things College Students Don’t Need

Save money and dorm room space by not packing these items when you send off your college students this fall.

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While college students may need a printer once in a while, they don’t need to have one in their door room. College students today mostly hand in their assignments online. Many colleges offer free or low-cost printing at computer labs, libraries and campus common rooms. Some of these areas are even open 24 hours a day. Buying a printer will cost you a least $100 for the machine and ink and will take up valuable space in a tiny dorm room. This is the ultimate survival kit for high-tech college students.

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They might try their best to convince you otherwise, but college students don’t need to bring a car to college. Most college campuses are walkable and in close proximity to any place college students might need to go.

Many campuses also offer shuttles so students can venture out. College students can also take public transportation or an app-based service such as Uber or Lyft. Leave the car at home and put those maintenance, insurance, ticket and other costs back in your pocket. These are the 13 things college students should know how to do before they leave for college.

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Campus Health Insurance

Most college students are still covered under their parent’s plan until they are 26 years old. If that’s the case, you’ll want to make sure that the plan they are covered under covers out-of-network costs or that you find healthcare providers near the campus that are in-network.

You might have to compare the cost of out-of-network coverage with the cost for campus health insurance and decide which plan makes more sense for your college student. You can learn more about health care options for college students here.

Also, be aware that lots of campus health insurance plans have low coverage maximums that could end up costing you $1,000s in the event of a medical emergency, according to Kiplinger. College students are often better off enrolling in an individual policy through the health insurance exchange in the state in which they are attending school if they are no longer covered under their parent’s policy. These home insurance mistakes can cost you $1,000s.

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Having a TV in a dorm room is nice, but it isn’t a necessity for college students. This is another item that is costly, can take up space and can end up getting broken. College students can instead watch TV on their laptop, tablet or SmartPhone through Netflix or TV station apps that connect to their parents’ cable accounts. There are also televisions located in campus common rooms which is a great way for college students to get out of their dorm rooms and socialize. College students will definitely need these items if they plan on renting a house or apartment off campus.

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Bulk Toiletries

Buying toiletries in big containers might save you a few bucks but it’s not really conducive to dorm-room living. Storing these extra items will take up valuable dorm room space. College students don’t want to carry a giant Costco-sized bottle of shampoo into the bathroom every day. College students go crazy over these cool dorm room products.

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books Jason Salmon/Shutterstock

New Textbooks

College students should never waste money on brand-new textbooks. Lots of schools are putting textbooks online for a reduced cost. College students who like using a good old-fashioned book can rent or buy used textbooks from places like, , and And, there will also likely be other college students on campus trying to get rid of their old books at a greatly reduced price.

The best 30 dorm room ideas for first-time dorm dwellers.

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laptopsergey causelove/Shutterstock

Fancy Computer

College students will definitely need a laptop, but they don’t need a super expensive one with fancy features. Kiplinger lists extended battery life, the right amount of storage and light weight as the features most college students will need. Excess storage and a 4-K display are things that aren’t necessary and will jack up a computer’s price. Investing in an expensive computer isn’t wise for dorm life where it could get broken or stolen. Here’s how to properly clean your keyboard and computer screens.

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Big Meal Plans

Although your instinct might be to load up your child’s meal plan account with funds, it might end up being a waste of money. Lots of plans don’t allow money to roll over from year to year. That means you lose it if you don’t spend it. It’s best to start low and see how much they use. Some colleges allow you to refill meal plans in the middle of the year. College students can also supplement their meal plan with gift cards to local grocery stores or restaurants. These 11 tools make meal prep easy.

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hostelRadu Razvan/Shutterstock

Excess Furniture

The biggest mistake college students can make when putting together a dorm room is having too much furniture. Make sure you know the size of the room (square feet) and exactly what the college is providing (wardrobe for clothes storage, desk, etc.).

Mother of three and co-founder of the Grown and Flown blog Lisa Heffernan told Nerd Wallet that most colleges offer a bed, lamp, wastebasket, desk chair or dresser. So you definitely don’t want to duplicate these items. Learn 15 ways to make a small room look bigger.

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Wound Image Point Fr/Shutterstock

First Aid Kit

All parents want their college students to stay safe. That’s why they usually send them off with an unnecessarily large first aid kit. Most of these things come with gauze, scissors, a blanket, gloves, a splint and other crazy things they won’t need/use.

College students should definitely have bandages, antibiotic ointment and ibuprofen or acetaminophen on hand, of course. But, if your college student needs medical attention beyond that, they should head to the campus’ wellness center or nearest urgent care or hospital. They can also head to the local pharmacy, as needed. Here’s how to build an emergency kit for your family.

D.G. Sciortino
D.G. has more than a decade of experience as a spirited writer, journalist, and digital media specialist. She enjoys writing content that inspires people to love and live their best lives. Visit for more information about her work.

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