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What to Bring to University: Packing Checklist


Going to uni for the first time might mean leaving home for the first time. How exciting! Freedom at last! The new life starts here!

But it’s important to be prepared. Do you know what to bring to uni?

To help you get ready for your next big adventure, we’ve put this big list together. It’s the ultimate checklist of what to pack for uni.

Even if you feel prepared, give the list a read! You might be forgetting something…

The Ultimate “What to Take to Uni” List

To make things a bit easier, we’ll divide this list into different categories.

What Documents & Paperwork to take to Uni

You never know when you might need this stuff. So it’s important that you have it all to hand whenever you need it, and that you have spares just in case anything goes missing.

So get a good folder to keep all this stuff together. If you can, make copies – ideally a digital and a paper copy of each:

  • ID – Your passport, your driving licence, or any other form of photo ID.
  • University Documents – Including your university acceptance letter and your course acceptance letter.
  • Student Finance Documents – Because if there are any problems with your student loan, your documents will help you get sorted.
  • Accommodation Documents – Letting agreements, inventories, and so on.
  • Bank Stuff – You’ll need your debit card and details of your bank account. It might be a good idea to take your National Insurance card. But you’ll probably never have to show this to anyone, so you’ll almost certainly get by so long as you know your National Insurance Number.

Stationery & Student Stuff to Bring to Uni

In all the excitement of leaving home and moving to a new city, it’s easy to forget that you’re going to uni to learn stuff. So don’t forget to pack all the academic items you’ll need:

  • Course Materials – Any reading lists or other materials you might have received. Don’t worry too much about getting all your required reading in advance. You’ll probably be able to find everything you need at your uni’s library once you arrive. And if not, you might be able to get a discount on your course materials in the uni’s bookshop, or at a campus second-hand book sale.
  • Notebooks – You’ll have no trouble buying notebooks once you get to uni. But it’s best to be prepared.
  • Stationery – Pens, pencils, highlighters, Sellotape, a stapler, staples, paperclips, post-it notes… few things are more satisfying than shopping for new stationery! Or is that just us?

What Clothes to Bring to Uni

We’re not going to tell you how to pack clothes for uni. You’ve been wearing clothes your whole life, so you’ll know better than us what you’ll want and need to pack for uni. But that said, it’s easy to overlook some things. So here’s a few pointers to help you prepare:

  • Seasonal Stuff. Pack for all seasons. Make sure you’ve got hats, scarves, gloves and layers for the winter, and shorts, sunglasses and other cooler stuff for the summer. And if you’re going to uni in the UK, it WILL rain. Make sure you have lots of waterproofs, including a raincoat and appropriate shoes for downpours.
  • Formal Wear. Even if you don’t plan on attending any high society balls or black tie events, it still pays to pack formal wear. If you want to get a student job, for instance, you’ll need some formal wear for your interview. And don’t forget the shoes!
  • Active Wear. Do you plan on going to the gym, or joining any sports or activity clubs while at uni? If so, don’t forget your gym clothes, your gym bag, and your running shoes. Also, everyone should bring swimwear to uni. Because you never know.
  • Flip-flops. An absolute must if your uni accommodation has a shared bathroom. Honestly. You’ll need flip-flops. Just trust us. You can thank us later.
  • Coat Hangers. Because your accommodation is unlikely to provide them!
  • Fancy Dress. Usually an essential as a ice breaker for Freshers Week parties and may come in handy throughout uni.

What Kitchen Items to Take to Uni

Check in advance what’s included in your accommodation. There’s likely to be a kettle, a microwave, and a toaster. If so, great! But if not, you’ll have to pack your own. Beyond that, you’ll need:

  • Bowls and Plates. At least two of each. Don’t bring too many, though. They’re heavy and bulky, and the more you have, the more likely you are to let the dishes pile up in the sink.
  • At least two knives and two forks. A teaspoon and a tablespoon. A sharper knife for cutting meat and vegetables, and a serrated knife for cutting bread.
  • Mugs and Glasses. Again, bring at least two mugs and two glasses, but don’t bring too much. This stuff takes up a lot of space, both in your luggage and in the kitchen. And once more, it tends to pile up in the sink…
  • Cooking Stuff. At the very least, you’ll need a frying pan, a saucepan, and a larger pot for boiling water. Oven gloves are essential, too. Then you’ll need a chopping block, a sieve, a colander, and a baking tray. It’s also useful to bring a cheese grater, a bottle opener, a tin opener, and a vegetable peeler.
  • Cleaning Stuff. Kitchen roll, kitchen towels, sponges, a scouring pad, washing up liquid, and kitchen cleaner.
  • Stuff for Leftovers. Reusable food containers, tinfoil, and cling-film – these are your secret weapons for making the most of your food budget!

Bathroom Stuff For Uni

Whether you have an en-suite in your accommodation or a shared bathroom, you’ll need the following:

  • Bring more than one, so that you have one to use while you’re washing the other.
  • Soap. Shower gel. A comb or a hairbrush. Hair ties. Cosmetics. Sunscreen. Razors and shaving cream. Nail clippers. A toiletries bag to keep everything together.
  • Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush. And your toothpaste, some mouthwash, some floss, and a toothbrush holder.
  • Bathrobe/Dressing Gown. Particularly useful if you have a shared bathroom. And again, flip-flops. Just trust us on the flip-flops, OK?
  • Bathroom Cleaning Stuff. Bathroom cleaner, toilet cleaner, and sponges.

Personal Health Stuff

Again, you’ll have a much better idea than us as to what you need to take here. And you should have no trouble getting any of this stuff on campus, if you forget. But here are a few pointers, just in case:

  • Any personal prescriptions or allergy medicine you might need. Plus, ever heard of Fresher’s Flu? It happens, so it’s best to be prepared with some kind of flu relief. And it’s ALWAYS a good idea to have some paracetamol to hand.
  • First Aid. You probably don’t have to bring a fully-stocked first aid kit to uni. But it pays to be prepared. So pack some plasters at the very least, and perhaps some antiseptic cream or wipes.
  • Sexual Health Stuff. Most student service centres provide complimentary contraceptives, but you could bring your own too: Condoms, birth control pills, or whatever works for you.

What to Bring for Your Bedroom at Uni

Again, check in advance to see what’s included in your accommodation. Beyond this, you just need to bring the basics:

  • Pillows, a duvet, pillowcases and bedsheets. A mattress protector isn’t strictly necessary, but it can make any bed considerably comfier.
  • Laundry Stuff. You’ll need a laundry basket or a laundry bin. Not only does this make carting things to and from the washing machine easier, it also means you’re less likely to let your dirty clothes pile up on the floor.
  • Clothes Stuff. We mentioned above that you might need to bring coat hangers. Beyond this, it’s a good idea to bring an iron, an ironing board, and an ironing board cover. If you’re worried about space, you can get a smaller, more compact ironing board instead of a full-size one.
  • A Rubbish Bin. Again, it stops the litter from piling up!

Essential Electricals

Your accommodation might include a TV. But if not, or if you have a games console you just can’t be without, then it might be a good idea to bring a TV of your own.

Similarly, you shouldn’t have to bring your own printer. It can make life easier if you can print stuff yourself. But printers are big, bulky, expensive to buy and expensive to run. On many levels, it’s much more convenient to just use your uni’s printing services. That’s what they’re there for!

Beyond that, here are the electrical items that all students should consider bringing to uni:

  • Or a desktop computer, if that’s your style. Don’t forget all the chargers and leads, too.
  • As if you’d ever leave the house without it! But again, don’t forget your charger.
  • And external speakers, because there’s nothing worse than tinny laptop speaker sound.
  • An external hard drive so you can back up all your essential data. Plus, portable flash drives, for taking stuff to and from campus.

Other Stuff

This is the stuff that’s not strictly essential, but which you might be very glad indeed to have packed:

  • Beyond the textbooks. Books bring colour and energy to any room. And you never know, they might help you make new friends!
  • These too can bring any room to life. Plus, caring for plants is great for your mental health and wellbeing.
  • Check whether your accommodation provides any lighting. Beyond this, you might need a bedside light and a desk lamp. Also, a string of fairy lights can transform your student accommodation into a place of enchantment and wonder.
  • Leaving home for the first time can be challenging. Some photos of your families, friends and pets can make a huge difference if you’re feeling homesick.

Going to Uni for the First Time?

And that’s it! That’s essentially everything you’ll need to pack for uni.

Got any more questions about going to uni for the first time? We have some guides to help you prepare:

And if you’re heading to uni in Nottingham, we’ve got you covered!

Head here to read our complete guide to the best places to live in Nottingham for students.

Posted 13.05.22
Ed Henderson
News & Blog


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