A list of 20 things you should definitely take with you when you go to university.
university backpack

A-level results are out and you've got your place at university. But with only a few weeks until freshers' week, everything is a bit of a rush. You have a list of about hundred things to do and even more things to get hold of ready for university. There is probably even a dedicated section of your house full of boxes of stuff you'll be taking. The way it is building up, it looks like you're doing a three year expedition to a remote part of the Arctic instead of university.

Even though your Twitter feed is full of your friends saying how exciting it is to go uni-shopping, that naive excitement only lasts about an hour and then it's a bit of a pain. To help you out, we've compiled a list of things that are often overlooked that you should take to university.

A Door Stop

The theory is that if you keep your door open, your flatmates are more likely to pop in and therefore you make friends quicker. To be honest, doorstops are mentioned so much that most freshers’ panic into bringing four because they want to make sure they have enough. I can safely say that one will suffice - a door stop should be quite difficult to lose. (But remember to check your halls policy on fire safety as this may say you're not allowed to prop your door open!)

A Calendar 

If you are too chilled out for a diary, but still want to remember to go to things, calendars are the perfect compromise. Plus, even if you don’t write a single thing on it, the pictures will give your room a bit more character. If you haven’t got one for this year, there's no need to worry! I hear leftovers of the Cliff Richard calendar are currently going very cheaply….


It is good to have some small, cheap portable speakers. Not the kind that will keep your hallmates up all night but ones good enough to use in communal areas.

Fancy Dress

There will be fancy dress events happening in your first term at university and whether you like dressing up or not, you will join in with them. It is impossible to have an outfit for every occasion but a few basics will get you started. Some body paint, an old school uniform and anything related to the emergency services will give you a good starting point.

An Old Phone

The chances are that you will lose/break your phone on a night out at some point during your university career. Trust me, I managed to lose one on a night out when I was completely sober! So, when the inevitable does happen, make sure it's an old Nokia 3310 instead of your brand new iPhone. What’s more, your Nokia 3310 is pretty much unbreakable so you only have to worry about losing it!

PackS of cards

Like the doorstop, everyone will bring a pack but this is totally necessary! During a heavy pre-drinks, you are more than likely to lose some cards and soak the rest in vodka. So you will end up needing many packs throughout the year. Plus, you might want to keep a couple of packs spare for when you just want to play cards.

A Tatty pair of shoes

Before university, tatty shoes are used for kick-abouts with your mates and doing DIY. However, due to the state of some of the clubs you will go to at uni, they are now for clubbing too. If you have a cheap, old pair of shoes it is worth taking them just in case. Make sure they don’t have a hole in them though for obvious reasons!


You are going to be spending a fair amount of time in your halls and some of that time is likely to involve a hangover, so you need ultimate comfort! This is where the dressing gown and slippers look is ideal. Your halls may not be a mansion, but with the right dressing grown you will feel as epic as Hugh Hefner.

A Student Cookbook

If you're good at cooking before you go to university, well done. But for the rest of you, take a cookbook. You can’t afford takeaway all the time and ready meals aren’t exactly healthy, so get a cookbook, some basic ingredients and try your best not to set the kitchen alight!

A Mini-Whiteboard

It should be compulsory to have a white board in communal areas in halls, as there are so many important things to write down and cartoons to be drawn during freshers’ year. Even if lots of people bring one, they are useful for your room too.

Tin Foil

Try to imagine the state of your fridge after the cleaning rota inevitably fails and no-one is doing any cleaning! That is why you need something stronger than cling-film. Even Weird Al agrees.



Your room in halls is likely to be very functional but will lack any character. You can normally buy posters on campus during freshers’ week, but take a poster or two to get you started.

Board Games

A great way to have fun nights in. You are likely to have a few different ones if you are in a decent sized flat and there should always be someone who’s keen to play. Plus, playing a game of twister can be great way to get to 'know' your new flatmates!

Shot Glasses

For when you are having shots (duh). Trying to drunkenly judge how much one shot is when using a tumbler is a recipe for disaster. Buy some novelty ones because they are cool, and you'll be able to tell them apart from everyone else's.

Pain Killers

The morning after using your shot glasses, you will probably be feeling a little worse for wear. Everyone has different philosophies and techniques for getting over a hangover, and pain killers are usually vital. Make sure you have a healthy supply, especially in freshers' week.

Old Sports Equipment 

With pretty much every sport being offered at university you are never sure what you’ll end up doing. So it is worthwhile taking any equipment you've got just in case. Old tennis rackets, table tennis bats and even lacrosse sticks – for some reason, lacrosse is one of the most popular university sports!

Alarm Clock

Don’t rely on your phone to wake you up for 9am lectures. You’ll forget to turn the alarm on or it will run out of battery. Use an alarm clock instead and at least you will have the option to get out of bed ready for your 9am start.


Because if you don’t, you could be taking a baby to uni in your second year! You'll be given some for free during freshers' week too, but it's always good to be stocked-up.

Coin Jar

You will accumulate enough 1p and 2p pieces throughout the year to fill the entirety of your bedroom floor space. So, instead of leaving them on the floor put them in a jar. Plus, when you lose an annoying one pound you’ll be able to pay it off in coppers!

And Finally... Something to Share

Students like food and alcohol, so if you take some cake and maybe a crate of beers for everyone to share you are going to be popular. Well, on your first day at least! It's a good way to break the ice.


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