When you’re shopping with your parents for your freshman year of college, the focus is usually on the practical stuff. Of course, you need everything on the list your school provides, and you should invest in the best tech tools you can.
But, as a college freshman, you also need creature comforts and conveniences to make you feel at home in your new living space, which might even help your academic and social shift from high school to college go more smoothly.
Here are six things that Neely Woodroffe, rising sophomore at Spelman College, says you need to excel freshman year. The Miami, FL resident is a dual math and engineering major at the premiere women’s college in Atlanta.
Apps for Food, Clothes, and Transportation
Like nearly any other freshman, Woodroffe wanted to explore off-campus food options. That’s where apps like Uber, Uber Eats, and Lyft helped. “They’re important for travel around town and to escape cafeteria food,” she explains.
Looking great on the cheap is important, too. Woodroffe recommends Poshmark, a resale clothing and social shopping app for women and men.
“These apps offer coupons and run promotions that help save money.”
Organizers and Space Savers for Your Room
Typically, whether you live in the dorms or off campus, college living spaces are small, and you’ll do better if your things are orderly and easy to locate. Sites like Dormify and The Container Store specialize in storage products to help you get organized. Choose from shelves, bins, racks, caddies, and cubes to tidy up your closet, drawers, and desk.
“They are a must have,” says Woodroffe. “Dorm rooms are small, so the more ways you have to keep track of your things, the better you’re able to make use of your space.”
Productivity and Focus Tools
Now that you’ve arranged your living space, you’ll want to plan your time and stay focused. Being punctual and staying on task are two keys to college freshman success.
Woodroofe suggests sta
rting with a good day planner, either electronic or paper-based. “Whichever version you choose, keeping track of appointments and assignments is important,” she says.
If staying focused is a challenge for you, then there are apps for that. Consider Forest, which “plants a tree” each time you set a time goal. It adds coins to your tree if you remain on task beyond your set time or kills your tree if you quit early.
You can trade your coins in for more trees so you grow a forest. Even better, donate your coins to Trees for the Future to plant real trees somewhere in the world.
To help you stay off your phone during class, download Pocket Points. You earn points you can use toward purchases at businesses near your school.
Rain Gear and Waterproof Cases
You will be walking around campus a lot, even when it’s pouring. Sitting through class in drenched shoes and clothes is no fun. “A good pair of stylish, waterproof shoes is a must,” says Woodroffe. Invest in other quality raingear to last throughout college.
Also, a water-soaked laptop, tablet, or phone could mean a dead device. So, get waterproof carrying cases for your electronics.
Cloud Tools and Software
“College life is filled with group projects, planning, and activities that require sharing documents and working in and communicating with groups,” explains Woodroffe. Cloud apps and software make it faster, easier, and more productive.
Cloud tools like GroupMe and WhatsApp and software like Google Docs are imperative for communicating and collaborating college. Software like iCloud, Dropbox and Google Drive facilitate both document storage and sharing.
Also download LiveSafe, a campus safety app that many colleges and universities offer to students. But, it has SafeWalk, a feature to make your family and friends virtual escorts who help “walk” you back to your dorm or apartment safely.
A Reminder of Home
Being away from home is a big adjustment for most freshman and can lead to loneliness and homesickness. Bringing along anything that reminds you of home can mitigate those feelings.
“Pictures, stuffed animals, or any other sentimental object from home can help make your transition easier,” Woodroffe says.
Creating a homelike environment when you’re away for college makes higher achievement more likely. If you’re living off campus, then CORT Furniture Rental can help you outfit a comfortable, functional living space in no time.