14 School Supplies You Actually Need In College

The best part of going back to school, without a doubt, is buying cute school supplies — but it can be hard to figure out just which school supplies you need for college. Aside from dorm room essentials, you’ll have to pack your bags with the goods that will get you through your classes... and so you can once more take a trip down the back-to-school aisle, and not just to get a whiff of that fresh pencil smell.

From kindergarten to 12th grade, we comforted ourselves about the end of summer by purchasing fresh pencils, backpacks, and more. Don’t even get us started on how psyched we would always get about the school supplies of our childhoods. But college classes are a lot different from high school, so supply shopping gets a little tougher. Luckily, I’ve compiled a list of the back-to-school staples you won’t want to be without come syllabus week.

In college, there are few restrictions and regulations on school supplies you need for classes, so feel free to have fun. Whether that means writing your notes down in brightly patterned notebooks, or jotting things down with an Elle Woods-approved fluffy pink pen, you’ll be set for a great semester as long as you stock up on these 14 necessary supplies.

1. Stapler

Nate Berkus Limited Edition Stapler, $16, Target

Rule number one: Don't ever expect your professor to have a stapler on hand when you need to bind your 10-page paper before turning it in.

2. Pens Girl Talk Pens, $14, Amazon

When your pens are this cute, you'll be motivated not to lose them ever.

3. Agenda

Academic Planners, $25, A Beautiful Mess

You may be dedicated to your gCal, but a pretty agenda gives you a place to keep your assignments organized as you get your deadlines. Pro tip: Write down all your due dates when you get your syllabi at the beginning of the semester so they don't zoom past you.

4. Folders

Folders, $7, Paper Source

Folders are a slimmer option than binders for keeping handouts, tests, and essays neat for multiple classes.

5. Highlighters

Highlighters, $10, Poppin

Highlighters are an essential tool when scanning through 50 pages of printed readings, or flipping through bulky textbooks.

6. Sticky Notes

Sticky Note Set, $11, Urban Outfitters

Keep track of important passages in your required reading, and leave notes for yourself around your dorm.

7. Scissors

Iron Utility Scissors, $18, Anthropologie

In any living situation, you'll always need scissors for something. They might as well be pretty.

8. Notebooks

Birds of a Feather Notebooks, $14 for two, Paper Rifle Co.

Notebooks become very handy when your professor prohibits laptops in the classroom.

9. Water Bottle

BKR Water Bottle, $35, BKR

Everybody's got to stay hydrated.

10. Spare Chargers

Charging Chord, $18. Bando

Make sure you never run out of juice by carrying a phone charger with you at all times.

11. Portable USB

Turtle 4GB Flash Drive, $8, Office Depot

Even if you've already saved your work on Google Drive, it never hurts to have an extra file of your research paper saved on a USB.

12. Cosmetics Bag

Stefanie Johnson Zodiac Cosmetics Pouch, $44, Nordstrom

When your day is packed with classes, meetings, and more, it's important to have a place to stash some extra concealer, chapstick, and tampons.

13. Tumbler

Thermal Mug, $14, Kate Spade

Hot coffee, full hearts, can't lose.

14. Backpack — Or A Very Roomy Tote

Classic Backpack, $40, Herschel

Whether your campus favors backpacks or totes, a sturdy bag is a must-have to make sure that all of your supplies are handy at all times.

Images: A Beautiful Mess (2); Target; Hello Holiday; Paper Source; Poppin; Urban Outfitters; Anthropologie (2); Rifle Paper Co.; BKR;; Nordstrom; Herschel Supply Co.