The Ultimate College Packing List: UPenn Edition
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The master list of every item I’d recommend you pack!! Everything on this list is something that I own myself. Either I already had it or throughly researched and then purchased it. You are super welcome to do your own research as well, but I wanted to link things to cut down on your own shopping/packing time!
If you are on a budget, I organized the items by priority––you definitely don’t have to buy everything!!
Also, take all of these recommendations with a grain of salt though because this is just what works for me

!!! High priority - Things I can’t live without!!
!! Medium priority - Things I would highly recommend but you don’t need
! Low priority - Things you don’t necessarily need but I chose to get in order to make my life easier
- Depends - Things you may or may not need depending on your own needs (I have all of them)
Please make this doc your own!!
Feel free to delete what you don’t need or add additional items
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My Master Packing List
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Priority
Image
Item
Link
Notes
Category
1
!!!
Twin XL Mattress Topper
College mattresses are not comfortable!! Invest in a mattress topper!! The one I use is 2 inches, but you could do more depending on your personal preference.
Dorm
2
!!!
Twin XL Comforter
Type of comforter is personal preference! I also used a weighted blanket but found that it was too warm in the summer/beginning of school
Dorm
3
!!!
Trash bags
This depends on the size of your bin
Misc
4
!!!
Driver’s License
You will want to make sure to have some form of identification on you while you’re at school!! This is important for if you need to travel domestically or need to show identification at downtown events.
Misc
5
!!!
Laundry Detergent
I recommend purchasing tide pods because it makes doing laundry simpler (you only have to bring one pod with you to the laundry room rather than a whole bottle of detergent). Personally I don’t use dryer sheets but if you do, you should get those as well.
Clothes
6
!!!
Lots of underwear!!
Doing laundry is really a function of how much clean underwear you have left! So if you don’t want to do your laundry, then I would bring all of your underwear to school!
Clothes
7
!!!
Lots of socks
Along those lines, make sure to have lots of socks! Many of my friends also only do their laundry when they have run out of clean socks.
Clothes
8
!!!
Activewear
Depending on your lifestyle, bring as many active clothes as you need.
Clothes
9
!!!
Pajamas
Whatever pajamas look like to you, make sure you have a few pairs!!
Clothes
10
!!!
Professional wear (Suit/ Professional Dress and Blazer)
I’d recommend having at least one business casual outfit. f you are a part of a professional club, you may need to have business casual clothing. Also, you’ll want to have something to wear in case you are interviewing. Guys can also wear these suits to date nights or formals.
Clothes
11
!!!
Running Shoes
I’d recommend having running shoes at school so you can participate in active things.
Clothes
12
!!!
Power Strip
There are a limited amount of outlets in your dorm room so you want to make sure you have enough!!
Tech
13
!!!
Headphones
I prefer using AirPod Pros
Tech
14
!!!
Phone Charger
Don’t forget a phone charger!!
Tech
15
!!!
Laptop/Charger
You will need a laptop for every class!! And don’t forget your laptop charger!!
Tech
16
!!!
Shower caddy
This is the exact shower caddy that I use on a daily basis. I would suggest getting one made of quick drying material rather than hard plastic so it doesn’t mold
Bath
17
!!!
Shower Shoes
I personally use foam Birkenstocks which I already owned, but these are a more affordable option which my friends use and they totally work too!
Bath
18
!!!
Nail Clipper/Nail File
Hopefully you already own these items and don’t need to purchase them
Bath
19
!!!
Comfortable Pillow
Type of pillow is up to personal preference. I like using a memory foam pillow!
Dorm
20
!!!
Shampoo and Conditioner
Personal preference!! The only thing I’ll note is that many of the shelves in the communal bathrooms are shallow and not that tall (except for the top one) so it can be difficult to fit all of your products if they are all tall and large.
Bath
21
!!!
Medications
Make sure to bring whatever prescriptions you have and also make sure to have a plan for how to refill your prescriptions!!
Bath
22
!!!
Comb or Brush
Really up to personal preference
Bath
23
!!!
Body Wash
Really up to personal preference
Bath
24
!!!
Deodorant
For the sake of yourself and your hall/class mates, PLEASE bring deodorant!!
Bath
25
!!!
Toothbrush
Definitely necessary!! Consider purchasing multiple
Bath
26
!!!
Razor
I would recommend purchasing these in bulk.
Men’s razor option
Bath
27
!!!
Various Dental Items (Retainer, floss)
This is all up to personal preference, but obviously you will want to bring what you use at home (ie: retainers, water pick, etc.)
Bath
28
!!!
Toothpaste
I recommend purchasing it in bulk and then storing it somewhere
Bath
29
!!!
Tissues
I also purchased this in bulk and stored it under my bed
Bath
30
!!!
Various Notebooks
Everyone’s note taking strategy is up to them (some use a notebook for all subjects, some use multiple notebooks, some take notes on iPad, etc.) so just make sure you have what you need!!
Note: Make sure you have at least one notebook on the first day of school!! Some professors will jump straight into teaching and you don’t want to miss anything!!
School Supplies
31
!!!
Pencils + Erasers
Regardless of how you take your notes, you will need to have pencils to take tests
School Supplies
32
!!!
Backpack
The type of backpack you use is really up to you! Some people even use tote bags. If you get a backpack, I’d recommend getting one with a laptop section and a place to hold a water bottle.
School Supplies
33
!!!
Command hooks
Get these to hang up your towels, bags, etc. These are very versatile and can be used for many things. Personally, I only needed three (one to hang up my laundry bag, one for my body towel, and one for my hand towels).
Dorm
34
!!!
Long Winter Coat
It gets cold in Philly and Locust Walk becomes a wind tunnel so I’d highly recommend investing in a warm winter coat!
Clothes
35
!!!
TwinXL Sheet Set
I have two sheet sets so that when one set is in the wash I’ll always have sheets on the bed. Make sure to get TwinXL so that they fit on your dorm mattress!!
Dorm
36
!!!
Desk Lamp
Lighting in dorm rooms is poor, and if you plan on studying in your room, you’ll definitely want to invest in good lighting for your study space. I’ve linked the desk lamp that I personally use, but below is:
Tech
37
!!!
Clothing hangers
I suggest getting thin, space saving hangers since you don’t get much closet space in your dorm room!!
Dorm
38
!!!
Bedroom Lighting
In my opinion, dorm room lighting is NOT sufficient on its own. I purchased round bulb string lights which I attached with because I liked the look of them, but many people I know have the
Tech
39
!!!
Towel Set
This is the exact towel set I purchased for use at school. I would recommend having two bath towels so you always have one to use in case one is being washed. I also made sure to have a hand towel and face towel. Some people suggest against having white towels, but I haven’t had any problems
Bath
40
!!
Twin XL Mattress Protector
Keeps the mattress topper in place
Dorm
41
!!
Umbrella
This is the exact umbrella I bought with one day shipping after it was pouring in Philly to the point that school had to be cancelled due to the Schuylkill River overflowing!!
Misc
42
!!
Passport
In case you decide you want to travel somewhere international over break, I would highly recommend bringing your passport to school so you don’t have to deal with having it shipped to you last minute! Also, make sure that it isn’t expired/close to expiring!!
Misc
43
!!
Carry-on size luggage
Good for shorter trips that you may take on weekends to New York, Fall Break, back home, etc.
Misc
44
!!
Eye mask/ear plugs (things to make sleeping easier)
Dorm room blinds aren’t that effective and the thin walls mean that it can be very loud sometimes!! I personally sleep better with an eye mask. I don’t use ear plugs but I know some people do if they have roommates (I have a single).
Misc
45
!!
Phone Case Wallet
You need your Penn ID to go everywhere on campus!! Even to use the bathroom!! It’s so easy to lose your card and it can be a hassle to have to get a temporary card when you leave your card in your room. That’s why you need a phone wallet to keep track of your Penn ID, real ID, and card. You can get these at the Penn bookstore but I would suggest not buying one until you get to campus since clubs and the school give out a lot of free ones!! This is a recommendation but not necessary because I know a few people (very much in the minority) that don’t have one.
Misc
46
!!
Slippers
For walking around your room or to the bathroom and back
Clothes
47
!!
Loungewear
If you enjoy comfy clothing, I would bring sweatshirts/sweatpants. You definitely don’t need more than a few pairs because they take up a lot of close space!!
Clothes
48
!!
Bathing Suit
You should bring at least one bathing suit just in case you ever go somewhere warm over break or if there are tropical themed parties!
Clothes
49
!!
Area Rug
The floors of dorm rooms are cold and gross (depending on where you live you might not even have hardwood floors!). I’d recommend investing in an area rug to make your living area much more comfortable. I ordered
a month into school after I measured my room properly. If I had gone off of my room dimensions, the rug I originally wanted to order would have been too big to move in easily.
Dorm
50
!!
Hair dryer
You definitely don’t need a Dyson but I would recommend bringing a hair dryer!!
Bath
51
!!
Lotion
I’m originally not from Philly, so it took a while to become acclimated to the Philly weather! I really appreciated having deep moisturizing lotion because my skin was super dry when I first got here
Bath
52
!!
Pens
You will want to have a variety of pens/sharpies for note taking or just writing in general
School Supplies
53
!!
Calculator and charger
Check your class syllabus’ for if you need a calculator (I believe most Wharton classes will need one). I just brought the scientific calculator I used in high school and it works great!
School Supplies
54
!!
Full-length mirror
My room actually came with a mirror mounted to the back of the door of my closet, however if it didn’t come with it, I would have purchased this mirror that hangs on the door (my friend uses this exact one)
Dorm
55
!
Reusable water bottle
There are water bottle filling stations all over campus. I’d recommend investing in a reusable water bottle so that you don’t generate as much waste through consuming water from the readily available single-use plastic water bottles.
Misc
56
!
Mini Fridge
I made it through 4 months at school without having a mini fridge and I know many friends who do not have them. Ultimately, I purchased one because 1) the rentals were all gone (but I still wouldn’t recommend renting because you can buy one for that price) and 2) I felt that I was wasting a lot of food because I never saved leftovers and 3) I missed refrigerated water
Tech
57
!
10 ft charging chord
So you can go on your phone while in bed
Tech
58
!
Tweezers
Hopefully you already own tweezers and don’t need to purchase them. I personally prioritized having tweezers so I could do my eyebrows myself while at schoiol.
Bath
59
!
Perfume/Cologne
For special occasions or going out!
Bath
60
!
TwinXL Headboard
Depending on the layout of your room, you definitely don’t need to purchase this. I chose to get it because there was a gap between the wall and my bed so my pillow kept falling on the floor. I purchased this 5 months into school, since I had been using a piece of cardboard as a headboard, so it definitely is optional!!
Dorm
61
!
Bed Risers
This one definitely depends on the size of your room. Mine was very small, so I wanted to have extra space under my bed to move my dresser under so I could have more space to take advantage of. However, I know many people who don’t have these.
Dorm
62
!
Stool
I purchased this stool to be able to get onto my bed after I put it onto the bed risers. I appreciate the extra storage space and seating option for guests as well!!
Dorm
63
!
Highlighters
For note taking
School Supplies
64
-
Dress Shoes/Heels
I had one pair of not very nice heels that I wore for every date night.
Clothes
65
-
Party wear
(Casual Suit/Short dresses)
I wore short dresses for the date nights I went to and I also borrowed them from friends. For guys, you will want to bring a suit that you might not care about as much.
Clothes
66
-
Frat shoes (shoes you don’t mind getting dirty)
The floor of frat houses are really disgusting!! If you plan on going to frat parties, make sure to have a pair of shoes which you don’t care if they get dirty and have things spilled on. I’d recommend something leather so you can wipe them down.
Clothes
67
-
"Fracket” (frat jacket)
Do not buy a fracket!! Just bring an old jacket that keeps you warm and you don’t care if it is lost, stolen or spilled on at a party/event.
Clothes
68
-
Fun accessories
There are many types of themed parties
Clothes
69
-
Jewelry
I’ve felt that Penn feels pretty secure in terms of bringing valuable pieces to school. How much jewelry you bring is up to personal preference, but I find that I wear the same pieces on a daily basis and might add a few extra accessories when going out
Clothes
70
-
Belt
Tan France says that belts should only be used as accessories, not as a utility, but I think you should have at least one!!
Clothes
71
-
Going out bag
Crossbody bags are easier to bring around when you’re going out in my opinion, but handheld ones work as well!! It’s up to you how nice of one you want to bring, but I don’t suggest bringing too many. Personally I rotate between 2
Clothes
72
-
Hair styling products (Straightener/Curling iron)
I personally do my hair before going out so I use my hair tools frequently!
Bath
73
-
Feminine Products
These are available for purchase from CVS close by or even the McClelland express dining hall located in the Quadrangle
Bath
74
-
Makeup
My general tip for makeup is to bring everything that you use on a daily basis and then a few things for special occasions. Don’t bring too much and don’t bring expired products. Going to college is a great time to refresh your collection! Also, bringing a easily portable makeup bag makes it easy for you and your friends to get ready together!!
Bath
75
-
Contact Lenses/Glasses
If you are visually challenged like myself, make sure that you bring contacts/glasses. If you wear contacts, make sure you have enough to last you through the school year!! I’d also bring a pair of glasses even if you never wear them because it’s always good to have a back up in case you get pink eye (which unfortunately is way more common than you’d think––definitely not speaking from personal experience!!)
Misc
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