Even if you are planning to attend a career college and can start your studies any time of year, late summer and early fall is the traditional time for student shopping with great specials and, according to retailers, the biggest shopping season after Christmas.
Because shopping can be fun or a hideous task if funds are limited and you can’t find what you want at a price you can afford, you should take advantage of the good specials and great selection during this back-to-school season. Prepare a list of items needed for college and cash-in on the fall savings if you are going to start your studies any time soon.
Note These Off-to-College Shopping Tips
- Most career college students are looking forward to a practicum or a work term in their study program, and will start their job search as soon as they complete their exams. Include at least one outfit appropriate for the career you are pursuing, and business attire that can be worn for job interviews or when needed.
- Include clothing suitable for the weather throughout the college term or terms, and footwear for rain or snow; flop flops for swimming pools and showers.
- A major style trend (2016-2017) is still skinny jeans for both sexes, and you can save by ironing on patches, fraying hems, and adding your own studs and beads. Plaid is popular for males, as well as slightly longer T-shirts and sweaters; females will find a predominance of clothes styled with micro floral prints, bomber-style jackets, and cropped sweaters.
- If you can, bring enough clothing to last two weeks, which cuts down on laundry chores, and buy clothes that can be washed and thrown in the dryer whenever possible.
- Laundry Supplies
- Find out where your clothes can be washed and if you need coins to operate washers and dryers. Bring laundry soap, stain remover, and an iron and an ironing blanket that can be placed over furniture and used as an ironing board. A small sewing kit is a useful item.
- A laundry bag hanging in your closet is a great place to hide your dirty clothes (rather than under the bed) and makes it easy to carry them to the laundry facilities. A drying rack that fits under the bed or in the bathtub is useful for clothes that can’t go in the dryer.
- Cooking Needs
- Make sure you are allowed to cook in your room before you invest in small gadgets like a combination four-cup coffee maker with an attached one-slice toaster and little grill to cook an egg. There are also small microwaves and hot plates, but make sure these are allowed. If they are, don’t forget to bring a can opener, Ziploc bags, pot scrubber, etc.
- Bring a water bottle, a thermos for coffee or tea, and a mug.
- Study Supplies
- Consider your course needs and buy as much as you can at dollar stores or discount stores. Office supply store items are normally more expensive—except at sale times—and often sell packages of multiple items (e.g., 10 glue sticks) when all you need is one.
- Don’t forget post-it notes, highlighters, a stapler, paper clips, a desk lamp, an extension cord, and batteries.
- Computer Needs
- Find out if there is Internet access in your room and bring cable cord and headphones and a printer, if possible, and a bag to carry your computer.
- Other Necessities
- If you will be sharing a bathroom, bring a shower tote to carry all your bath products and a disinfectant spray for cleaning the bathtub or shower in case you need it.
- Find out if clothes hangers are supplied and don’t forget an alarm clock.
- Under-the-bed storage boxes are great, and it is always nice to have a small toolbox with basics—screwdrivers, a little hammer, duct tape, masking tape, and a few screws and nails.
- Bring earplugs to drown out noises — you may be very thankful to have them!
- Check if bedding and pillows are supplied. If not, be ready to buy them when you arrive.
You may be living at home or boarding while you attend college, or traveling by car or by air to a new city, and these factors dictate what you need to buy and the number of items you can bring with you or need to purchase after you arrive. Prepare lists for what you need, what you can buy and bring, and what you need to buy later, and give yourself time to shop and settle in before classes start.
Shopping for what you need to attend a career college can be fun or stressful. Good planning can maximize the fun and relieve the stress. Plan well and happy shopping!
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