Your child getting an offer for university is a really proud parent moment. With August approaching and results day getting closer, the start of the new academic term will be here before you know it and it’ll be time to get them packed up and prepared.

We know that helping your child pack for university can be somewhat hectic, so, with our years of experience in supporting our students, we’ve put together a guide on university student essentials and where to get them, along with some helpful tips and things you might not have thought about.

Where To Buy University Essentials?

When it comes to buying all the university essentials your child needs, going to the likes of these homeware shops never fails:

That said, it’s also a good idea to check out places like Facebook Marketplace, eBay and university Facebook groups. In the run up to the new academic term, you will often be able to find students selling second-hand university bundles, course books and household items.

When helping your child pack for university, it’s also important to think about what they will need for their academic studies. Stationary shops such as Ryman and WHSmith are great for supplying all the necessary pens, pencils, notepads and folders needed for studying.

What Not To Pack

Overpacking is an easy mistake to make, especially when you want to make sure that your child is kitted out with everything they need. Think about whether the items you’re packing are essential, if they will be used regularly, and whether they can be bought later on. Things that do not normally need packing are:

  • Academic books: Students will receive reading lists on the first day of university. A trip to the bookshop or WHSmith isn’t necessarily needed until your child begins their course.
  • Kettle, microwave, toastie maker, coffee machine: Kitchenware items such as kettles, toasters and microwaves are often provided by your accommodation. However, luxury kitchen items such as toastie makers or coffee machines aren’t wholly necessary at university and tend to take up a lot of kitchen space. Also, there’s the possibility that multiple flat mates will end up bringing these items! So, it’s important to think how essential these items are.
  • An entire wardrobe of clothes: As a general rule of thumb, students should pack around 2-3 weeks’ worth of clothes. Enough clothes to cover going into classes, going out with friends, and going to the gym should be plenty.
  • Toiletries: Once packed with all the student essentials, your car is likely to be a tight squeeze. Toilet paper, mouthwash, toothpaste, shampoo, and conditioner can always be bought on the day of moving-in, instead of before.

What To Pack: Our Student Essentials Checklist

Making a list (and checking it twice) is super important when making sure your child is sent off to university with all the right essentials. Here is a checklist you can use for guidance:


  • Duvet
  • Mattress Protector
  • Pillows
  • Bedding


  • Towels
  • Washbag
  • Toothbrush
  • Bathroom Accessories: toothbrush holder, soap tray


  • Pans
  • Plates
  • Cutlery
  • Utensils


  • Laptop
  • Charger
  • Extension leads

First Aid

  • Medication
  • Plasters

Important Documents

  • ID
  • Passport
  • Student Finance Documents

Most Common Forgotten Uni Items

There’s so much to think about when helping your child pack for university and it’s easy to accidentally leave something behind. Before they slip your mind, be sure to add these items to your list too:

  • Hangers
  • Storage boxes
  • Drawer dividers
  • Laundry basket
  • Bedside lamp
  • Slippers
  • Hot water bottle


Tips for Helping Your Child Pack for University 

  1. Start sooner rather than later: University will come round faster than you think and it’s best to start chipping away at the checklist sooner rather than later. This will also allow you plenty of time to think about items that may have been forgotten.
  2. Encourage your child to join university Facebook groups: Often, universities set up first year Facebook groups so students can find other students who have been allocated the same university accommodation. Encouraging your child to find these groups is a great way to help them break the ice with future flat mates and ease any anxieties about moving in.
  3. Bring cleaning products: Student accommodation is usually spotless on arrival, but on the off chance it isn’t, it’s always worth bringing some cleaning supplies to have to hand.
  4. Let your child be independent: Packing for university will be your child’s first step towards independence. Whilst it’s important that you make sure they have all the right essentials, allowing them to choose things like what style bedding and kitchenware they’d like is a great way to get them excited about starting university.

At Collegiate UK, we want our students to enjoy student life to the fullest. Our award-winning student accommodation comes fully furnished with access to amenities such as shared lounges, communal study spaces, private gyms, and an on-site cinema. Click here to find out more.

For more student advice as you get ready for university, check out our student and parent blog.