Back-to-School Gadgets for College Freshmen

Back-to-School SuppliesGoing to college is no doubt an exciting time for teenagers (and their parents). If you’re living on campus, there is the added stress of moving away from home. But we’re here to alleviate some of that anxiety with recommendations on what back-to-school gadgets you’ll need as you start your first year of college.


Alarm Clock

It may be old school (ha), but you need a reliable wake-up tool. The alarm feature on some phone and tablet models won’t function if the device is shut off. Play it safe, and buy a free-standing alarm clock. You can purchase a simple one for around $10. The last thing you want to do is walk in late to your lecture hall when the professor has already begun teaching.


You most likely won’t need a desktop computer. Instead, opt for a laptop or tablet that you can easily bring to class, the library, and other areas on/off campus.

If you prefer using a keyboard and your daily tasks will require more power, you should stick to a laptop. Laptops are no longer as expensive as they used to be. They now range in price from under $200 to $2,000.

If you’re majoring in a creative field, such as graphic design, test out Apple’s products, including the iPad Pro. For the best of both worlds, Microsoft’s Surface tablet gives you the ability to add/remove the keyboard. You will have to purchase the keyboard separately, though.

Data Storage Devices

Do you anticipate needing a lot of data storage or want the ability to transfer files between computers? If so, make sure you purchase a USB flash drive (thumb drive) or memory card. And don’t forget the USB cable.

Microwave or Toaster Oven

Microwaves tend to be a must-have gadget for many college students. You can make a quick meal of noodles and steamed vegetables with a microwave. A lot of pantry items, such as rice, now come in microwavable packets, easy for eating on the go.

If you prefer a device that gets food crisper, try a toaster oven. Bagels and other bread products often taste better when cooked in a toaster oven compared to a microwave.


If you don’t mind listening to music as you study, headphones are great way to cancel out any distracting noise. Bose makes some of the best noise-canceling headphones on the market. Or use the low-tech version—ear plugs.


This type of pen is a useful resource for students with learning challenges and is becoming more widespread. Essentially, a smartpen writes like a conventional pen but is embedded with a computer and digital audio recorder. Two popular brands are Livescribe and Neo. Using digital paper, smartpens record what you hear and write. You can record your lecture while taking notes and then play back the content later.

What’s your top gadget for college newbies? Let us know below or on Facebook and Twitter.


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