Must-have items for your college student

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(Family Features) — Far from home for the first time, many college-bound students face new challenges and responsibilities not always covered on the SAT — from term papers and study groups, to unforgiving professors, part-time jobs and all the other nuances of newfound independence.

And these days, with many students on a tight budget and sharing cramped rooms and counter space, finding ways to bring a bit of domesticity to the dorms — or a first apartment — isn’t always a top priority. But maintaining a balance between school and life, while learning the skill sets to take care of oneself in the real world, are arguably just as important as acing any exam.

That’s why it’s a prerequisite for students to come prepped with at-home necessities to keep them on their A-game. This includes a few culinary essentials and household items designed to keep co-eds well-fed (toasters and countertop ovens) and well-pressed (an iron), even in the wilds of the real world.

The following checklist features dorm room and apartment essentials that no student should be without.
  • Ear plugs — Roommates, dorm rooms and apartment complexes are noisy. Keep ear plugs on hand to help shut out distractions and ensure quiet study time and a good night’s sleep.

  • Coffeemaker — From all-nighters to early classes, keeping a coffeemaker on hand helps keep co-eds awake and cuts down on expensive coffeehouse brews. Snag multi-cup machines, like those from Black & Decker, with auto shutoff features (it powers down as you power up for the day), plus Sneak-a-Cup capabilities, allowing you to snag a quick cup, even as the full batch is still brewing.

  • DVD case — Budding cinephiles should leave DVD boxes at home and transfer their collection to a sturdy carrying case, making their new, semi-nomadic lifestyle that much easier to manage and to keep all their favorite films in one, easy-to-find place.

  • Toaster — For undergrads, bagels and toast are pretty much a major food group. Luckily these days, even affordable toasters come in cool, stainless steel designs thanks to brands like Black & Decker, which have preset toasting features, extra-wide slots for easy loading and unloading, plus retractable cords — perfect for tight spaces and easy storage.

  • Flip-flops — Community showers are an unfortunate rite of passage for many dorm dwellers. So always remember to keep a dedicated pair of flip-flops to spare bare feet from touching questionable tile.

  • Extra-long sheets — When it comes to bedding, just remember: Double-X. Translation? Extra sets of extra-long twin sheets for oddly-sized dorm-room mattresses. Students don’t always have time to do laundry, which is why it’s smart to keep an extra pair on hand, too.

  • Surge protector — Between phone chargers, computers, desk lamps and all sorts of other gadgets, it’s always a bright idea to bring a power strip with surge protector to help manage today’s many electronic needs.

  • Quarters — Sure, home is great for free laundry. But between visits, be sure to have a stash of quarters ready for the laundry room. And a timer isn’t bad either. Nothing worse than finding one’s wet unmentionables piled high atop a public machine by an impatient neighbor.
— Courtesy of Family Features

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