5 Items You Need, And More Importantly, Don’t Need For University – According To Students!

Suniti Vyas

So, your UCAS application is off and the offers are rolling in, now it’s time to start thinking about what you might need to buy for uni! Suniti has compiled a list of the things you most definitely do and do not need.

Shopping for university is undeniably exciting but it can also be overwhelming. To help you out, I surveyed second and third-year students on items that they believe are vital for moving out to university as well as items that can be avoided entirely. This is only a rough guideline, so don’t feel obliged to buy something you don’t want to!

To start with, some items the participants believed they could not live without at university:

Laptop: More than a third of the participants believed their laptop was the most important item for university. Laptops are not only useful for online lectures and seminars, but also for watching films and TV shows when you want to sit back and relax after a hard day’s studying. There are many Youtube videos and articles that recommend the best laptops for students. 

Slippers: As well as study materials, it is important to consider your living situation when shopping. Many uni students will be sharing kitchens, common rooms and bathrooms, so having something to slip on your feet when walking around the flat will always come in handy.

Headphones: Some participants argued that headphones are essential when studying away from home. If you plan on watching lectures at the library or at study rooms on campus, headphones will most definitely be useful as many rooms are silent study spaces to allow each student to focus on their own work. Also, when living in shared accommodation you cannot always play music too loudly – this often depends on your flatmates but do bear in mind that everyone will have their own reading and studying. So, headphones can also be great for listening to music in your room, as well as for watching films and TV shows. 

Doorstop: One question the participants were asked is: ‘what item did you not think you would need at university but would now regard as essential?’ It was in answer to this question that participants argued doorstops were essential. When moving out for uni, the idea of meeting new people and making new friends can be daunting. One easy place to start is your own flat! Keeping the door open – with a door stop -will let people know you are open to talking and socialising, and can help break the ice. 

Extension cord: When at uni, many students use a huge range of electrical items – from lamps to hairdryers to laptops, some students even bring up PlayStations and TVs! While you may not intend to have all of these, it is always useful to have some extra sockets for times in need. Some accommodations may provide plenty of sockets but they can sometimes be quite far from the bed. The best thing to do is check your accommodation before you do your uni shop. 

it is vital to check what your accommodation provides before buying anything

When doing their first uni shop, many students buy items that they don’t end up using at all. When participants were asked what advice they would give to new uni shoppers, almost 50% said be wary of buying unnecessary items, and perhaps wait till you settle in to buy more. Here are the5 things the survey found to be the most useless items bought for university: 

Kettle: This was one of the most common answers from the students! The reason for this is likely to be that many accommodations provide kettles. This is why it is vital to check what your accommodation provides before buying anything. Make a list before you go shopping to avoid impulse buying!

Textbooks: A few participants regretted buying textbooks before uni started, as the content was largely irrelevant to their modules. During Welcome Week, or the first week of uni, module conveners will provide various useful materials and resources including reading lists, textbooks and websites. There is also a Blackwell’s on the University of Nottingham campus that sells some module packs (a collection of all the books you need) to save you buying each book separately. Some schools are quite specific on publishers and editions so it is definitely worth checking before buying, as books can be pricey! That being said, if you would like to get a head start, check out some students forums and Facebook groups for some guidance – but do be aware that these are not guaranteed to be on the module. 

don’t forget that you can buy things once you are at uni!

Hoover: Most student accommodations will provide a vacuum cleaner per flat so a spare hoover may just take up space in your room. In private accommodations, landlords also often provide vacuum cleaners so it is worth checking before buying any big or expensive appliances. 

Whole year’s supply of toiletries: Whilst it may be tempting to buy extra ‘essentials’ for when you run out, don’t forget that you can buy things once you are at uni! Both on campus and around accommodations there are shops where you can pick up your essentials along with your weekly food supply. 

Candles: Most accommodations have strict rules about candles and incense sticks, as they are a fire hazard, so be sure to check the rules before doing your uni shop. Instead, you can opt for an air freshener or scent diffuser to keep your room smelling fresh!

These are only some of the items you may need  for university, here is a checklist that you may find useful for when you do your uni shop. This is an exciting time, don’t let the preparation for uni worry you too much – happy shopping!

Suniti Vyas

Featured image courtesy of Tamarcus Brown on Unsplash. Image license found here. No changes were made to this image.

In article images courtesy of @hexa_studies and @uva_amsterdam via No changes were made to these images.

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