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Packing For Your
First Year of College

Sure, you probably aren’t planning on pulling out the suitcases until a few days before you’re set to depart for NYC, but surely you’ve already begun to hunt for dorm supplies to fit your #roomaesthetic of choice.

As you begin cleaning out your room and making trips to Bed Bath & Beyond, keep Spectrum’s ultimate packing list by your side—we’ll make sure you don’t forget anything important (including room, hygiene, cooking, and school supplies).

By the same token, make sure you don’t waste any valuable luggage space on the unnecessary. There are a lot of supplies you can get away with buying once you get to NYC, and also many things you may think you need, but don’t really (including how much clothing you should realistically bring with you—here’s how to build a small wardrobe for NYC).

Best of luck with all your packing, and make sure to follow our ultimate rule of thumb: When in doubt, do without. If you find yourself needing something once you get here, you can always have your parents/guardians send it from home, or buy it once you get here.

P.S. Spend five minutes filling out the Required Reading class of 2021 surveyyou could win a $50 Amazon gift card to help purchase some of these new supplies.

Required Reading's ultimate 2017 packing list
What you think you need but don't really
School supplies you should always have with you
Bring it from home or buy it here in NYC?
Build a small but complete wardrobe for NYC life
Fill out the Class of 2021 survey now!

Pro tips of the week


No shortage of storage: Find every nook and cranny in your dorm to fit all your stuff. Many of the dorm bed heights can be adjusted to fit more (or fewer) storage bins underneath them. If your bed cannot do this, you can always purchase long containers that will slide horizontally underneath.

Dying to know what your room looks like? We have reviews and photos of every first-year dorm (and room type) on The Shaft.

Stay in the loop: Since the release of an internal memo from the Department of Justice indicating possible plans to investigate and sue colleges if they’ve used affirmative action to discriminate against white applicants, everyone has been discussing the impact of such actions on minority, white, lgbtq, first in family, and legacy applicants. You can read Columbia students’ thoughts on the overall influence of the legacy status, whether legacy should matter at all in the admissions process, and other identity-based application processes, such as accepting transgender applicants at Barnard.

Send us your thoughts: As Columbia community members closest to the college application process, we want to hear what you have to say about affirmative action. If you have strong thoughts on Bollinger’s legacy and Columbia’s responsibility, the role of Asian-Americans in this national debate, or any other facet of this discourse, please submit an op-ed to

Anything you’re unsure about? Send us your questions here and we’ll do our best to answer them in future Required Reading issues.

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