You know that feeling we get, as moms, when the school supply list arrives in our mailbox? The one where we squeal internally and do a little dance in our heads? Yep, that one. For me, that moment of celebration is almost always cut short as I realize that the supply list also means that I will be going back to school too. Now comes the fear of the sometimes pricey school supply hauls for the littles. (By the way, my littlest little is starting Pre-K this year.) But then I realize that I’ll also be hunting the aisles for the best deals on the college school supplies for myself too.
Luckily, after being in school so many times, I’ve learned what college school supplies I can live without, which I wouldn’t mind having, and the ones I can’t live without. I won’t lie, occasionally I’ll splurge on a couple of extras for myself. I tend to fall for the stationery that is just too adorable to pass on. Only for it to sit on my desk, barely touched.
Before I get to the good stuff and tell you my can’t live without college school supplies, I’m going to let you in on a secret. I’m going to tell you how I prepare myself for the upcoming semester so that I can get those coveted straight-As.
Don’t have time to stick around?
Preparing for the College Semester
On my end, a lot of prep goes into each college semester. Anything from college school supply shopping, setting up childcare, and rearranging schedules all the way down to finding great textbook deals and shopping for the best prices on my college school supplies. Here’s a little breakdown of how I prepare myself for each semester.
Registering for Classes Early
I register for my classes as soon as registration opens. Why so early? I do it early so that I can guarantee myself a spot in that class, and I have a better selection. This allows me to schedule my classes around my schedule and my babysitter’s schedule.
Setting Up Childcare As Soon As I Register
Again, you may be wondering why I do this. I have to register to work things out with my sitter. But I also want to make sure that my school schedule doesn’t interfere with my sitter’s life too much. Because I registered for my classes 2 months before the semester started, if there were any issues with my class schedule I could change them fairly easy.
Checking for Required Textbooks
As soon as my registration is confirmed, I check for what textbooks are required for the class. I also check out how much the school bookstore sells each of them for. While I can use my student loans to purchase through the school bookstore, that doesn’t mean I’m getting the best deal. Once I know how much they are going to charge me, I check Amazon, Chegg, and other textbook retailers. Most of the time, I find the book significantly cheaper than my school bookstore would charge.
Buy My College School Supplies
There are only a couple things that I buy fresh each semester. But these are definitely the most important. Once I know how many classes I’ll be taking, and in what format, I start to buy my supplies.
College School Supplies I Can’t Live Without
A STURDY BINDER
When it comes to note-taking I am very particular. I have tried many different methods for keeping track of my notes. I’ve only found one way that works the best though. After trying out binders, notebooks, notepads, typing everything, and so much more I decided that the only way to stay organized was to use one binder for all of my classes.
This prevents me from leaving the house with the wrong notebook or the wrong binder. But it also allows me to move notes around, insert handouts with their corresponding lecture notes, and keep my textbook notes within the lesson they belong with. I keep my notes organized like this because when exam time comes around, I save myself valuable time. This way I don’t have to scramble through binders and notebooks to find the handouts, textbook notes, and lecture notes that will be covered on the exam. I know where everything is and can even use dividers to sort each classes info into exam groups.
My absolute favorite binder is the Hybrid Notebinder from Five Star because it has the flexibility of a notebook, but the strength and capacity of a binder. The front cover can flip all the way back so it’s as if I’m taking notes in a notebook. But I get the organization I would from a binder. I always go with a 1 1/2″ binder so that I have room for up to four classes. These binders do not fall apart. I’ve spent so much money on binders through the years, only for the front cover to split off at the seam or the rings to just fall out. This does not happen with the Five Star Hybrid Notebinder.
P.S. Having a binder allows me to use my Semester Planner without having to make multiple copies. I get all of my semester info at a glance. Just fill it in with important dates and information and you’re one of the most organized people in the class.
A TRUSTWORTHY PEN
I know what you’re thinking. “Um, duh, I know I need pens.” But do you know how valuable a trustworthy pen is? I know not everyone is like me and goes to class with enough pens for 2 classes full of students. I’m never stuck without a pen that works. But if you want to be able to have a pen that will last a long time with smooth lines and no skipping, you have to try the Papermate Inkjoy 700 RT.
I actually found this pen on accident. I’ve always loved gel pens, and I was using my Staedtler Fineliners for note-taking because I just love how they write. But I grabbed my Inkoy 700s at Walmart one day and I’ll never use anything else for class again. My pens from last semester are still going strong, and I only bought a 2-pack!
Yes, you’ll really need it. You’ll be especially glad you have it when you have to do research for a paper and you’re sick of staring at your computer screen. I currently use a Canon Pixma MG3022 and it’s pretty great. The ink is a bit pricey, but you can print on a low-ink warning forever before losing any print quality. This is probably my favorite aspect of this printer because I’m often lazy and ink, like I said, can be costly.
Good news though, if you have Amazon Prime Student, the ink is pretty cheap. Bonus, if you don’t have Amazon Prime Student but you have a .edu email address, you get your first 6-months of prime FREE.
For organizational purposes, you’re going to want to have a few different colored highlighters. Sharpie has some low-priced packs with 4 or 5 colors. The point of having more than one color is so that you can color code your notes. This helps you stay focused on the right content when you’re studying.
I’ve tried all of the free versions. None of them have the capabilities that Microsoft Office has. Especially when you consider the fact that MS Word has a References function that helps you collect all of the info you need for writing a properly referenced paper. It will even insert your citations where you tell it to!
No worries though, just like with Amazon Prime Student, if you have a .edu email address you can download MS Office completely free. No trial period, just free. If you need a tutorial for how to get it just click over to this article.
Other College School Supplies I Like to Have