Erin Doman on August 3, 2015 0 Comments So, your child isn’t so little anymore, and the time has come for you to send him or her off to the exciting new world of college. While you might have a hard time containing your own nerves, you can help make the transition as easy as possible for your kid. If you want to help set your freshman up with some of the comforts of home in their tiny college dorm room, there are some key items that can make their transition to self-sufficiency a little smoother. Because space and access to electricity might be limited, it’s best if you can carefully narrow down your list of potential gifts to the most practical and useful. Here is a list of the top 11 gifts for college freshmen to get you started. 1. Bedding & Pillows Your college student’s dorm room will more than likely come with a bed platform and a mattress. However, you’ll need to purchase your own sheets, pillows and blankets to bring along. This is one of the best gifts you can provide your college-bound child because you know they will need them and use them every single night. It’s also a great way for them to express their personality and decorate their dorm. Be sure to choose a collection made of light, breathable fabric because you never know if the heating and cooling systems in the dorms will function properly. Also, see if you can find out if extra-long twin sheets will be needed. This is not uncommon often for college dorm beds, but will vary on different campuses. Many students use their beds as places to study, so it is recommended that you bring along several extra pillows of different sizes and firmness levels. 2. Laptop or Personal Computer Although your student might have had a serviceable computer that got them through high school, but now might just be the best time to upgrade. Embarking on the adventure of college is likely going to require a better laptop or computer. A college student is likely to need more memory, computing power and certain software that an older machine might not come with or even be able to handle. And for college students, a laptop is going to be the preferred choice as they can take it with them wherever they go. From taking notes in class to studying at the library, a new laptop allows your favorite college student to always have access to everything they need; making it as easy as possible for them to succeed. When picking out a newer laptop, make sure to get something with a durable build as it will be on-the-go quite a bit. Multiple daily moves in and out of a backpack, plus routine bumps and bruises can really take their toll on the lighter versions. On the flip side of this, you may also want to consider the weight of the device and whether hauling it around campus is going to be an easy feat. 3. Bicycle (With Lock) For kids that will be attending a University with a large, sprawling campus college, a fast mode of transportation can be crucial to helping them get from one end of the campus to the other. Whether they have a tight schedule or are known to sleep in, getting around campus in an easy an efficient manner is essential for them to get to class. Unfortunately, bikes are one of the most stolen items at any university. Because of this, it is wise to make sure that they have a hefty bike lock. This could make for a great gift by itself. You may also want to consider buying a bicycle that has a seat with a quick release mechanism, so that it can be removed between uses to help dissuade thieves. If your state has a helmet law for adults, this may also make for a great gift. But lets be honest here, most college students will likely forego the helmet. 4. Mini Fridge Where will your student store his or her leftover slices after a late-night pizza run? It’s times like these that a mini fridge can come in handy. If there is space in the dorm room and an ideally placed electrical outlet, provide your freshman with an appropriately sized fridge so he or she can keep their soda and perishable foods cool and safe to eat. 5. Extra Storage Under-the-bed space and other nooks and crannies are prime real estate for additional storage in a small dorm room. Look for shelf or drawer units that will fit in these spaces in order to inspire organization in your student. Consider getting something portable for your kid to use as storage. College students do a lot of traveling and always need a sturdy trunk to keep their belongings in. When they are not traveling or moving, they can use the trunk to store items under their college dorm room bed or in their closet. They come in all kinds of materials, but you want to purchase one that is light enough to carry up the stairs if necessary. In some cases, a trunk can be used as additional seating or as a coffee table in a pinch. 6. Small Appliances Depending on the rules of the dorm, you might be able to provide a variety of small appliances to help out your freshman. A coffeemaker or compact espresso machine might be vital to some students, while others may prefer a toaster oven or hot plate for times when they can’t make it to the cafeteria. Irons and light vacuum cleaners could be smart options as well, depending what kinds of resources the kids can expect to be provided for communal use in their college dorms. 7. Comfy Chair Your freshman likely will spend a great deal of time at his or her desk, either working on the computer or studying for exams. Even on down time, you still want your child to have a comfortable place to be when hanging out with a roommate or other friends. A cushy rolling desk chair could be a good fit, or else they might want a large bean-stuffed loveseat for extra seating space. Be sure not to get a chair or mini loveseat that is too big though–we all know that dorm rooms can be criminally small. Before your purchase, be sure to take thorough measurements of their room to make sure this item will fit. 8. Decorations Help turn your kid’s dorm room into a home away from home with fun and festive decorations that match their style. However, there may be college dorm room regulations that dictate what kinds of things can be hung on the walls of the room, so it’s important to be aware of the rules before making any purchases. You might also want to stick with serviceable wall hangings such as dry erase boards, rewritable calendars or hanging mirrors. There likely won’t be a lot of space for knick-knacks, so don’t choose those for gifts unless you know for a fact there will be a place for them. 9. Laundry Supplies If they are lucky enough to live nearby, your child may visit home most weekends to get a good meal and do his or her laundry. However, that won’t be the case for every family. Help your college freshman be prepared for long hours in the laundry room by providing a kit that includes a compact laundry basket, detergent, bleach, dryer sheets and rolls of quarters. If they don’t already know how, it might be a good idea to teach them how to do their laundry before they move off to their dorm. This can help them avoid bleaching the wrong items or shrinking others. 10. Basic Tool Kit It may not seem likely that your child will need to make a lot of repairs in the college dorm room, but there will be times when a bike repair or broken chair can be remedied by having the right screwdriver on hand. Having a tool kit allows students to be problem-solvers and take care of themselves in a self-sufficient manner. Tool kits may not be needed every day, but when you do need one, they are good to have on hand. 11. Reloadable Credit Card You may want to believe you are done handing out cash all of the time to your student, but it may be a while before he or she gets used to managing money properly. In the meantime, it can be convenient to give them a prepaid credit card that you can load with money without a trip to the bank. Be sure to let them know this card is just for emergencies, though, and won’t be refilled very often. Before you give them the card, it might be a good idea to set up a monthly budget or allowance for your freshman so that everyone is on the same page when it comes to their expenses.