Freshmen: This is How You Should Pack for College

It may be daunting to think about squeezing your entire wardrobe into a tiny college dorm closet, but if you know what and how to pack, it can be pretty simple!  

There are probably countless items of clothing and accessories in your closet at home that you never wear, so there is no need to bring them to college. Valley has compiled a list of what is and isn’t necessary to pack for your four-year sleepover (known as college)!

Break Swaps

A great thing to think about when packing for school is to know when you will be coming home for breaks.  During these breaks, you can swap out clothes that may not be useful because of weather change.  If your parents or other family members are visiting during the fall, they can bring clothing that you may need for the winter.  Really cold weather probably won’t hit State College until around the end of October, and even then, there won’t be snow yet so there is no need to have your snow boots and heavy winter coat before then.

The Essentials

Some essentials that you should bring to school are a rain jacket and rain boots.  These may not be necessary in your wardrobe at home, but at school, you will have to walk to class everyday, so you’ll want to stay dry on the many rainy days in State College.  

You should bring at least one business outfit for presentations or other events, but you probably won’t need more than one as a freshman.  A cardigan or light jacket is perfect for throwing on to walk to class or go out on chillier fall days before the weather becomes extremely cold! Having a pair of shoes that you could easily throw on to run to the dining hall or even just to the communal bathroom is essential.

Only bring one winter coat. They take up so much room and you don’t need more than one.  Pro Tip: A black coat is great because it goes with pretty much everything!

Penn State Gear

You won’t need to pack a ton of Penn State gear because you can buy it when you get to school.  There are so many shops downtown that sell cheap Penn State gear that you can buy as needed!  There are also many opportunities to win free shirts, hats and other Penn State items all year round.

Comfort is Key

Try not to bring too many dresses or skirts because you probably won’t wear them as much as you may think and you won’t want to wear them in the cold.  Most Penn State students wear comfy clothes to class, anyways. Fancy clothing will most likely collect dust in your closet, but leggings and sweats will get a lot of wear. Don’t over-pack shorts and other summer clothing because you will only be able to wear them for the first month of school before you have to start layering for the colder season.


It can be really difficult to determine what shoes to bring and which ones you should leave at home.  Try not to bring too many sandals because most of the year it will be too cold to wear them.  Try to keep the fancier shoes to a minimum.  They are not very practical for everyday use when walking around campus.  

College sophomore, Lauren Ford, says, “I brought too many pairs of shoes to college my freshman year that I never wore, so I took most of them home during winter break.”


You can also leave most purses at home.  You will usually be carrying a backpack or other bag for your school books so a purse won’t be necessary. A small, cross-body bag is perfect for going out and very handy for carrying your phone and lipstick! 

Everyone will bring things they don’t need or forget some important things, but after the first semester you will be an expert college packer!

Packing can seem like a dreadful task, but if you know what you need and don’t need, it can be pretty easy.  Remember to think about switching clothes out based on the seasons and keep in mind that if you don’t wear it at home, you probably won’t wear it at school!