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The ultimate Back-to-School guide for highschool, university and college students

The ultimate Back-to-School guide for highschool, university and college students

Every year at high school, university or college is a big milestone! Your child is probably excited, nervous, or a mix of both. As their parent, you want to ensure they have what they need to make the best of everything. Whether they’re away from home or commuting to class, here’s a list of student essentials for your child this year. 


For most students, especially in post-secondary school, a laptop is indispensable! From notes to assignments to following along with lecture slides, your child will likely be relying on their computer daily, bringing it to and from school for classwork and study sessions. In addition, many schools have continued to offer certain courses online for flexibility. For the most part, a standard laptop will do, but have your child check if there are specific software requirements for their program and ensure the computer they’ll be using is compatible with the applications needed. 

A study spot

While this isn’t something you can necessarily buy, your child should have a quiet place to get their readings done and work on their assignments. Of course, a library is always an option, and they’ll spend some time studying with their friends, but it’s still essential to have a place to hit the books at home. If they’re living in residence, their dorm rooms will have a desk with task lighting. If they’re still at home, they have options. Help them tweak their study setup, so it’s free of distractions, whether they prefer to study in their room, the kitchen table or the basement. 

Organization essentials

There’s almost no excuse to miss a deadline in the smartphone age. Students can quickly enter exam dates, workshop periods, and study group sessions into their calendar apps. But a physical agenda has a tangible, analog appeal. It might even be easier to stay organized when you can see all your due dates at a glance, adding reminders and notes to yourself if needed. Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong way for your child to keep track of all their tasks, as long as they have a method that works for them. 

Program-specific supplies

Aside from just textbooks and course materials, some classes require specific supplies. For example, science majors will need lab coats and goggles, design majors could need art supplies, and math majors might need a graphing calculator. Have your child review their course descriptions to see if there’s anything they need to buy before class starts. Often, if there’s a list of required materials, they’ll be available through the school, and it won’t be an issue to purchase as the semester gets underway. 

Stationery and school supplies

Yes, many kids rely on their electronics to stay on top of their schoolwork, but there’s still a place for notebooks, highlighters, and pens. Instructors often incorporate hands-on activities during class time or distribute handouts. Even with so many digital tools available, most students will still find some benefit in making notes or highlighting specific lines in their textbooks. 

Aside from having all the physical items they need to make the school year a success, connect with your child over the summer and check that they’re emotionally prepared. Ever school year is a huge step that might take some time to adjust to. Academic success is important, but so is their mental health and well-being. Best of luck to all everyone this September and beyond!