Top 5 tools for back to school that can make college life easier

Back to school toolsIt’s that time of year again to start getting your school supplies together for the next year. You know what you need… or do you? Notebooks? Check. Computer? Check. Index cards, calculator, erasers? Check, check, check. Besides the usual list of backpack essentials, there are other supplies that will help you get through the year and that can put you ahead of, well, yourself. Sometimes it’s those items that aren’t obvious that can be the most helpful. Check out these top 5 tools for back to school that can make college life easier, and after you’ve added them to your stash, go ahead and pat yourself on the back. You deserve it.

The 7-day alarm clock

For those of us who know that waking up on time isn’t our forte, behold the 7-day alarm clock. No more having to reset the alarm every day to adjust for different class times. Now you can customize your alarms for each day of the week. At the least, you can use it as a back up to your cell phone alarms or vice versa. Woman’s Day offers its recommendation for the 7-day alarm clock in “Fun and functional college supplies,” a post by Crystal Tate.


Save your back and some trees by using an e-reader for classes that offer digital textbooks and study material. While e-readers are still slowly making their way into academia, keep in mind that there are pros and cons to using an e-reader in place of traditional textbooks. Depending on your study habits and preferences, it may or may not be for you.


  • save money on textbooks
  • highlight and bookmark pages
  • device can read homework aloud
  • easy access to web browsers


  • limited note-taking capability
  • doesn’t show page numbers
  • can have poor quality reading .pdfs
  • difficulty in putting large pages in context

Duct tape

That’s right duct tape. Upperclassmen can relate to its usefulness. Probably one of the most versatile inventions ever, duct tape can fix or at least temporarily mend just about anything you put to the challenge. Including broken computer cases and torn book covers, holding batteries inside the remote control and making wall art, the possibilities are endless. In “What to bring to college: a list of 12 essentials,” a May 25, 2011 post to the Huffington Post, you can find more creative and useful ways to use duct tape that you never had imagined… until now.

Hula hoop

We all need a few minutes to unwind after a busy day of studying in our room, and a hula hoop can be the perfect distraction. When you don’t have time to go to the gym, you can get the blood flowing and burn a few calories. Best of all, it takes up next to no space at all in your dorm room or apartment.

Mason jars

Ever heard of mason jar meals? They are a great way to portion out food for lunch on campus that can help you save money, reduce waste and save precious mini-fridge space. Plus, mason jars are re-usable and cute to look at.

Check out “How to make mason jar meals: part 2,” an August 1, 2011 post by Robin Sue on Big Red Kitchen for ideas on how to prepare dishes like chicken ramen salad, salmon niçoise salad and quinoa Greek salad. Yum!

What unique back-to-school tools can you not live without? Let us know in the comments below.

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