College is an incredible opportunity to learn, make new friends, and prepare for life. Some people make lifelong friends in college and the education you gain is priceless. It’s hard to know what you need the most when you leave home and head off to school. While your best determinant for success isn’t in an object, these tools make everything so much easier. They say work smarter not harder and these things are just some of the ways to do it.

Notes Taking App

While pen and paper work great too, a notes taking app means that no matter where you go, you can easily pull out your notes to study. You can add screenshots, pictures, and so much more to ensure your notes are as robust as possible. This is something a pen and paper can’t do. You can use the notes app on your Apple or Android or try one from a company like Evernote. While there is the option to use a blank page to start your notes, you might prefer using a method like Cornell notes to help you retain and understand the information better.

Quality Laptop Computer

A desktop computer is fine if it’s all you have. But a quality laptop is an investment in simplicity and ease-of-use. Bring it to late night study sessions or use it in between classes when you can’t make it back to the dorms or to your apartment. A good laptop will be durable and able to handle all the moving around you need to do with it. While you may not need top-of-the line, it’s best to get a computer that packs a big punch and can handle all the work you’ll be doing in school.

A Good Backpack

It seems simple enough but think about all the things your backpack will do. Whether it’s carrying your heavy Organic Chemistry books, or safely lugging your computer from place to place, a good backpack is worth its weight in gold. Imagine the last-minute overnight trips with friends and rushing to your first class of the day. A great quality backpack is more than just something that looks cool. It’s something that will handle being thrown around, zipped up, beat up, and adventures with.

Financial Literacy

Before sending your kid off to college, sit down and teach them the basics of budgeting, debt, interest rates and more. Teaching young people the basics of financial literacy will help them make better decisions when the credit card companies line up with freebies just for applying. It’ll help them decide whether or not a late night run to the grocery store for ice cream is really worth it if they have to put in a credit card all the time. College students need to learn these essentials before they really go off into the real world.


This may be a challenge if you have a roommate who is up all hours of the night. A consistent sleep schedule, however, is one of the greatest tools you have to succeed in school. By prioritizing rest, you’re able to think clearer, focus more, and make better overall decisions. Even in college it’s possible to get 7-8 hours of sleep. Turn off your technology about an hour before bed, try not to pull too many overnighters doing schoolwork, and use a noise machine if you need to. You can wear a mask over your eyes and ear plugs if you need extra help with noise control.

Set Goals

Whether it’s needing to set aside time to study or researching for a paper, goals are critical. They help college students plan their time for the things they want and need to do. Setting goals early in life is critical for being able to set bigger career goals later on in life. People who make goals are more likely to achieve what they set their mind to. They can more easily turn their dreams into reality and help college students work smarter with their time. If they have a goal to reach, they are less likely to be wasteful. You can’t buy more time, but you can make time work for you when you set goals and make steps toward achieving them.