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A Back-to-School Guide for Every College Student

Aug 17, 2022

A set-up of a study area for a college student.

Can you believe summer is already coming to an end? Soon, college students will be packing up their things at home and making their way (or their way back) to campus. So what exactly should they be taking with them to kick off the school year — not just for school but outside of class? If you’re that student, we’re here to help you out!

Here's the college-prep guide you need to see. Our ideas go beyond making sure you have the right backpack and outfits, nailing down your class schedule and getting your books. These ideas for the classroom, dorm room or apartment will not only help you do your best in school, but live your best college life overall.

Furniture for Living Your Best College Life


It will be a surprise to … well, absolutely no one … that a desk is a necessity for any student. Whether watching virtual lectures from your room or working on that math assignment, you’ll need a desk with enough space to accommodate your workload as well as get (and keep) you in the critical study zone.

Another way to choose the right desk is to consider your scholarly needs. For example, get a smaller writing desk if you’ll only use your laptop. Or, opt for a larger desk for any large-scale projects you may create. Regardless, when shopping for any desk, remember the golden rule: Measure the space where the desk will live before you shop to ensure the right fit.

Desk Chair

Sure, any chair technically works, but sitting for extended periods in the wrong kind of chair can cause back and neck pain, leading to headaches and a more challenging time completing tasks. So if your budget allows, find a chair that works for you (low or high back, arms or no arms) and that is specifically designed for desk work. Investing in the right one can be crucial to your health and productivity.

Bed Frame and Mattress

If you're moving into an off-campus apartment, we beg you — resist the urge to do the mattress-on-the-floor thing. Instead, invest in a bed frame not only for your health but also for the health of your mattress. If you need more storage in your space, consider looking for a frame that sits off the floor so you can hide things underneath your bed.

Speaking of health and mattresses, a good mattress is essential to ensure you get that always-crucial good night's sleep. Make sure the mattress and frame you choose fits your comfort level and your space (again, measure measure measure!). Need help? Here’s a little tutorial.

Sofa or Futon

Students need a space to chill out with friends, natch. Finding a nice, sturdy sofa or futon can liven up a room and create a comfortable space for that downtime (or when buddies want to crash there for the night). Keep an eye out for couches that double as storage to help you save space.

TV Stand

We get it: It’s easy to turn anything into a TV stand to help save money. But do you really want to risk your TV getting easily knocked to the floor? A sturdy TV stand can last you a long time, and one with drawers and cabinets can give you extra storage space. Take measurements of the space and the TV before shopping to make sure the stand you get is the right fit for both.

Upgrade to These Electronics Essentials


Finding the right TV may not seem essential, but it’s actually key to bringing entertainment into your space and giving your brain a break. Fortunately, smart TVs(even 4K TVs) from reliable brands are relatively affordable these days. This is great for college kids on a budget who want to stream their favorite movies, shows and video games rather than watch live TV (or pay for cable TV).


Textbooks, homework, lectures, chats with family back at home … everything is online now. So finding a reliable laptop that suits your needs (plus allows you to work and study from anywhere) is more crucial to collegiate success than ever before.

There are lots of budget-friendly laptops to choose from that will fit your needs. For example: For convenience, look for options that feature a long battery life to last through long classes or a foldable screen to transform into a tablet. To make it easy to find the right one for you, we put together lots of tips in our article here!

Desktop Computer or Laptop/Monitor Combo

Maybe a laptop just isn’t going to cut it for you. No worries! Look into getting a desktop computer instead. Desktops can provide a bigger screen and better systems with more memory to tackle larger projects. Or connect a laptop to a larger monitor, and have the best of both worlds. The bottom line is that you need the computer that best suits your needs!


Noisy dorm life can be great, except when you’re trying to study and need to focus. Noise-canceling headphones can be your best friend to block out those distractions. Students working in the library or not wanting to bother their roommate can also benefit from a good pair of headphones; you can listen to your favorite music, lectures or podcasts while you focus on whatever else you’re doing.

Add These Appliances


Whether you can’t stomach the dining hall some days or you’re suddenly craving a bag of late-night popcorn, a microwave is necessary for any student apartment (or dorm room, if it’s allowed). You can find plenty of options that are compact, lightweight and fit right into your budget.

Fridge and Freezer

A refrigerator in college is a must, but good news — there are plenty of different sizes and models that are sure to fit within both your space and your spending limits. If you're living in a dorm, you might only have room for a mini-fridge. If you're living off campus with more roommates, you should have room for a bigger refrigerator so everyone has room for their favorite eats.

Coffee/Espresso Maker

As a college kid, getting a good coffee maker may be the smartest item to get. How else are you going to make it through early morning lectures or late-night cramming sessions? Having a coffee maker right in your dorm allows for easy accessibility to caffeine whenever you need it. You’ll find great options from single-serve machines to traditional carafes to slightly fancier espresso makers.

Learn How Acima Leasing Solves Your Shopping Problems

Back-to-college shopping is fun, but it can add up quickly — especially if you follow our tips above on what to shop for. But when you use Acima Leasing, getting college necessities can be way more affordable. Students and parents alike can get everything they want without using credit* simply by shopping at stores they love and then making manageable lease renewal payments* that fit their budget. If you make the number of payments defined under your lease or exercise an option to purchase it early at a discount, it’s yours! If you no longer need it, you can simply return it in good condition at any time without further obligation. Shop using Acima Leasing now and you can get the cooler school supplies you want before school starts!

Still have questions about how Acima Leasing can help you while you’re shopping for this school semester? Read more here and on our FAQ page!