Everything College Students Need for In-Person and Virtual Learning

Woman wearing mask while studying in library


Starting college this year looks a lot different than previous years because of COVID-19. While many students are returning to campus (some semesters have already started), they are experiencing restrictions on move-in logistics, class structure, and on-campus living. On top of this, some universities are already instructing students to complete portions of the semester via virtual learning, when positive COVID-19 cases on campus increase too much.

If your child is on campus, their schedules are most likely a combination of virtual classes and in-person learning. Since they’ll be spending a lot more time in their dorm rooms, help make sure that their space is comfortable and functional. This goes for students learning virtually, too. 

Students need a lot more than the classic bedding and toiletry essentials this year. Here are some items that college kids need to complete their hybrid or 100% virtual learning, from a dorm room or from home.

  • 01 of 20

    Washable Tote

    Rothy's tote

    Unlike many other school bags, this washable tote from Rothy’s is made from ocean-bound marine plastic that can be tossed in the laundry or wiped clean when students return from classes to help kill germs. 

    SHOP ROTHY’S: Essential Tote, $275

  • 02 of 20

    Space-Saving Collapsible Desk

    Folding desk


    If your student isn't going back to school, or you’re anticipating they might have to come back home at any point, a foldaway desk is great to have on hand for anytime they’ll need a designated work space to take classes. 

    SHOP AMAZON: Halter Modern Folding Computer Table, $90

  • 03 of 20

    Comfortable Desk Chair

    Black desk chair with wheels

    Poly & Bark

    Whether they're away at college or taking classes online from home, college students need a comfortable chair to work in. This sophisticated, vegan leather chair is gender neutral, and the soft padding may help them work longer. The wheels make gliding from the desk to the mini-fridge a breeze.

    SHOP POLY & BARK: Tremaine Office Chair, $145

  • 04 of 20

    Athletic Face Mask

    Athletic face masks


    Since face masks are required almost everywhere that social distancing is not possible, students probably have an arsenal of medical-grade masks and probably a few cute patterned ones. These face masks from Onzie are made with performance fabric that makes them moisture-wicking and more breathable during workouts. They also have built-in pockets so that you can insert filters to add an extra layer of protection.

    SHOP ONZIE: Mindful Masks, $24 for 2

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  • 05 of 20

    Sanitizing Box

    Sanitizing box for small personal items


    If you were to scan your phone or other small accessories for germs, you might find yourself quite freaked out. Accessories that constantly come in contact with your face and surfaces can easily transfer harmful germs, which no one needs right now. Leave this compact sanitizing box on a desk or dresser, to disinfect personal belongings when you get back home. 

    SHOP SONIX: Beyond UV+O3 Sanitizing Box, $60

  • 06 of 20

    Noise Cancelling Headphones

    If students are lucky enough to have access to a school library, they usually find that there are more distractions than anticipated. Noise cancelling headphones help drown out the noise of other students, to better focus. Same goes for those working from a dorm room or bedroom at home. Being able to block out all outside noises helps. 

    SHOP BOSE: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, $399

  • 07 of 20

    Electronic Sanitizing Wipes

    Well-Kept screen cleansing towelettes


    These compact cleansing wipes help you clean your electronics and personal belongings on the go, which now more than ever is extremely important.

    SHOP WELL-KEPT: Screen Cleansing Towelettes, $6

  • 08 of 20


    2021 planner

     Rifle Paper Co

    With heavy hybrid plans where students are in the classroom and taking virtual classes from their dorms or from home, it's important to have a planner to keep due dates and class schedules straight. Being able to physically write down tasks helps ensure there aren't any missed classes or due dates. 

    SHOP RIFLE PAPER CO.: 2021 12-Month Softcover Spiral Planner, $26

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  • 09 of 20

    'Everything' Sanitizer

    Everyday Humans Hand Sanitizer

    Everyday Humans

    This is the only sanitizer necessary to carry around. The germ-zapping spray sanitizer cleans hands, disinfects surfaces, and refreshes your face masks. Made with natural, skin-nourishing ingredients like aloe vera leaf and green tea extract, skin won't feel sticky or dry. 

    SHOP EVERYDAY HUMANS: Germaphobe Hand & Surface Sanitizer, $8.50

  • 10 of 20

    Blue-Light Blocking Glasses

    Drew Barrymore wearing blue-light-blocking glasses


    College students spend a lot of time in front of screens, and with virtual classes, they need even more protection for their eyes from harmful blue light.  

    SHOP WALMART: FLOWER by Drew, Blue Light Computer Glasses, $19.94 

  • 11 of 20

    Single-Serve Coffee Maker

    Having a single-serve coffee maker in a dorm room is a great option these days so students can limit exposure to cafeterias and coffee shops. Given the compact design (it takes up only five inches on the countertop) and unique color options, students will love having coffee (or tea) at their fingertips at any time.

    SHOP KEURIG: K-Mini® Single Serve Coffee Maker, $79.99 

  • 12 of 20

    Reusable Coffee Cup

    Stojo collapsible reusable cup


    Reusable, collapsible, and dishwasher safe. Is there anything more than you need with a coffee cup? These cups help reduce waste on campus, and you always know that you’re drinking from a sanitized cup.  

    SHOP STOJO: 16 oz Cup, $20

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  • 13 of 20

    Reusable Multi-Use Silicone Bags

    Reusable silicone bags


    These silicone bags are reusable and highly functional. Students can store their face masks on the go, organize electronics, and use them for snacks in between classes.

    SHOP STASHER: Reusable Silicone Bags, $42.39

  • 14 of 20

    Compact Printer

    HP ENVY 6055 All-In-One Printer


    Handle school work from your dorm with print, scan, and copy versatility. The compact design fits on a desk without compromising too much space so students can avoid the library and common areas as much as possible.  

    SHOP TARGET: HP ENVY 6055 All-In-One Printer, $129 

  • 15 of 20

    Laundry Bag

    Large camouflage-print tote bag


    A laundry bag so great that kids might actually want to do laundry. This all-purpose tote is perfect for a college dorm room. It folds down for easy storage and can easily be wiped clean. Kids can easily toss their contaminated or outdoor clothes in it after classes and easily carry it to the laundry room. 

    SHOP SCOUT: 4 Boys Bag, Extra-Large Tote Bag, $58 

  • 16 of 20

    Air Purifier

    Air Purifier


    When you’re sharing a small dorm room with other people, you want to make sure you're not sharing germs. This air purifier captures up to 99% of airborne contaminants as small as 2 microns, giving you cleaner, fresher air. 

    SHOP HOMEDICS: TotalClean Desktop Air Purifier, $99.95

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  • 17 of 20

    Wall Art

    wall art that says "you can do the thing"


    Whether students are going away for school or staying at home, they’re going to want to make their space feel personal. Society6 has thousands of framed prints that they can use to express themselves and make their room feel more special.

    SHOP SOCIETY6: You Can Do The Thing Framed Art Print, $38.24

  • 18 of 20

    Smart Hub

    Google Nest Hub


    Stay connected with your students if they’re away at college. With voice recognition, students can get hear their daily events, commute, reminders, and place video calls to friends or family.

    SHOP TARGET: Google Nest Hub, $89.99

  • 19 of 20

    No-Touch Tool

    No-Touch Tool

    Sis Kiss

    This functional tool allows you to touch highly-trafficked surfaces like elevator pads, credit card pads, and open doors, without having to make direct contact. 

    SHOP THE SIS KISS: Hands-Free Keychains, $12

  • 20 of 20

    Snacks & Supplies

    With the chance of lockdowns on campus, bulk snacks and toiletries come in handy and lets students keep trips to cafes, school stores, and off-campus stores to a minimum.

    SHOP BOXED: Snacks, Drinks & Supplies, prices vary