Remote Learning & College School Supplies Buying Guide

Check off all your college essentials and school supplies in this buying guide for college students returning to school or doing remote learning

Twitter Facebook

Back-to-school season has returned for college students, and that means it’s time to talk college essentials and college supply lists. If you’ll be physically returning or limited to distance learning due to COVID-19, you’ll still need a shopping list for your school supplies. College student needs vary but this must-have list of college school supplies should get you up to speed. We’re covering everything from mechanical pencils to wireless headphones, flash drives and much more. Give it a read and start checking off college essentials.

Pencils, pens & erasers

In 2020, everyone at college uses a laptop, whether for writing papers, taking notes or signing in to the Zoom chat for some remote learning. Despite this heavy reliance on technology, it’s extremely important to stock up on writing utensils like pencils, mechanical pencils, pens and a few good erasers. If you’re a college freshman, your course load will be quite varied and many assignments may require a variety of tools aside from the ever-present laptop. Also, laptops are prone to running out of juice or even breaking and good, old-fashioned pens and pencils are a solid backup.

Spiral notebooks & lined paper

What’s the use of ballpoint pens and mechanical pencils without something to write on? Notebooks, usually one per class, are must-haves for ease of transport, simplified note-taking and value, whether you’ll be on campus or remote. No chargers necessary. Taking notes in an actual notebook from early on also ensures at least a basic level of organization. Also get some loose-leaf paper for another option.

Index cards

Flash cards are a time-tested and proven method for getting important facts into your brain in a hurry. Have index cards available so you can be ready for a last-minute study session.        


Textbooks aren’t just PDFs or online. Same goes for the books you’ll read in lit classes. A classic highlighter or two are vital study tools for remembering specific passages, marking up texts and organizing important information for that upcoming exam. That’s why we highly recommend having highlighters on hand. You’ll regret not having them for long reading assignments and much more. 

Post-its & sticky notes

We’re all about list and reminder apps on our smartphones but there’s something to be said for the tactile and tangible Post-it Notes. These mini reminders are the perfect solution for keeping your to-do list or individual tasks at top of mind without checking your iPhone. Also a good option for keeping track of account passwords. Either way, we highly recommend utilizing sticky notes  to help capture important info and tasks that tend to fall by the wayside.


A physical planner is a classic tool for any busy person, college students included. The act of writing down your schedule and important tasks helps commit things to your memory in a way that tech never achieves. A fully stacked planner gives you that sense of achievement that’ll help you handle all your growing responsibilities as a student. Plus, they come in cool styles, materials and aesthetics to please just about anyone.

Folders & binders

Other college school-supply essentials include binders and folders for keeping class hand-outs, printed items and other important documents organized and within reach. Digging around your home or dorm room (if you’ll be attending college in-person this semester) is a pain, so use folders or binders from day one to avoid this hassle.

Stapler, paper clips & tape dispenser

Office supply basics tend to align well with college school supplies, so make sure to grab a cheap stapler and staples, a couple boxes of paper clips and a tape dispenser just in case the need arises. Better to be prepared than to wander around your home or dorm building asking for tape.

Ruler & scissors

You never know what a college assignment will involve, especially if you’re entering your freshman year. The sheer variety of classes mean that you’ll likely need much more than a laptop, so keep scissors and a ruler handy should that need arise.

Calculator or scientific calculator

A smartphone won’t cut it for math and science classes, business classes, economics, accounting and more. That’s why it’s a must to have a calculator at the ready, and even better, a scientific calculator with advanced functions. Name-brand scientific calculators can get pricey, but there are other calculator options to help keep the cost down. 

Wite-Out & Krazy Glue

For mistakes on written notes, Wite-Out is a great option for removing errors minus the mess. A bottle of this mistake remover will go a long way. For minor dorm room repairs and all-purpose use, also consider keeping some Krazy Glue around.

USB flash drive

Don’t head off to college (or start your remote learning) without a flash drive. It’s a super simple way to transport and backup data and important papers and they are very cheap. This technology is common now and flash drives with even hundreds of gigs of storage up to 1TB are available—usually on a key chain so students can attach them to their lanyard or bookbag to always have handy. 

Charging cables, wireless chargers, adapters & batteries

It goes without saying that charger adapters and charging cables for electronic devices are vital for all college students. It’s wise to grab a few extras, as many students will use a small collection of tech devices: tablets, smartphones, laptops, wireless headphones and more. We know your charger cables are looking a bit rough from constant use (ours too), so backups are necessary.

Thankfully there are more affordable chargers and non-name brand Lightning cables to choose from. The same goes for wireless chargers, which can add convenience to your set of standard desk chargers. Also, you can’t survive a semester without a stack of batteries for all your stuff. Grab AAs and AAAs to cover the most commonly used types or opt for some of the longer-lasting battery types.

Wireless earbuds or wireless headphones

Whether you need to fit in a refreshing, pre-class run or a visit to the gym to get your busy day moving, your fave playlist is a great mood booster and source of inspiration. Bring that inspiration along with either wireless headphones or earbuds and forget the limits of cords. The great news is that you don’t need to drop a few hundred bucks, as wireless technology has become ubiquitous and affordable across the tech industry.

Welcome back!

As you prepare for the new school year, whether it’s in-person or remote, Gopuff is here to deliver just about any college essential you need, including many presented in the above school-supply list. Don’t forget we’ve also got a large selection of energy drinks, snacks and over-the-counter medications to keep you motivated and healthy this semester.

Essentialsback to school college guides
Order in Seconds,
Delivered in Minutes.
Daily essentials straight to your door.
Start Shopping