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What you actually need for uni

2nd year Marketing and Management student Becky gives her tips on what you’ll actually need to pack for uni.

There’s a lot of lists of what you need to have while at University, and while some of these are fairly accurate I thought maybe hearing from an actual student might be better. As I’m a Marketing student I definitely need less things while learning than some, an example is any art-based course but I need think most courses will be very similar to mine with how much you need.

I think one thing is you don’t need to buy a whole Paperchase collection, and most of the things you need are fairly cheap and easy to get so instead of buying that cute floral pen buy a pack of 10 plain ones for half the price. Here’s some pointers to what you should have for uni:


You definitely need a laptop for uni as your work is expected to be typed and printed and having to find a computer every single time you need to do either of these will be a bit of a hassle.

A light one that you can easily transport is good as you can take it to group meetings and also seminars. Personally I didn’t take my laptop to lectures (I get distracted easy) but I know a lot of people who did take notes straight onto theirs.

Also, most lecturers will upload lecture slides and some have started to do recorded sessions which are uploaded to the university’s online portal.

Paper and pen (maybe a folder)

I would recommend taking notes on paper as it’s a lot less likely to distract you, you can either use the refillable pads of paper and sort them into a folder when you’re back in your room – make sure you have different sections.

You could buy multiple notebooks – one for each module (which is what I did – try Clas Ohlsen for good notebooks). Or buy a sectioned notebook with each section a different module.

Memory stick

This is a no brainer for when you want to work in the library or if you need to print from a university computer as you’ll need to move your documents between the computers. I don’t recommend buying a printer as it’s probably cheaper using the uni printers.

Highlighters and post-it notes

Always good for revision, I also used post-its for reminding myself of deadlines or tasks I needed to do.

Pen pot for desk

A plastic container or mug will be fine for this – you don’t need a lot of stationary but you do want a place to keep spares where it’s easy to find.

Scissors, hole punch and stapler

Kitchen scissors or nail scissors will do to open packaging or remove tags. A hole punch is useful if using a folder and you need a stapler to keep assignments together when handing in.


Check if any of your modules have any maths at all in them as you may need a calculator just in case, I know a lot of people who didn’t have one and had to borrow from people on different courses last minute and you don’t need the stress of that. Also you need one that your university allows in exams so check on your uni website to find out.


Even if it’s just monthly print outs or an A5 diary you need somewhere to write down your deadlines and exams so you can see how much time you have to do them. I keep mine on my desk so I can see it every day.


Most textbooks will be freely available in the library BUT if your module depends solely on one textbook and you have an exam for the module it might be best to buy a copy for revision purposes (You will probably realise whether a textbook is actually important by Christmas – most of my book list last year I only needed once and it’s not worth buying them all).

Remember to shop around in second hand stores and on Amazon to find textbooks cheaper.

I also really recommend using RefMe to create your reference lists for assignments – with this you don’t need to learn how to reference and using this means you don’t have to spend ages at the end finding and referencing all your work.

This post originally appeared on Becky’s blog Uptown Oracle.

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