School Supply Check List for Teen, Tween and College Students

Every desk/study area needs to have the following supplies.  The High School and Middle School Supplies are think are different than elementary school back to school shopping trips.

This is the list I go through with my clients:

The Basics

-Pencil Sharpener (if you have those kinds of pencils)
-Lead (if you have those kinds of pencils)
-Correction fluid or tape
-Crayons/Markers/Colored Pencils (one basic set for school projects that will not be used for crafts)
-Stapler and Staples
-Hole Puncher (a bigger one that can do more than 3 sheets at a time)
-Paper clips
-Rubber Bands
-Index Cards (in three or four colors)
-Post-it Notes
-White Paper
-Lined Paper
-Pencil case for school (get a soft one, not a hard case)
-Book stand* (can get this anywhere and it will save your kid’s necks and shoulders)
-Inbox/Outbox* (This will not work on every desk, but find it is a helpful place to put all ‘need to deal with’ papers, and you can go through it with them every week or so)
-Blank CDs

-External Hardrive

-Poly Pocket Folders
-Sheet Protectors

Class Supplies

This really depends on your child’s class schedule, but here are the basics:

-Paper folders

Optional, but Helpful School Supplies You Might Forget

-Book Covers
-Bulletin Board and Push pins
-Drawer organizer
-Lined pads of paper
-Report covers
-Poster Board (If they have a place to keep it, I find there are always last minute projects that need poster board)
-Desk calendar (talk to them about desk calendar vs computer calendar vs planner—later this lesson).
-Doodle Notebook
-Graph paper

Remember there are usually lots of coupons in local papers and watch for the sales.  I also try to go once two week before school starts and get everything I can and then once right after school starts.  This way your local office supply store will not run out of anything before you go.

4 Responses to “School Supply Check List for Teen, Tween and College Students”

  1. Leonard
    August 16, 2008 at 1:34 pm #

    Go green and save money on book covers-make your own. Almost all middle school/high school books need to be covered. Using a brown paper bag is recycling and inexpensive. Full instructions can be found on wikihow (

    Good luck, everyone!

    Leonard (Sophmore in High School)

  2. Christian Kennedy
    July 10, 2009 at 10:32 am #

    Jump drive and Mp3 recorder

  3. Cheryl Holmes- Tween Gifts
    October 13, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

    Things sure have changed a lot since I was in school! Just a few years ago all that was needed were a few pencils, pens, and a couple of spiral notebooks.


  1. Cedar Valley Publishing » Guest Post from Vanessa Van Petten: School Supply Checklists - September 3, 2008

    […] Vanessa Van Petten wrote a parenting book when she was 17, called “You’re Grounded!” and is now on a national speaking tour, reaching out to both parents and teenagers about how to cope and thrive as young people today.  She is also working as a popular young parenting coach in California. Her daily blog, is read by hundreds of teens and parents daily.  She was featured on CBS 4 Miami and Fox 5 New York and has been in the Wall Street Journal, the Santa Monica Daily Press, Atlanta Insite Magazine and the World Journal.  She has been an expert on KBUR, WCOJ Philadelphia and more for giving a young perspective on awesome parenting. Original Article here ( […]

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