College Tech Essentials Students Will Actually Use

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Have you been looking for the best college tech essentials? These are the top picks you’ll actually use and love!

When it comes to college planning the college tech essentials should be at the top of the list. Without these, you will not have a successful college experience.

While you won’t need everything on this list there are quite a few you will want.

When my daughter went to college at Hawai’i Pacific University last year she took many items from here and is happy she did.

Now that it’s that time of year for the college planning to begin, I thought I’d update the list with a few more favorites.

I hope this helps anyone going through this process right now.

This post is all about the college tech essentials your freshman can’t live without.

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College Tech Essentials 2023

college tech essentials collage

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1. Apple MacBook Air // 2. USB-C to USB Adapter // 3. USB-C Charge Cable // 4. Power Adapter Extension Cable // 5. Apple AirPods Pro // 6. iPad // 7. Apple Pencil // 8. Smart Keyboard // 9. Power Strip Tower // 10. Wireless Portable Charger // 11. iPhone Charger // 12. Wireless Charger Station // 13. Apple Watch // 14. Echo Dot // 15. Echo Show // 16. Portable Bluetooth Speaker // 17. Laptop Lock // 18. FitBit // 19. HDMI Cable // 20. Fire TV Stick // 21. Digital Alarm Clock // 22. Flash Drive // 23. External Portable Hard Drive

If you missed the previous Dorm Room Posts click the link to check THEM out.

Computer-Related College Tech Essentials

1. The Apple Laptop is a must!

Apple Laptop

Apple usually has a deal for students in the summer so be on the lookout.

Last year the deal was Buy a Mac. Get AirPods on us.**
Or choose to upgrade to AirPods Pro.

They also have where you can pay for your new Mac over 12 months at 0% APR with the Apple Card.

Just apply for Apple Card Monthly Installments when you check out. Learn more >

For my daughter, we purchased the MacBook Air shown above.

If you are taking a creative major look into the MacBook Pro. It is more powerful especially when you work in the Adobe Creative Suite programs.

Laptop protection

Apple Laptop case

This clear case is awesome because you can see the color of the laptop. My daughter’s laptop is rose gold so the clear case is perfect. There are many college essentials you’ll need to get and this is one of them.

What is the point of the fancy color if no one can see it?

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2. Adapter Laptop Essentials

college tech essentials laptop adapter

This USB-C TO USB adapter is another must-have. It allows you to connect any USB device to your laptop.

Without it, you can not connect to a USB so it’s super useful.

3. USB-C Charge Cable (2m)

college tech essentials usb-c charger

You’ll need this for charging and transferring data between USB-C devices. I know there are so many attachments.

Apple is very smart! They always create new products that don’t work with the old equipment so you have no choice but to buy more.

4. Extension Cable

college tech essentials extension cord

Dorm rooms have a limited number of outlets and they are not always close to where you need them.

That said having a MacBook adapter extension cable is a laptop essential that will come in handy!


Laptop Lock College Essentials

Apple Laptop lock

This is perfect to keep your laptop safe. It’s not something we like to think about but safety is a must!

It’s super important for college students to keep their personal belongings safe and secure.

22. Flash Drive

flash drive

Your student may not think they need a flash drive but it’s important to back up your important work. You never know what will happen and these small USB backups are great.

There are different storage options available depending on your needs.

23. Rugged Mini 2TB External Hard Portable Drive 

External Hard Portable Drive

This is a larger version of the flash drive above. It’s perfect for creative majors with larger files to back up. Better safe than sorry when it comes to saving all your hard work.

Music Related College Technology Essentials

5. Airpods

apple airpods

Not all new Apple products are the most desired. Take these AirPods for example. My husband loves them and my daughter hates them.

She prefers the classic AirPods over the fancy latest version.

14. Echo Dot

echo dot

This is an awesome speaker for college freshmen. It plays music and will talk to you if you have a question.

15. Echo Show

echo show

There will be times when you want to talk with a video. Even though you have Facetime on your phone this is an awesome option as well.

Our family loves to chat over our Echo Show.

16. Portable Speaker

Portable Speaker

This is by far the BEST waterproof speaker on the market. My daughter stole this from my husband and gave him her old one.

It’s perfect for in the shower, around the dorm room, and at the beach!

Tech Essentials For Telling Time

13. Apple Watch

college tech essentials apple watch with white band

This is a must-have college student tech essential for college students. You can use it for so many awesome features!

It shows not only the time but it’s connected to your phone so you can send a quick reply no matter where you are.

There are also so many pretty bands to show off your personality.

Apple Watch Band

Apple Watch Band

Check out this floral watchband or one of the other seven printed options. They’re super cute!

18. FitBit


For those who are all about fitness, the Fitbit is for you! You can use it to track your progress as you run or work out.

21. Alarm Clock

alarm clock

Sometimes simple is better and you can never go wrong with a classic alarm clock.

They say to keep your phone in another room so you are not tempted to use it when you wake up in the middle of the night.

It also should not be the first thing you go to in the morning but for many it is.

Artist Tech College Essentials

6. iPad Pro

college tech essentials ipad pro

There are so many features available with the iPad Pro. It’s almost the same as what you can do on a computer.

You can even draw on Photoshop and use it as a creative art tool.

College freshmen may not “need” this but it is a cool extra. Perfect for art majors as well.

8. Keyboard for iPad

college tech essentials keyboard for ipad

Add the keyboard feature and it’s just like working on a computer which is awesome!

7. Apple Pencil

college tech essentials apple pencil

If you are the artsy type be sure to add the fancy pencil. It is great for drawing.

Charging Essentials

9. Surge Protector Power Strip

Surge Protector Power Strip

The perfect stand-up surge protector because you can never have too many outlets.

Other outlet options depend on your needs and the rules of your college. You’ll want to double-check what is allowed.

Each college tends to have different rules when it comes to surge protectors.

10. Portable Charger

Portable Charger

Always keep your phone fully charged with this portable backup charger. It is great for when you are on the go.

Just remember to charge the backup charger!

12. Wireless Charging Station

Wireless Charging Station

The perfect contraption for charging multiple devices at once.

Every college student needs this in their life!

11. 10″ Charger


Since you never know how far you’ll be from an outlet having a long charging cord is a must in college.

According to my daughter anyway!

TV College Tech Essentials

20. Fire Stick

Fire Stick

TV-related products last because so many students watch Netflix on their phones, laptops, or iPads.

If you are still a TV watcher then a Firestick is a MUST HAVE!

19. HDMI Cable

HDMI Cable

You will need an HDMI cable to hook up the TV to Netflix so get this too!

I know this was a lot and NO not every single thing is needed. The purpose of this list is to give you an idea of all the things you’ll want to consider.

It’s also so everything is in one spot and don’t have to search all over the internet for each college tech essential separately.

I hope this was helpful and inspiring as you go through your college planning journey.

This post is all about the college tech essentials your freshman can’t live without.

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Last Updated on March 15, 2024 by Nicole DelaCruz

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