Back to School Accessories for College Students

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Back to School Accessories for College Students

Big transitions, like leaving for school, can be difficult for many of us. But with the right products, you can bring the creature comforts and security of home to college. As anticipation for the new academic year mounts, consider some of our suggestions as potential parting gifts to ensure the college student in your life is set up for success. 

The Basics

In many of today’s courses, especially for students interacting with storage-demanding multimedia, a hard drive is considered a necessity. For new students, a good storage device can easily last through your academic career and beyond. This is true of many college accessories, which is why investing in quality products at the start is worthwhile.

LaCie 5TB Rugged External Hard Drive

LaCie’s External Hard Drive is a choice option for college students for several reasons. The first and foremost is its durable exterior that can handle the hustle and bustle of college life. In classic LaCie fashion, the bright orange color is easy to find in a backpack or dorm. With strong drop, crush, and rain resistance, this hard drive is a smart gift for an accident-prone college student.

LaCie 5TB Rugged USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C External Hard Drive
LaCie 5TB Rugged USB 3.1 Gen 1 Type-C External Hard Drive

Also notable are its fast transfer speeds of up to 130 MB/s and broad compatibility across the operating systems you can expect to encounter at school. Offering a good price-to-terabyte ratio, this hard drive is a cost-effective option to consider for a college student who can benefit from that staple LaCie ruggedness.

Samsung 1TB T7 Portable SSD

Alternatively, Samsung offers the T7—a credit-card-sized SSD for students who value security over durability. SSDs are different from hard drives in that they are smaller, faster, and quieter. Equipped with 256-bit AES encryption and password protection, students can breathe easy if they accidentally forget this gadget somewhere or live with nosy roommates.

Samsung 1TB T7 Portable SSD
Samsung 1TB T7 Portable SSD

This teeny SSD features a stylish aluminum hard case and stays quiet during extended use. Because of this, the T7 is a great option for students who work in recording studios or on production sets where a noisy hard drive might ruin the footage.

Read More: The Best External Hard Drives and SSDs of 2023

PNY Turbo Attaché Flash Drive

You can never have too many storage options as a college student. Sometimes, you might think you don’t need your hard drive or SSD and find yourself in a situation where you wish you had something to quickly save a file. This is where a small USB flash drive like PNY’s Turbo Attaché comes in handy.

PNY 64GB Turbo Attaché 3 USB 3.0 Flash Drive
PNY 64GB Turbo Attaché 3 USB 3.0 Flash Drive

These nifty devices feature a sliding collar cap to protect the connector while it is not in use. Covering a range of storage capacities, these flash drives are available in multi-pack configurations, so your student never runs out. Keep one in every bag just in case or give one to a friend in need. You really can’t go wrong with having a bunch of these little guys on hand.

SanDisk Multi Card Reader

If your college student is pursuing a creative discipline like photography or videography, chances are they are going to need a card reader. In fact, maybe spring for a Multi Card Reader from SanDisk and cover all your bases.

SanDisk Professional PRO-READER Multi Card Reader
SanDisk Professional PRO-READER Multi Card Reader

This reader features one SDXC card slot, one microSDXC card slot, and one CompactFlash card slot. Encased in aluminum, this reader is designed to stay cool even while doing multiple unloads simultaneously, protecting your precious media. The included USB-C cable means this accessory is Mac ready and handy for the many laptops today that no longer have their own built-in card readers.

PGYTECH OneMo Backpack

Likewise, a photography or videography student can benefit from a comfortable, durable, everyday bag that can carry everything. Specifically for students who use their cameras daily, we like PGYTECH’s OneMo Backpack.

PGYTECH OneMo Backpack 25L
PGYTECH OneMo Backpack 25L

This modular backpack comes with several dividers that can be configured to suit a variety of packing needs for photography gear and beyond. Remove the dividers for a standard bag, or add them in to segment your clothes, books, and tech.

The included waterproof cover is handy and will save your giftee some grief if they get caught in the rain. Especially if you are borrowing gear from your university, a functional, waterproof bag like this is essential.

Pelican MPD40

A weekend bag is also handy for college. Whether you just need a big bag to carry a lot of stuff, or are going on a short trip, Pelican’s MPD40 will cover your bases. With a spacious primary compartment and plenty of additional pockets for storing gear like a laptop, this duffle can accommodate all kinds of gear.

Pelican MPD40 40L Duffel
Pelican MPD40 40L Duffel

The water-resistant coating provides additional insurance just in case your college student is caught in the rain. We also like the reflective pattern for safer traveling at night. Comfortable, simple, and functional, the MPD40 is a great middle ground between a regular backpack and a pricey suitcase.

APC SurgeArrest

Surge protectors are a must-have for new college students. In fact, some campuses will confiscate unprotected extension cords that they consider fire hazards. To avoid this fate entirely, consider APC’s reliable SurgeArrest.

APC Home Office SurgeArrest 8-Outlet Surge Protector
APC Home Office SurgeArrest 8-Outlet Surge Protector

This device utilizes fail-safe detection features to protect its user and connected devices immediately from dangerous power surges and spikes. It can also detect faulty wiring and alerts the user via the built-in LED light.

Available in 8- and 12-outlet configurations, as well as with optional USB charging ports, this device can accommodate pretty much anything a college student can dish out. Three outlets are spaced to fit larger transformer plugs, so you don’t have to worry about switching things around to make everything fit. While it might not be the flashiest gift, your college student will thank you for saving them a trip to the store and a whole lot of heartache if the power spikes. 

Lifestyle Upgrades

The basics are all well and good, but your college student might already have most, if not all, of these products. There are plenty of useful peripherals and accessories designed to make the average college day more enjoyable. Whether your student is in a lecture, at the dorm, or in the library, these gifts are sure to please. 

Ergotron LX Desk Mount Monitor Arm

If your college student has a monitor they really like, Ergotron’s LX Monitor Arm is one of the best gifts you can give them. This articulating arm supports displays up to 34" and a maximum weight of 25 lb, so make sure to check with your giftee for compatibility first.

Ergotron LX Desk Mount Monitor Arm
Ergotron LX Desk Mount Monitor Arm

With several mounting options and integrated cable management, this accessory is incredibly easy to assemble and travels well. For a student moving to a small dorm, a monitor arm is a great way to maximize desk space, and even increase the usability of a monitor as a workstation and an entertainment configuration.

Available in matte black, white, and polished aluminum, this stylish arm will keep your college student’s precious monitor functional and out of the way.

Read More: Creating an Ideal Desk Setup for Small Spaces

Logitech MX Master 3S

Speaking of desktop setups, your college student might benefit from a comfortable, ergonomic mouse like the MX Master 3S. This stylish mouse features a slight tilt to mimic the natural posture of your hand and wrist, alleviating fatigue and strain. The shortcut buttons, precise clicks, and MagSpeed scroll wheel work together to make quick, enjoyable work of any task.

Logitech MX Master 3S Wireless Mouse
Logitech MX Master 3S Wireless Mouse

While this mouse is well-suited for students working with large files or executing repetitive tasks, virtually anyone can benefit from what it brings to the table. Plus, its wireless connectivity makes the MX Master 3S a peripheral that can easily be carried to class and used with other computers. 

SHAPE Smartphone Tripod

For a homesick or first-time college student, FaceTime will likely be a lifeline for at least the first semester. Make those long calls a little more comfortable with an accessory like SHAPE’s Smartphone Tripod.

SHAPE Smartphone Tripod and Selfie Grip with Ball Head
SHAPE Smartphone Tripod and Selfie Grip with Ball Head

This universal tripod supports 360° rotation for convenient angling whether you are using it to film in the field or as a basic stand. The tripod is compactable and can be used to hold a phone more comfortably for long periods of time.

Of course, this tripod has plenty of practical applications. The built-in thread mount is handy if your giftee has an accessory like a light or a microphone that they want to mount instead, making this a great option for a current or future content creator. Sturdy and practical, this accessory is handy for keeping your phone in a safe place while studying, following a recipe, or capturing a video with friends. 

Fun Stuff

Winding down our list we have a few products that are just plain fun. College is about work, but it is also about connecting with your peers and making memories, which we have kept in mind for our final suggestions.

JBL Clip 4 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

College students who enjoy blasting their music should consider JBL’s Clip 4. This hardy portable speaker features a built-in carabiner clip to attach onto basically anything.

JBL Clip 4 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
JBL Clip 4 Portable Bluetooth Speaker

This is a choice accessory for students who plan to bike or skate to class, because it allows them to enjoy their tunes while remaining aware of their surroundings. It also sports an impressive IP67 rating, meaning that it is both dust- and waterproof, for when a student gets caught in some inclement weather.

With a 10-hour battery life, lightweight body, and seamless Bluetooth connectivity, the Clip 4 is sure to be a favorite for incoming college students. 

FUJIFILM INSTAX MINI 40 Instant Film Camera

FUJIFILM’s ubiquitous INSTAX is a favorite for parties and hangouts. We happen to like the brand’s MINI 40 for its sleek, stylish body and functionality. This camera produces credit card-sized prints and works well in low light, thanks to the built-in flash.

FUJIFILM INSTAX MINI 40 Instant Film Camera
FUJIFILM INSTAX MINI 40 Instant Film Camera

Handy functions like Selfie Mode make taking selfie photos with friends easier than with other cameras. With auto exposure and auto shutter speed doing most of the legwork, this camera is a great entry point for students who might be interested in getting into film photography.

It will quickly become a favorite for students looking to capture memories with their friends. All you need is some film and maybe a scanner to digitize your snaps and share them with everyone!

Do you have any college essential recommendations? Which tech gear do you wish you had brought to college? We would like to hear all about it in the Comments section, below.

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