The transition from high school to college is a big change for students. Moving away from home for the first time to live alone or with a roommate is a scary adjustment for many teens—even if they won’t admit it. Dormitories are generally small, cramped spaces that teach college students not only how to coexist with others, but also how to live independently. Unlike high school, there is no one there to remind them to do their homework, no one to prepare all of their meals, and no one to do their laundry when dirty clothes pile up.

While all of those life-lessons are out of parents’ hands once their students is all moved in, giving them the tools to set up a productive habitat can be accomplished through just a few trips to Best Buy and Target. Let’s break down how to set a dorm room up for success, including which essential productivity gadgets should be on your college shopping list.

Powerful technology

Even though there are experts out there who can assist with the process, trying to find the perfect computer or best printer for college students is a task that requires a lot of research and careful consideration. The goal is to purchase high-quality technology that will last the duration of the student’s study without breaking the bank. Fortunately in the computer world, most processors have no issue lasting four-plus years. However, in order to pin down the best tech for your student, you should have a good idea of what they will be using the computer for most. Simple typewriting and file storage can be done on a bare-bones Chromebook, but high definition photo editing and image manipulation should be done on a wide touch screen with advanced graphics. Laptops are the best option when it comes to portability— toting tech to class and back should be lightweight and painless—but having an additional monitor stationed at a desk could boost productivity by allowing for more screen space.

Proper lighting

In a perfect world, all studying would be completed in the library where the ambiance is always perfect, but the reality is that most students will study in the comfort of their own dorm room. Another reality is that dorm rooms aren’t always equipped with the most inspiring lighting. Research has shown that cool-white fluorescent lighting causes bodily stress and hyper-activity that leads to poor learning performance—so your student deserves a break from those terrible classroom lights! Equip them with a lamp by their desk with warm-yellow light which creates a better learning environment and allows them to study smarter with less stress.

Designated organizers

College students usually have a full load when it comes to classes. Taking four to seven per semester on average, the paper work can pile up in a matter of days. One of the easiest ways to get organized (and stay organized!) is by having designated spaces for all paper, materials, technology, and more. If the desk is the only surface in the dorm, the chances of it becoming cluttered quickly are very likely—it’s just human nature to want to set things down the first place we see. However, it’s difficult to focus when the space around you is cramped and chaotic. Purchasing extra shelving or desk organizers to place on the surface will help keep it clear and ready for work.

Space-saving furniture

Bed risers have become one of the most popular college shopping list items, and for good reason. Being able to raise that twin XL bed up a few inches higher allows more space under the bed for extra storage. The more organized a room looks and feels, the more productive and distraction-free a student will be able to function in that room. Since dorms are generally tight on space, being able to save space will allow for more breathing room. A cluttered room leads to a cluttered mind, and no student can set themselves up for success with either.

No dorm room is perfect, but aiming for perfection is the first step to making the ideal study space a reality. For students, college is about finding themselves and following their academic dreams. Turn that dream into actuality by proper furnishing and thoughtful purchasing.

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