10 Things You Need for College in the Northeast

The Northeast is a popular place to go for college, especially New England. If you're planning to spend the next four years in the area, here are 10 things you definitely need.

If you’re planning on attending one of the almost 250 institutions of higher education in the Northeast and you’re not a local, you probably have some questions about packing. Will it be cold or hot? Will I need a coat? How about a sweater? Flip flops or galoshes? The answer to all of those questions is yes. Beautiful sun, unrelenting winds, humidity, snowstorms, and torrential downpours all await you in the Northeast. You might experience all of that in one day! But don’t let that scare you. If you pack properly, a four-year stint in the Northeast will be no sweat. (Metaphorically—you will actually sweat.)

1. Sturdy boots

There’s a reason you’ll see most native New Englanders rocking some Tims or Bean Boots all year round. With wet leaves in the fall, ice in the winter, and mud season—sorry, “spring”—you need a good pair of boots that can withstand all the elements. Find boots made of heavy-duty material that won’t soak easily, and make sure they have a good tread so you spend less time on your butt in the winter. Invest in a sturdy pair your first year and they’ll last you for all four—and beyond, if you decide to stick around!

2. Hoodies

There’s a lot of in-between weather in the Northeast, where it’s not cold enough for a jacket but not hot enough to walk around in just a T-shirt. Enter sweatshirts. Any type of sweatshirt is recommended, from a cozy fleece to a sporty quarter-zip to the enviable fleece lined. Hoodies are pretty commonplace because the wind can be pretty strong sometimes, even in the summer, and hoodies do a great job of blocking it. Also, they’re super comfy on cool summer nights when you’re chilling outside with your friends.

3. Camera

There’s a reason people make pilgrimages to the Northeast: it’s really pretty. Like, really pretty. If you don’t plan to spend four years taking artsy pictures of that one perfect maple tree or your friend drinking coffee while bundled against the snow, you’ve got another thing coming. There are so many Instagram-able things to see and do up North, you’ll want to capture them all.

Related: The College Student’s Ultimate Bucket List

4. Scarves/bandanas

It gets pretty darn cold here in the winter, especially if you’re going to a school further up north. (Here’s looking at you, University of Maine and Champlain University!) If you think a jacket and some gloves are going to cut it, you’re wrong. You should cover your face when you go outside if the temperature is in the negatives (and it will be). Stock up on scarves or bandanas to cover your mouth and nose, especially if you plan to participate in any winter sports like skiing or snowboarding.

5. Blankets

Honestly, most colleges in the Northeast are super old; some are older than the country old. That means a lot of campus buildings are pretty old too, and they’ve definitely gone through plenty of renovations and new construction, but they still tend to be pretty drafty. So bring plenty of blankets to snuggle under in your dorm.

6. Flannel

No, not all New Englanders are lumbersexual hipsters or the Brawny Paper Towel mascot. We’re a region of people who like to be comfortable. Have you ever worn a flannel shirt? There’s literally nothing better. And it’s not limited to shirts. Flannel pajamas are even more amazing! And flannel sheets? You can skip all the extra blankets if you’re using those bad boys.

Related: A List of the Most Important Things to Bring to College

7. Bathing suit

There’s a pretty good chance that your school won’t have a pool, and congratulations if it does, but there are plenty of lakes and beaches in the Northeast for you to enjoy anyway. If you get to stick around for the summer, get ready to check out some pretty beach areas, spend your days at the lake, or hike to some gorgeous waterfalls.

If you’re lucky, one of your friends will even have a place on Winnipesaukee, down the Cape, in Newport, or somewhere along the coast of Maine. And maybe if you’re super nice, they’ll invite you to spend a nice weekend there. Those are the friends you keep forever.

8. Raincoat

Rain is romantic in movies and when you get to watch it fall from inside your dorm, snuggled up with a good book and a hot cup of tea. But that’s not how most of those rainy days will be spent. You still have to go to class, and if you walk around in just a sweatshirt when it’s pouring out, you’ll get soaked and catch pneumonia. Okay, pneumonia isn’t guaranteed, but it won’t be pleasant. So pack a raincoat, or an umbrella at least.  

9. Layers

Just like onions and ogres, New Englanders have layers. Not emotionally—physically! Mark Twain wasn’t kidding when he said, “If you don’t like New England weather, wait a few minutes.”

We’ve already talked about the wind and the rain, but the temperature can also turn hot or cold in the blink of an eye. You might walk around in the morning wearing shorts and need a jacket by the afternoon, or vice versa. Rule #1: never trust the weathermen. They’re often totally wrong about the forecast because of how unpredictable the weather can be in the Northeast. Layer-able clothing is a must.

10. Adventurous attitude

Kayaking, skiing, hiking, canoeing, swimming, sledding—fun adventures are around every corner up North. Whether you take a day trip to Rhode Island just to try a coffee milk or a weekend camping trip in the Berkshires, there are plenty of fun things to do across the region. So bring your sense of adventure and not just your Netflix password.

Check out your Northeast college options with our College Search tool.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now


About Kara E. Joyce

Kara E. Joyce is an editor and writer who frequently contributes to CollegeXpress. When she isn’t hunched over editing material, you can find her powerlifting in the gym, pirouetting in a dance studio, or planning her next adventure.


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Caitlin Eaton

Caitlin Eaton

$10,000 Scholarship Winner, 2021

I first discovered CollegeXpress during my sophomore year of high school while researching colleges that interested me. My SAT prep class the following year further familiarized me with the opportunities available through the organization. CX has personally helped me by exposing me to a diverse selection of schools as well as scholarships and life tips that have provided valuable guidance in my college search.

This scholarship will help me adjust to college life without worrying as much about tuition. This gives me more room to truly explore and benefit from all aspects of higher education. I plan to study Conservation Biology and work protecting species/ecosystems. I’m looking forward to getting field experience and seeing firsthand the problems research is solving.

Kyla McClain

Kyla McClain

High School Class of 2024

I found CollegeXpress when you partnered with Bold.org for a scholarship. I found your website, put my information in, and got connected. I only wanted to stay in North Carolina [for college] and not move far from home, but you all opened a door up for me. I started researching colleges you suggested for me. On your social media platforms, you also give really good test-taking tips that I used and suggested others to do the same. It helped me a lot on my exams, so thank you.

Lexie Knutson

Lexie Knutson

High School Class of 2021

This whole website has helped me overcome the attitude I had before. I was scared to even approach the thought of college because it was so much. I knew it wasn’t just a few easy steps, and I panicked mostly, instead of actually trying. Without realizing it, CollegeXpress did exactly what I usually do when I panic, which is take it one step at a time. With college I forget that because it’s more than just a small to-do list, but this website was really helpful and overall amazing. So thank you!



High School Class of 2023

Being a sophomore in high school, I never really worried about college. I thought it wasn't important to worry about until senior year. Through this program opportunity I came across, I realized how important it is to start looking at colleges early and start planning ahead. CollegeXpress has opened my eyes to what colleges require, what colleges are near me, and what they offer. The daily emails I get from CollegeXpress really help me look at the different options I have and what colleges I fit into. Without this website, I would not be taking the time out of my day to worry about what my future will be nor what opportunities I have. I could not be more grateful for such an amazing and useful website. It's thanks to CollegeXpress that not only me but my family now know how much potential I have in to getting into these colleges/universities that we thought were out of my reach.

Sierra Carranza

Sierra Carranza

High School Class of 2022

I had absolutely no idea where I wanted to go to school; I was considering colleges in almost every state. CollegeXpress was an amazing resource and helped me compare all of my top schools. Without the help of CollegeXpress, I probably wouldn't have made such an informed and confident decision.

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Dean College

Franklin, MA