The scent of a fresh, new semester is in the air! That means your students are now getting their school supplies together for the next year. Besides the usual list of backpack essentials, there are other supplies that will help them get through the year.

And sometimes it’s those items that aren’t obvious that can be the most useful. Share these helpful hints for back-to-school prep with your students.

College-specific mobile apps

More and more colleges are now developing mobile-apps just for their students and campus. You can use these to access campus news, events, maps, bus schedules, and even safety announcements.

Check to see if your school has a mobile app and download it to stay in-the-know.


Paper maps. Yes, really. Printed campus maps can be life-savers for the first week of classes while you’re still getting your barrings with building layouts.

Additionally, for students with vehicles, state and local maps are good to have in the car for emergencies. You may prefer your GPS and Google Maps, but a print map will save you a lot of trouble if you happen to get lost while your phone or GPS is dead or without signal.

College success books

These are the very types of books that many of us regret not taking the time to read during our college careers. But they can truly help college students of all ages get and stay on track to achieving their goals.

CengageBrain has a number of college success books such as our FOCUS on College Success series by author Constance C. Staley or Student Success in College: Doing What Works!, by author Christine Harrington.

You can also stop by you book store or campus library and ask what is recommended, or ask your guidance counselor to help you find a helpful book unique to your needs.


Save your back and some trees by using an e-reader for classes that offer digital textbooks and study materials. Depending on your study habits and preferences, there’s benefits for everyone:

  • save money on textbooks
  • highlight and bookmark pages
  • device can read homework aloud
  • easy access to web browser


No, not for your breath. Mint is a personal finance app that lets you look at your bank, investment and credit card accounts and student loans. Mint can help you by tracking spending, putting purchases into categories, and sending an alert as you near your budget limit. Win, win, win.

For more helpful hints on how to start the school year off on the right foot, visit CengageBrain‘s post, “A guide to an amazing college experience.”

What tools do you think students can’t go back to school without? Share your ideas below.