Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions & answers about our site.

Where do you get the item recommendations?

We always start our item recommendations with your school’s official list of recommended supplies. We include links to your school’s official list (in the Sources section of the school page) as well as the schools’s housing home page and IT recommendations – you can always reference those sources directly. After the official stuff, we add supplies that we’ve collected from other sources around the web. Combining the two gives a robust list of supplies.

What other sources do you use to recommend items?

In addition to your school’s official list, we search the web for blog articles and forums with ideas for first year college students. We’ll also pull ideas from other school lists. Getting many perspectives help to give a complete picture.

Do I need to buy everything you recommend?

Absolutely not! Our lists are here to give you ideas. It can be overwhelming when your parents ask you what you need for college and you’re staring at a simple flyer that the school mailed you. We give suggestions and you need to think about what kind of first year experience you want and what fits with your personality. Also, remember that you can always come back to Campus Arrival a few months after school starts and pick up some more items.

How do you select the specific product recommendations?

For all of the items, we will search the product reviews and only recommend items with positive reviews. For small or simple items, that’s usually enough. For more expensive or complex items, we research the item from multiple sources and read the reviews more carefully. For laptops specifically, we rely heavily on CNET and also consider Amazon reviews and sometimes other laptop review sites. We also look at the industry and make sure an item recommendation will last all four years of college.

What about care packages?

Throughout the year, we’ll recommend care packages that are tailored to the time of year – for example, midterms, Halloween, basketball season, etc. These are fun way to get through that first year. You can find the care packages on the school page – we put it right at the top so you can find it easily.

What types of recommendations do you make?

Our recommendations come in three flavors.

  • First are specific item recommendations. These include an explanation for why we are recommending the item along with a link to that specific product.
  • Second are ‘Starter Pack’ recommendations. These are lists of items that are similar. We added the lists for items that are small and don’t require significant concern about reviewing the product – things like toiletries, desk supplies, etc. Lists provide an easy way to grab a bunch of things at once.
  • Third are search recommendations. For some items, there can be a lot of personal preference involved – things like bedding, posters, bikes, etc. The search recommendations provide a link to Amazon with many options that meet the need but you can personalize for your personality.

With these three types of recommendations, we hope that you can find everything you need.

Why should I create an account?

Creating an account with Campus Arrival lets you save your supply checklist. You can mark items as done. You’ll also be able to set your school as a favorite so you can link to it quicker. Also, if your parents or grandparents want to buy you something for college, they can see what you need and what you already have.

Where do you get laptop recommendations?

Laptops are a major asset while you’re at college. They save you from having to hunt for a free terminal in one of the open labs. They’re also a major investment. To get the specific hardware requirements for your school and major, we search the school’s official site. Each school is different in terms of the info they provide. Some schools provide general specifications. Some give major’s specific needs. And some schools don’t provide any recommendations. We include the links to the official school recommendations so you can reference them (in the Sources section of the school page). With the hardware specifications, we use CNET extensively to make product recommendations. We also consider Amazon reviews and will search other technology sites to make sure the products are high quality. By combining the school’s hardware requirements with quality laptop recommendations, we think we’re providing you with the best info you can find. If you’re worried about a specific laptop (one that we recommend, one you found on another site or one you already have) reach out to your specific major department. You can start with the college IT dept, but they are going to send you to your major department – again you can find links to those sites in the Sources section of the school page.

What do I do if my school doesn’t recommend specific laptop hardware requirements?

Many schools provide recommended specifications for laptops but some don’t. If your school doesn’t provide specific recommendations, you can use the following guidelines. If you’re going into a science, engineering, computer science or math field, you should consider the Campus Arrival Power User (Windows) recommendation. That laptop will have enough power to meet your needs and these STEM majors usually require Windows OS. If you’re going into photography, mass media, or any design field, you should consider the Campus Arrival Power User (Apple) recommendation. That laptop will have enough power to meet your design requirements and those majors usually prefer Apple OS. If you’re not in any of those fields, you should consider either of the Campus Arrival Standard User recommendations. Both of those laptops will provide you with all the computing resources you need for general purposes – deciding between Apple and Windows at that point is personal preference.

How should I use your blog posts?

The main focus of Campus Arrival is to provide first year supplies recommendations but we also want to give students guidance on other topics. Our blog posts include interesting, informative or just plain fun articles. If you have an idea for a blog article, please contact us.

How can I share an idea I have for your website?

We’d love to hear from you! We’re always open to new ideas or improvements to our site. We want Campus Arrival to be helpful to you the student, so anything you can do to help us achieve that is always welcome. Please Contact Us.

How can I get my college added to your site?

The first thing to do is to submit your school to Campus Arrival so that we can work up the recommended items list. Submit your school here. While you wait for your specific school to be added, you can check out our General Recommendations list. This list is a combination of all the items we’ve collected from all the schools we’ve completed. It’s a good start and provides everything you’ll need.

I found an error on your website…what do I do?

Oh no! Don’t tell anyone! Just kidding – we realize that there may be typgrphikal errors, forRMaTTiNg errors or issues with broken links. Please Contact Us to let us know how we can improve our site.

How do I submit a suggestion for a new item or recommend a different specific product?

We’re always asking students for their feedback on specific items we recommend. What works, what doesn’t, what’s hot, what’s old school. Let us know what you think.

Why did you start Campus Arrival?

We love sharing our origin story. Check out our About page.

Who do I contact if I’m interested in promoting your website?

Campus Arrival is a partner in the first year college student community. We contribute to blogs, forums and any online resource that helps student with one of the most difficult transitions they’ll experience. Reach out to us and let’s make a connection.

I’m interested in being a guest blogger…who do I contact?

It would be great if you could share your blog articles with us. If you have a personal blog or a school sanctioned site, we’d love to share your articles through Campus Arrival. Contact us and we’ll be BFF’s in no time.

I’m an official at one of the schools you listed, who do I contact you about the list?

Please contact us about anything on our site that you have comments about. We make sure that we are up to date on the school official recommendations and prohibitions, but any info a school can provide us directly is extremely helpful. We look forward to hearing form you.

I’m an official at a school and you don’t include our school, who can I contact about getting it added?

Please by-pass the normal submission process and contact us directly with your school information. Please include your email address and phone number so that we can have a conversation about your needs. We can customize the list specifically based on your requirements. We can also provide printable lists that you can send in your welcome packages, If you don’t have a supplies recommendation list, we can work with you to create a list that reflects your school’s supplies requirements and prohibitions.

What if I have a question not on this FAQ list?

Let us know and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.