Leaving home for college can be daunting – the adrenaline of a new adventure keeps you going, but some apprehensiveness can creep in. There is no reason why college life won’t be exciting. Yes, you’re in new surroundings, amongst new people, but your university campus could become your home away from home.

Transitioning to college? Don’t overlook the importance of gathering these critical documents to Bring to College. This comprehensive guide highlights the seven must-have documents you should bring to ensure a seamless college experience.

Let’s start with the basics. 

It is essential first to understand why it is vital for you, as a student, to carry documents to college. 

Here are some reasons why carrying vital documents to your educational institute is a wise choice:

1. Identification: You must carry your identification documents to prove your identity when you enroll in classes, obtain a student ID card, or want to access certain college facilities.

2. Financial aid: to verify your eligibility for grants, scholarships, loans, or work-study programs, many colleges ask for your financial aid documents. These documents are necessary to receive the financial assistance you may need to pay for college.

3. Academic verification: Your test score, high school transcript, and college-level courses/exams can determine your placement in certain classes and your eligibility for honors programs or credit transfers.

4. Medical history: It is wise to carry your medical records as some colleges must ensure you have received the vaccinations. These reports will come in handy in case you become sick or injured on campus.

5. Emergency contacts: Your emergency contacts are one of the essential documents to carry. If you were engaged in an accident, medical emergency, or other problem on campus, these people would be the first to be informed.

Now that we know the reasons behind carrying your vital documents to colleges, here is CollegEnroll’s list of documents you should take along with you. Any additional documents you take are a bonus – the documents listed here are must-brings.

Being a college student means getting ID’d a lot. More than you’d think. From pubs and bars to on-campus security and the local library, having a state-issued ID to show can be very handy. Your driver’s license will be the most commonly accepted ID, so remember to always carry it on you, not just when driving.

Whether you want to work on or off-campus, full-time or part-time, you need your social security details. In case you seek or receive financial aid. If you’re uncomfortable carrying your Social Security card to campus, leave it at home and have plenty of photocopies.

Carrying your birth certificate might seem odd, but it is critical. Have you lost your driver’s license or social security card? Your birth certificate is proof of identity that allows you to get new ones.

Some colleges may require you to submit copies of your birth certificate before you can start registering for classes. Like your social security card, you can leave the original at home and take photocopies.

Before college, one of the most important things to check is if your existing health coverage includes your campus location. Checking this is especially important if you are studying in a college in a different state.

Whether your current insurance coverage is sufficient or you’re getting a new health insurance plan, remember to always carry your health insurance card with you. You will need it handy when seeking medical attention, purchasing prescription medication, or in an emergency.

Carrying copies of your medical records can be a lifesaver if you have chronic or pre-existing health concerns. Even if your medical record history is nothing remarkable, your immunization history is essential.

This statement is especially true since many universities and colleges will only allow students to attend classes if they can provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19. Some colleges might also ask for proof of immunization against diseases like measles, mumps, rubella, and hepatitis A and B.

From checkbooks to photocopies of your debit and credit cards, make sure to carry as many banking documents as you possibly can. You will need the information for several things, especially when living off-campus, signing up for utilities, getting a job, etc. It’s also a good idea to keep sets of copies with your parents at home in case of emergencies.

Lastly, having a list of emergency contacts with names, contact numbers, and addresses is an absolute must. Keep copies of the list in multiple places, including having one in your backpack. Let your roommate or housemates know where you have stashed a copy if they need to contact someone on your behalf.

If you should carry any additional documents, never hesitate to contact your college and check. Every single document in the list above will be helpful at some point during your college journey. Making sure you keep them handy and have sufficient copies is not just great for when you’re at college but also good practice for later in life.

If you think you should be carrying any additional documents, never hesitate to reach out to your college and check. Every single document in the list above will be useful at some point during your college journey. Making sure you keep them handy, as well as having sufficient copies, is not just great for when you’re at college but also good practice for later in life.

  • Many documents that may not be used in day-to-day life can be very handy for students embarking on their college journeys.
  • Not all documents listed need to be the original – photocopies are an acceptable substitute for many of these hard-to-replace documents.
  • State-issued IDs are versatile and can be relied on for a number of uses, from identification to signing up for services.

What are some critical documents that colleges ask for?

While there is an exhaustive list of documents, you must carry to college with you, some of the critical ones are your identification documents like a birth certificate, your medical history, banking documents, and a list of emergency contacts.

What should I do if I forget to carry a critical document to college?

If you remember to carry a critical document to college, inquire if a copy would suffice. It is always wise to have an e-copy of your necessary documents handy, so you can take its printout at the campus and submit it. In case the physical copy of the original document is to be submitted, please request your parents, siblings, or guardian to mail it to you at your college address. 

What if I lose a critical document in college?

The best solution in case you lose a document in college is to reach out to the concerned department of the institute that issued the document or the issuing government agency to request a replacement.

Do I need to carry my COVID vaccination certificate to college?

Some colleges may request proof of vaccination at the time of induction to the course, while others might not. So, having your COVID certificate and keeping it safe is best.