10 Necessary Documents to Bring to College

Preparing for college can be overwhelming. There are many things you’ll need to remember on your packing list, including preparing all necessary documents to take with you.

Going to college with the right papers can save you time and hassle, as getting copies is not always easy when you’re away from home.

We’ve put together a comprehensive list of important documents take you should have ready to take to college.

1. Birth Certificate

One of the most essential papers to bring is a copy of your birth certificate.

The original document or an official copy is often requested as proof of identity. This is used to authenticate your college IDs and is sometimes required to register for classes once you arrive.

If you do not have your birth certificate, you can easily request a birth certificate copy online before you start college.

2. Photo ID

Arriving students must have a government-approved photo ID. This is necessary for to prove your identity and fully enroll in your college course.

Acceptable forms of photo ID include:

  • Driver’s license
  • Passport
  • State-issued identification card
  • Military common access card

If you do not already have a form of official photo ID, you’ll need to obtain one before you start college.

3. Social Security Card

New college students are advised to put their Social Security card on their packing list. This is often needed to get a job or access certain government services. You’ll also need it if you’re applying for photo ID.

If you do not have your Social Security card, you can request one with the United States Social Security Administration. If you do not want to take your Social Security card to college, a copy is usually enough.

4. Medical Records and Proof of Immunization

Colleges are occupied by many shared communal spaces, so most institutions require students to show proof of immunization against certain diseases. Required immunization records can include:

  • Hepatitis A and B
  • Measles, mumps, rubella
  • COVID-19

Other medical documents to bring to college are prescriptions and your medical records. This ensures you have all required information in the case that you have a health problem.

5. Medical Insurance Cards

Other essential health documents that should be on your list are your medical cards. These are usually a mandatory requirement if you ever need to seek medical care or get medication.

Recommended medical cards are:

  • Health insurance
  • Prescription coverage
  • Dental insurance
  • Vision insurance

Students are also advised to check where the nearest healthcare facilities are that accept their insurance plan.

6. HIPAA Release Form

The HIPAA is the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996. This law prohibits healthcare providers from sharing patient information without their consent.

It’s a good idea to sign a HIPAA release form before you head off to college. This form allows your parents or guardians to access vital information about your medical care, and authorize treatment in the case of an emergency.

If you’re going to college in a different state to where your parents or legal guardians live, you may need to sign a release form in their state.

7. School Paperwork

Other essential documents to bring to college are official school papers. You may need all or some of the following:

  • Acceptance letter
  • ACT or SAT score reports
  • Financial aid award letters
  • High school transcripts
  • Letters of correspondence with your college

Usually copies are enough if you do not want to bring the original documents.

8. Banking Details

It’s a good idea to take all your banking information to college with you. You may need these papers when you pay bills, check your account, or sign up for services.

This includes bank statements and any other documents you have related to your bank account(s). It’s also useful to leave copies with your parents or guardians, in case of loss or theft.

9. Emergency Contacts

College students are always advised to have a list of emergency contacts, in case of unforeseen circumstances.

Keep a list of the names, phone numbers, and addresses of your emergency contacts that can be easily located if needed.

10. Car Insurance

If you plan to take a car to college, you’ll definitely need to take a copy of your car insurance plan with you too, along with your driver’s license.

Drivers who are changing state will also need to ensure that they change their car insurance to cover them in the state they’re moving to.