As I've been preparing for my move into my college dorm, I've done a lot of searching for the best things to buy. College dorms are usually very small (depending on where you go to college and how many people it is supposed to accommodate) and so you have to be aware of how much stuff you bring otherwise you'll run out of space.
I've been shopping a couple times already for dorm materials and I've realized that it's much easier to make a couple trips instead of just one. This way you don't have to come up with a ton of money to go on a mega shopping trip. Just make your grand list and then every other week just make a smaller shopping list and start crossing things off as you gather the things you need.
Another tip is (if you have them) to meet with your roommates prior to move in day. Connect with each other or meet for lunch and get to know each other. Make a list together of what everyone already has and what you still need to buy. This way you won't buy doubles of certain items and you also won't forget anything.
So here's a college packing list of things you'll need for your dorm
Side Table (for a TV stand or for by your bed)
Futon/Bean Bags/Lounge Chairs (whatever fits best)
Decor (optional - think of the space)
Full length mirror
Bulletin board (great for keeping track of schedules)
Oven Mits/Hot Pads
First aid kit
Shower curtain & Liner
Soaps/Lotions/Shampoo & Conditioner
Cleaning supplies (i.e. clorox wipes, windex, magic erasers, etc)
Shelves for food & snack storage
Hand held vacuum
Good luck to all my fellow freshman and good luck on move in day!