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  • Writer's pictureKashifa Ansari

A Comprehensive List of School Supplies

When entering graduate school, you may be wondering what supplies you will be needing and how similar it is to undergrad. Here at ICO, your schedule will be very fast paced and any time you can save by being prepared before you start school, will be very beneficial. Almost everything at ICO is digital, including notes, exams, and some textbooks.

Based on my experience, I've come up with a comprehensive list to the only school supplies I needed which made my life a little bit easier.

Some of these may depend on your personal preference and you may need to experiment a little on what is right for you before investing in an item.


I used to be the type of person who bought a planner every year and used it the first couple months and then never touched it again. Sound familiar? Within the first couple days at ICO, you will realize that your planner is your best friend. There are a lot of things you will have to keep track of and there is no way it can all be committed to memory.

Folders and Binders

This is pretty self-explanatory, but you will be given some paper handouts (not too many as most things are digital). You will also be getting a paper lab manual and the binder makes this easy to store.

Customized Labels

These really come in handy for your first-year equipment that you will be purchasing within the first week of school. Everyone is going to have the same equipment and with going to lab multiple times with everything, it is easy to misplace things. I recommend getting labels from Amazon and writing your name and contact information on them.

A Notebook (or multiple)

I personally only brought and barely used one notebook because I used an iPad to take notes (see below). I used this for any assignments that needed to be turned in on paper or any time I could not use a digital device.

iPad Pro

This is not necessarily an essential item and you may also choose to go with another device, but I chose to purchase an 256 GB iPad Pro 11’’ with WiFi and the Apple Pencil. I use this as my primary notetaking device. 99% of the learning material you will be getting is going to be online. Having a notetaking device makes it easy to write directly in PowerPoints and manuals.

I personally was used to taking notes in notebooks and printed PowerPoints, so there was definitely an adjustment period to writing on an iPad. The best part about notetaking on a device is that all of your notes are in one place. You can easily search through them, and it is very customizable. It is so much easier to highlight or write in different colors and being able to search through thousands of pages of material saves a ton of time.

Notability, GoodNotes, or OneNote

If you are planning on getting a tablet for notetaking, investing in a notetaking app is a must have. OneNote is actually free and provided by ICO when you receive your student email. Notability and GoodNotes are other options if you would like to purchase a notetaking app. These are a little bit more customizable. I personally use Notability.


This is again an optional item and I already had a laptop from high school/undergrad. I used my laptop to type notes for certain classes (see my blog post on how to study for classes) and to also watch recorded lectures. I also preferred to take exams on my laptop. I have a MacBook Air.

Each person's needs will be different: some of my classmates did not have an iPad or tablet and used a laptop for notetaking, some purchased a keyboard attachment for their iPad or tablet and used it for typing and writing, and some preferred to take notes in a notebook and used a device just to access the material. Do whatever works for you and it is okay if you need some time to figure that out once school starts.

I hope this list was helpful and a good starting point for figuring out what you need to bring with you to ICO! Enjoy your summer (as best as you can while staying safe) and can't wait to see everyone on campus soon!


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