Our two daughters, Leah and Kelsey are both in college. My husband and I attended college. My little sisters attended college,. I worked at The Container Store helping families get ready for college and I have pack client's cars to send their kids to college. I am an expert on what one might need for a dorm room. I know what to buy cheap and what to invest in for the long haul. The college experience can involve more than eight trips moving in and out. I know girls will fuss more with color coordinating, and guys may feel pained by mom's questions and planning. The point is to remember is that your roommate is bringing nothing for you, so really focus on the personal items.
This year, my daughter Kelsey's new roommate Katie came up with a list that was helpful for them to check and compare what they each could bring to the apartment this fall. Apartments require more thought than a dorm. In an apartment there is a kitchen and all the measuring, storing and eating utensils to think about. You will need more cleaning supplies (theoretically) because you now have a bath and counters to clean and sanitize. A few basic tools like a couple of screwdrivers are helpful. With so much to gather for the trip to school, the list is essential. Pack in totes if you can because they stack in the car and can be brought home when you are unpacked. You really don't want to wait till you get to the college town if you can help it. Local stores tend to run out of needed items quickly.
I have posted Katie's list on my website as a beginning resource for planning what you might need. http://www.neatstreak.com/apartmentlist.html