Bedding. Sheets, pillows, blankets and a bedspread are basic, but a bolster pillow (for studying in bed) and a mattress pad (to put an extra layer between your kid and the dozens who have slept there before) are nice touches. Check with the school to find out what size bed linens you need (it's often a longer-size twin).
Towels and bathrobe. It may be a long trek from your teen's room to the bathroom. Don't forget flip-flops, because communal bathrooms and bare feet don't mix.
Toiletries. Kids need all their toiletry basics (including home items you might share, like nail clippers and tissues) plus a shower tote to haul it all in. Don't forget feminine-hygiene products and, as much as it might pain you, birth control and condoms.
Laundry stuff. Laundry bag or basket, detergent, stain remover and clothespins to hang hand-washing. Throw in a few rolls of quarters so your kid doesn't need to worry about making change for the first few weeks.
Lighting. Depending on where your child likes to study (at a desk, in bed, etc.), pick a desk lamp or a clip-on, and pack a few extra lightbulbs.
Rug. A small rug can make an institutional dorm room more cozy and keep feet from freezing on tile dorm floors.
Alarm clock. Not all classes start in the afternoon!
Computer and printer. Make sure you're well-stocked with paper and ink cartridges, too. (No worries if you don't have one—the school does!)
Electronics. In addition to a computer, think about bringing a digital camera, a TV, DVDs, a cell phone, etc. Check with the school to see what's allowed. Your kid will need chargers for everything, a surge protector and, possibly, extension cords.
School supplies and books. They'll need the same basic paper/pencils/folders supplies as in high school (schools usually supply a list), plus books for all their classes. A dictionary is a must, but don't worry if you forget anything—that's what the bookstore is for.
Calendar or day planner. While an electronic one is great, the old paper ones work just as well.
Chair. Pick something comfy to study in or for entertaining friends.
Posters, wall hangings or paintings. Some of their favorite art to make what can be a sterile room just a bit more homey. Throw in some empty photo frames so they can display pictures of old friends or college adventures.
Dry erase board and/or cork board. Dry erase boards are essential message spots on dorm room doors, and cork boards give kids an easy way to display photos from home or post phone messages.
Tape recorder. To record lectures ... or impromptu karaoke nights.
Backpack. Get one that will fit a laptop as well as a load of books.
Music and headphones. Whether it's an old-fashioned stereo or an MP3 player, college students need their tunes. Headphones also help drown out the sounds of a loud roommate when there's studying to do.
Small toolkit. Just a few essentials like a roll of duct tape, screwdriver, hammer and nails should suffice.
First-aid kit. Pack it with band-aids, antibiotic lotion, pain reliever and an ice pack.
Microwave/mini-fridge. Check with the school to see if they're supplied and, if not, if they're allowed.
Cooking supplies. Inevitably your teen will be heating up some late-night snacks. In addition to food (soups, popcorn, drink mixes and single-serve meals), pack microwave-safe plates, bowls, cups, plastic containers with lids, paper towels and flatware. And don't forget the can opener!
Clothing storage. Pack hangers, shoe boxes or organizers, and some large plastic containers for extra clothing storage. Unless you're prepared to spring for dry-cleaning costs, pack an iron, too.