Junior high and middle school students often experience big changes when they transition to high school. Entering the freshman year of high school involves attending a new building, meeting new teachers and facing new challenges and opportunities. Freshmen often take more specialized courses than they have in lower grades, and some students experience having lockers for the first time in their educational careers. These new experiences necessitate changes in the supplies students need each fall. Although individual requirements vary depending upon schedule and instructors, some supplies are fairly standard.


Pencils, pens, erasers and spiral notebooks make up the staples for school, including the freshman year. A portable pencil sharpener comes in handy when the classroom sharpener is busy or for quick use after class starts. Spiral notebooks fit easily into small spaces such as cramped lockers and backpacks, making them easily carried. Students can carry small supplies between classes more easily with a soft pencil bag, particularly if students are not allowed to cart backpacks with them into classrooms. Even then, freshmen need a sturdy backpack to carry homework materials after school.


Loose-leaf notebooks stack easily in most lockers and can be labeled for quick reading along the spine. Purchasing a different color notebook for each class can help students choose necessary materials from their lockers quickly with less chance of grabbing the wrong notebook. Some students prefer a single, large binder with dividers. Binders also allow students to clip pencil bags and folders inside, saving space and keeping materials organized, and students can easily add or remove paper. Most importantly, students need a method to keep track of assignments, so include a small date book or assignment notebook.


Many students desire laptops, but schools don't usually require high school freshmen to have them. Instead, districts often give students access to computer labs on campus. Rather than a computer, parents should supply a calculator because math, science and business classes often use them. Higher-level math and sciences courses tend to demand more complicated devices such as graphing calculators, so students should wait until they hear from the teachers for these classes before purchasing a model to be certain they get the correct one.

Other Supplies

Some must-have materials make studying easier. Students can use index cards for research or making flash cards. These may be ruled or not and come in various colors that can be helpful for organizing. Highlighters draw attention to important material, making studying easier. Many schools encourage students to carry water bottles, especially during warmer months. Finally, lockers don't always have built-in combination locks, so purchase necessary padlocks. Even if the main locker has a built-in lock, the gym, art or music lockers may not.