What to Bring

What to Bring

The following is a list of items you may wish to consider bringing with you or purchasing when you arrive at Penn State Altoona.


If you are arriving in central Pennsylvania in August - which means, we hope, at least TWO months of warmer and fair weather before winter comes knocking at the door, bringing colder temperatures and potential for snow and rain. While August and September tend to be warmer temperature-wise during the day, evenings by late August can be cool.

If arriving in January, be prepared for cold temperatures and the likelihood of rain and snow.

Our recommendation is to consider having:

  • Comfortable clothes and shoes (for both going to class as well as just hanging out with friends or at your housing site)
  • Winter boots (usually necessary from November–March)
  • Rainwear and umbrella
  • Winter (heavier) coat, scarf, mittens/gloves and a good hat (usually necessary from November-March)
  • Lighter weight jacket/coat
  • Exercise clothing and shoes (if you plan on using the fitness center)

Temperatures usually gradually turn warmer in late March and April; however it can be wet and breezy during this time period as well.  You can always add to your wardrobe as appropriate throughout the year.

Stuff for your residence hall room

Please see the Housing website at Penn State Altoona for information specific to what you should/are allowed to bring for your room if living in on-campus housing.

Normally, you can individualize your room with things such as comforters/bedspreads, pillows, bed linens, electronic items such as TVs, stereos, gaming centers, etc. You can also have containers for storage and for use with food items (dishes, cups, silverware, etc.). Each residence hall room comes with a micro-fridge for students to use.

Stuff for your apartment

Please make certain you have checked with your off-campus housing landlord specifically as to what is provided in your lease agreement. Many apartments are furnished by the landlord, which for international students is an important consideration.

General Items

This may include bathroom supplies (robe, shower slippers, towels/washcloths, personal items such as razors, shaving cream, toothpaste, toothbrush, etc.) as well as a first aid kit, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, dishwashing supplies, cold medication, tissues, toilet paper, etc.

Also recommended are a camera, sports and recreation equipment (if applicable), batteries, flashlight, access to money (i.e. bank account, bank card, credit card, etc.) and school supplies such as your laptop, backpack, day-planner/calendar, writing utensils and paper/notebooks, etc.

Please note that as part of the new student orientation program, there will be a trip to local stores (Wal-Mart, Target, Bed, Bath & Beyond, etc.) so that students can stock up on the items/supplies they may need. This eliminates having to consider traveling with these types of items.

Shopping trips will take place during the New Student Orientation (NSO) / Welcome Weekend and Welcome Week phases. Please check your final New Student Orientation / Welcome Weekend schedule, to be sent in December, for exact day and time.

Please remember to do the following:

  • Get or renew your passport
  • Make travel plans
  • Confirm your housing (either on campus or off campus) arrangements
  • Notify the Office of Student Affairs (Sean Kelly; sck1@psu.edu) of both your travel itinerary and your housing accommodations 
  • Obtain Health Insurance (required)
  • Review U.S. currency
  • Arrange to set up and transfer money to a U.S. bank account as appropriate and bring funds (in U.S. currency) to use when you arrive (we will discuss local banking options during the International New Student Orientation process)
  • Remember to check out our online orientation to help you begin to become familiar with the campus. 

If you are still searching for housing, contact Tonya Yohn at tmy3@psu.edu or visit the Altoona Campus Living site. Off campus information can be found on the Altoona Student Housing site.

Please provide your housing information to the Office of Student Affairs once it has been finalized.