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What are the Different Types of School Supplies?

By Felicia Dye
Updated May 16, 2024
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School supplies are items that students need to complete assignments and to help them capitalize on the educational process. As students move along the educational path, the types of schools supplies they need often change. There are some, however, that may be necessary from the primary years through university. These include paper, books, and writing utensils.

During the primary years, many of the school supplies required are art related. Students are often required to have crayons, scissors, glue, and construction paper. They usually also need writing paper and pencils. The paper, however, is normally specially designed with large lines and is greater in width than length. The pencils are often much bigger than those that will be used later in life.

As students advance into their elementary years, they usually begin to use notebooks and loose leaf paper. They may be required to complete certain assignments in pen. The crayons they once used are usually replaced with colored pencils and markers.

They usually also begin to have textbooks for various subjects. In some schools, these are loaned to the students at no cost. In other instances, students must buy their books.

During the middle school years, the use of art supplies generally diminishes and the school supplies needed become more basic and standard for several years. Such items include folders, binders, and note cards. The introduction of specialized classes, such as foreign languages and technology, may require that certain special items such as multilingual dictionaries and tool kits be purchased.

In high school, the necessary school supplies can begin to vary greatly because there are usually various options available for classes. For example, depending on which math is chosen, a student may need a scientific calculator, graph paper, or a compass. Advanced English classes may require the purchase of novels and works of literature.

When students begin their college education, school supplies often become much more expensive. Books are rarely loaned. This means every class generally requires the purchase of one or more textbooks or workbooks. Students may also need legal pads, miniature recorders, and specialized dictionaries.

Depending on the students’ majors, specialized supplies may be required. Those who major in photography, for example, are usually required to buy their own photographic equipment including cameras, film, and printing paper. Those who major in culinary arts are often required to buy knives, food thermometers, and uniforms.

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Discussion Comments
By chivebasil — On Jun 18, 2012

If you buy school supplies online you can find some really awesome deals. I have five kids and come back to school time we have to buy a lot of pens and paper. If I buy them in bulk online I can get some huge discounts and it is all the same stuff you would find in the store. Its not like you have to settle on really cheap pens or horrible recycled paper.

By gravois — On Jun 18, 2012

Every year my kids teacher sends home a list of all the supplies that they are going to need throughout the year. It seems to me that about half the stuff on the list ends up being unnecessary and I have wasted about $30.

For that reason I just buy the absolute basics and then my kids let me know when they are going to need something special. I am happy to buy them a protractor if they need one but not if it is just going to take up space in a desk.

By backdraft — On Jun 17, 2012

Your really can find some great deals on school supplies if you wait to buy them during the sales they have right before the school year. I usually end up buying twice as much as I think my kids will need because invariably they will run out of something and I will have been able to get the extra stuff at a discount rate.

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