A college student works in a computer lab, typing on a desktop computer.

Top Tips to Create the Best Desk Setup for College Students

Online learning has seen a dramatic increase due to the coronavirus pandemic forcing students to make the switch. In 2021, more than half the students in the US chose to study online programs, according to Statista. 

If you are learning online, you already know the importance of a good college student’s desk setup for studying. The best desk setup for college students can help them stay active and focused. 

However, knowing what the best college student’s setup for a desk is isn’t always easy. Factors like technical accessories, location, and lighting all contribute to creating the perfect college student’s workspace. In this article, you’ll find tips on how college students can make an effective desk setup. 

What Makes a College Student Desk Setup Effective? 

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To make a college student desk setup effective, you need to consider criteria like location, equipment, and lighting. College students need their desks to be in a comfortable, well-organized location with few distractions for the hours they spend attending online lectures, doing their assignments, preparing notes, and conducting research for complex projects. 

Find a Place With No Distractions 

College students need to find a quiet, private place to study with plenty of space that prevents them from getting disturbed by their surroundings. Learning at home can be challenging, especially when lots of noise distracts you. Finding a place in your home where there is little to no noise or other kinds of distractions is vital. Make sure the space you dedicate to your desk setup has lots of natural light.

Use Ergonomic Accessories 

Consider investing in an ergonomic desk setup when creating your college student workspace. Ergonomic accessories like a mouse pad, ergonomic desk and chair, laptop stand, and keyboard tray can help you stay organized and productive. Sitting in a chair for long hours can be difficult, and these accessories will help you correct your sitting posture among other things. 

Organize Your College Student Desk Setup

The best way to design a desk setup for college students is to keep it simple. You should avoid cluttering your desk with items you don’t need. Moreover, you can invest in accessories to keep your desk organized and as clean as possible. Under-the-desk organizers or shelves work wonders when trying to declutter your workspace.  

How to Create a College Student Desk Setup: 5 Top Tips

Dedicate a Quiet Location 

Whether you dedicate an entire room or just a small portion of your room to set up your desk space, finding the right location to set up your workspace comes first. While choosing the location, consider factors like noise, lighting, and space. If you can’t find an area with enough natural lighting, get a lamp and use an LED bulb with warm light. 

Use an Ergonomic Chair and Desk

An ergonomic workspace will help you prevent issues like back pain, eye strain, or other physical issues. Consider investing in an ergonomic desk and a chair with lumbar support. Ideally, both of these allow you to adjust their height. If an ergonomic chair isn’t within your budget, you can add a chair cushion to your chair to prevent back pain. 

Only Get the Technical Accessories You Need

Investing in technical and non-technical items for college student desks can be expensive, especially if you want items with a modern design. A minimalist desk setup helps you save on costs by providing you with as many functionalities as possible in as few items. Try making a budget and do some financial planning. You should include only necessary items in your budget. 

Get a Bulletin Board

Bulletin boards are an excellent way of organizing your studying and checking off study material that you’ve already gone through on a list. Investing in a bulletin board for your desk setup can help you improve your scores by better planning out your work. You can pin a complex diagram or a formula on the board and add reminders of things you have to do. 

Decorate Your Desk 

After setting up your desk with the essentials, make it colorful and reflective of your personality by adding some accessories. You can add plants, a mug warmer, or a trophy you won. You can also add a photograph of your role model or your loved ones, or some motivational posters to keep you inspired. 

5 Things You Should Invest in When Designing Your College Student Workspace

Creating the best desk setup for students requires the right mix of technical and non-technical accessories. An effective desk setup should be comfortable and help you improve your focus. You will need technical accessories that can help you give your best performance in class. 

You will also need some non-technical accessories to keep your desk clean and organized. In fact, a cluttered desk can impact your emotions, behavior, and mood, according to Harvard Business Review. Here’s a list of some of the technical and non-technical items you should consider investing in while setting up your workspace. 

Technical Items to Consider

  • A sleek laptop. As a college student, you’ll often need to study on the go, making a laptop the ideal computer. Whether you’re taking classes online or completing online assignments, a laptop takes up less space on your desk and is portable. However, buying a monitor can help if your courses make you work on visually complex projects. 
  • External mouse. Using a mouse is more comfortable than using a touchpad, and gives you more movement. A wireless mouse gives you more mobility and lets you click on things while away from your computer. Investing in an ergonomic mouse will help you avoid discomfort during long hours of studying. 
  • USB hub. A USB hub with multiple ports can connect various accessories to your laptop, which has a limited number of ports. It can also keep your desk setup organized by keeping all the wires in one place.  
  • Noise cancellation headphones. Noise cancellation headphones can be beneficial for college students who have to study in distracting environments. You can play soft music that will improve your concentration during your study sessions while filtering out any unwanted noise.  
  • Portable hard drive. A portable hard drive lets you save all of your digital college supplies, test information, and assignments in one place. They are lightweight and portable, meaning you can easily fit them in your pocket or backpack. Hard drives prevent your MacBook or laptop running Windows 10 from running slowly due to a lack of storage. 

Non-Technical Items to Consider

  • Desk organizers. You can categorize and declutter your notes, textbooks, and other essential study materials into different sections using desk organizers. Desk organizers usually have multiple drawers, meaning you can keep stationery items like pens, pencils, and notebooks separate from one another. 
  • Desk lamp. A desk lamp can provide sufficient lighting for reading, writing, and using your computer at night to avoid straining your eyes. A warm-colored light is best for avoiding eye fatigue. Some lamps even have built-in wireless charging points which you can use to charge your phone. 
  • Plants. Decorating a study desk for college students with plants is an excellent way to bring positivity and fresh air to your workspace. House plants improve concentration and productivity, which can help you improve your in-class performance. 
  • Filing cabinet. When setting up your desk, add a filing cabinet under it to ensure that all your bulky study material is in one place. You can use labels to categorize them into different sections. 
  • Stress busters. A stress buster toy like a sponge ball or a Rubik’s cube can help you get through those long nights before your examination. They have even been proven to be beneficial in managing stress, anxiety, and restlessness. 

Creating the Best College Student Workspace

Whether you attend an online college or study on campus, creating a desk setup that makes you comfortable and happy is essential for your classroom performance. Your desk setup should be a place that encourages you to focus on your growth and career goals. Further, you want to avoid any risk of physical discomforts such as headaches, sensitivity to light, and eye strain. 

According to the United States Department of Labor, an ergonomic workspace for college students can also prevent musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs). A dedicated workspace can also be helpful for work after you graduate from college, and using a personalized desk setup can make both studies and work more enjoyable. 

Best Desk Setup for College Students FAQ

Do I need a desk as a college student?

Yes, you need a desk as a college student. A dedicated study desk can keep your study material organized and help you focus. You might need to spend long hours studying for your exams during the day and night, which is when a desk will help you become productive. Having a well-set-up desk can also prevent eye strain and back pain and keep your mental health in check. 

What should a study desk have?

A study desk for college students should include an ergonomic chair and table, a desk organizer, and a file cabinet. You can also add technical accessories like a wireless keyboard, mouse, and USB hub. Keep a journal or a notebook handy and make sure you have somewhere to store them. 

What kind of desk is best for studying?

The best desk for students is a multifunctional desk with an ergonomic design. Your desk should have space to keep your laptop, phone, and notebooks organized and some extra storage to keep your study materials. An adjustable desk with a compact design is typically best.

How can I decorate my study?

To decorate your study, you first need to keep it organized. Use different desk organizers, file folders, and pen holders to organize your items and free up space. You can then add some colorful motivational posters, plants, or lamps to style it. You can also keep your favorite photographs on either side of your desk. 

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