Back To Varsity Must-Haves

Joburg universities are a few weeks away from officially opening for the year. In between enjoying your last days of freedom, stock up on all your study essentials. There is nothing worse than turning up to your first lecture wholly unprepared. No professor is going to wait for you to get yourself together before delving into the principles of quantum dynamics (well we don’t really know, we are journalists, but you get the idea!) 

varsity must haves

University is completely different from high school in many ways. But, it’s much the same when it comes to stocking up on the essentials. Of course, textbooks, notepads, stationery and art supplies top the list of important items to stock up on for the semester. However, there are a whole range of handy accessories that can make your study life way easier. Here are our top picks for back to varsity must-haves 2020:

The Essentials


Finding university textbooks can prove to be a true test of patience. Nevertheless, there are a number of reputable retailers in and around the city. The most well-known textbook outlet has to be Van Schaik’s. They have six stores in Johannesburg and are the official suppliers of UNISA textbooks. Alternatively, check out Book Express in Westdene. These guys have been in the business for over 14 years and are conveniently located opposite the University of Johannesburg’s Kingsway Campus.

Accounting and Law students, you have a discount textbook store in Parktown dedicated solely to your learning. Established in 1998, Discount Textbooks offers students, as well as big and small auditing firms, legal firms and banks throughout the country, the very best in marked down textbooks. English literature and theatre students, don’t forget to pop into your nearest Bookdealers. These specialists in out of print and rare books have a large store of fiction which is likely to appear on your setwork lists.

Most of these bookstores also have online shopping options, so you won’t have to spend precious petrol or transport money on tracking them down. Alternatively, visit to browse through their stock of academic books.

Stationery and Notebooks

Sometimes all you need to get yourself motivated for the new semester is a few quirky pens and a funky notebook. Stationery from Typo is creative, cheeky and caters to almost any taste. Their frequent two-for-one notebook sales are definitely student-budget friendly.

If you are looking for more understated, less ironically cool stationery, pop into PNA stores. Art students will be especially impressed by PNA’s vast range of affordable art supplies. Their stores also now offer loyalty cards to help you earn rewards and receive discounts on your favourite varsity must-haves.

Have some money saved up to spend on yourself? Pop into Herbert Evans Art Shop to find an array of fine tipped felt pens, graphite pencils, paint and journals. You can either visit their flagship store at Rosebank Mall or take a trip to trendy Maboneng to stop by their new location on Main Street.


The Fun Stuff


Having your own laptop can make varsity life a whole lot easier. For student budget-friendly tech gear, check out’s Back to School sale on laptops. With no item priced over R5000, this is a bargain hunt worth taking note of. Looking for something more portable? Their online store also has a wide range of tablets and iPads perfect for note taking and reading.

In need of a printer? Pop by your nearest Incredible Connection for an awesome deal on an Epson L3110 3 In 1 Ecotank Printer. Available for only *R2699 until 26 January 2020, this definitely tops our list of back to varsity must-haves.

varsity must haves

Clothing and Sneakers 

The start of the first semester is the perfect time to freshen up your wardrobe. First year students in particular are likely to need a couple of new wardrobe staples (no more uniforms guys!). This is a period in your life to experiment with as many different clothing styles as possible. For on-trend casual wear, we recommend shopping at Cotton On stores. While they may be a little pricey, you can easily mix and match key staples like jeans and band t-shirts from their extensive range.

If you are more into online shopping, check out the Vintage Lover online store. Established in 2010, this unique brand offers both vintage inspired wear and bang on trend fashion items. They even have an entire shopping selection dedicated to scrunchies!

Alternatively, spend a day thrift hunting at one of the many second-hand stores or Wits Hospice Charity Stores around Joburg. Not only will you find great bargains for one-of-a-kind vintage items, you will be contributing to a good cause.

Backpacks and Snacks

A great backpack is essential to making your everyday tasks a lot easier. Walking around campus to classes is often exhausting. The weight of textbooks, laptops and stationery can make the walk even more strenuous. Avoid using your old school bag and visit Zando to shop their wide range of backpacks. They offer everything from sports bags to compact leather drawstring shoulder sling-overs.

Now, the campus “cool” kids may never be found carrying around dorky lunchboxes filled with healthy snacks, but we can’t all be cool. So, stack up on some delicious goodies from Checkers’ new health food range, Simple Truth. We love their sugar-free Mango fruit gum snack pack and assorted convenience meal bowls.

Happy learning! 

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