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Most recent posting below. See other articles in the column to the right.

Top 10 Easily Overlooked Back-to-School Essentials

(ARA) - Pens, pencils, erasers, paper - these are the school supplies students need year after year and are on almost every parent's back-to-school shopping list. However, that doesn't mean they're the only supplies students need to survive the school year with ease. Instead of waiting until your student realizes what he's missing once it's too late, shop now for these easily overlooked back-to-school essentials.

"Most students have that 'oh no' moment once they're under a deadline and realize they don't have the right materials to complete it or when they're already stuck in a difficult situation," says Rebecca Smith of Master Lock. "Using past experience to think ahead and shop early will help students - and parents - avoid those dreaded moments and navigate the school year a bit easier."

1. Pencil sharpener. You've got the pencils, but sharpening them can be a real hassle as not all classrooms have a functioning built-in sharpener. To help students avoid trips to and from their desk during important tests, purchase a small pencil sharpener with a built-in shaving collection system that can be stored in a backpack pocket.

2. Portable stapler. Students are often in need of a quick staple, yet a stapler is nowhere to be found. A small, portable stapler can be a major timesaver for students who are frequently required to turn in multiple-page assignments.

3. Umbrella. Whether walking to class on a college campus or home from middle school, umbrellas are an easily overlooked school essential that pay dividends in student comfort. A collapsible model that fits in your student's backpack or book bag will be easiest to carry whenever the weather looks questionable.

4. Correction fluid or tape. For last-minute, on-the-go fixes to important school assignments, a bottle of white correction tape or a correction pen is a must when re-printing or re-doing isn't an option.

5. USB flash drive. Since so many school projects are now completed on computers, a USB drive makes it easy to save files and work on them anywhere. Whether your student is working on a paper at home, or on a group presentation at a friend's house, files will be easily accessible.

6. Stain remover pen. From lunch spills, to grass stains to stray pen marks, students appreciate being able to touch up messy spots that wind up on their clothing throughout the day. Where water doesn't always work, portable stain remover pens work well on hard-to-remove spots.

7. Security products. School supplies become useless if they're stolen from your student. To help avoid theft, invest in at least four types of security products: a padlock for students' school or gym lockers such as Master Lock's Speed Dial combination lock, a backpack lock to deter pickpockets, a portable mini-safe that can help keep valuables safe in a dorm room or in transit and a lock to attach to your laptop or desktop computer.

8. Three-hole punch. From organizing class notes and handouts in a three-ring binder for easy review, to binding presentations before turning them in, students find endless uses for a three-hole punch after investing in one.

9. Mints or brush strips. Since many schools do not allow gum in classrooms, mints or brush strips are great options for students to carry with them for use after a potent lunch.

10. Water bottle. If your school allows it, help your student stay hydrated by providing them with a portable water bottle that can hang from a backpack via a simple carabineer. A hydrated student equals a happier and more productive student. Water bottles are particularly handy if the school is older and not equipped with air conditioning.

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