When I was doing all of my back to school shopping for my first semester of college, I just grabbed up first cool looking college backpack that I came across. I went more for visual appeal than for practicality. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it (sadly) was not. In fact, not too long after the semester started, I ended up having to actually go out and buy a replacement bag that was more functional and fit my actual needs instead of my wants.
You see, if this is your first time attending university, then you may not be prepared for the sheer number of textbooks that will be required for your classes. In fact, I have had English Lit classes that required more than 10 books just for that class! You know what that means, right? Those cute little backpacks offer little use to the college student who actually wants to be able to carry the class texts in the bag.
For me, I opted for one of the largest book bags that I could find. I wanted one that had a few different compartments so that I could separate things out. You know, sometimes I want to carry my laptop or something with me, so I was also interested in something that had plenty of space for that.
A neat thing that I discovered in my shopping is that you can actually get bags that are made just for girls, which is pretty cool if you have a petite frame like me. Often, the larger bags end up being super bulky on me and not really sitting on my back and my shoulders that way that they are supposed to. So, this was a pretty awesome find for me.
I also found out that you can get some of the bags with wheels and pull handles. This is a good choice if you really do not want to lug around all those heavy textbooks on your back. Of course, these ones also have the straps so that you can wear them too. For me, this style was not really practical since I spend more time cutting through the grassy areas on campus than staying on the sidewalk. It would probably be too hard for me to pull it behind me in the grass, so I skipped this type. But, it might work for you.
Basically, just be sure to check out all the available options before you make your purchase. And remember to consider all of those books you will have. This is especially true if you are taking English classes. And if you are taking some science classes - those will be your thickest and heaviest books. Trust me! Just thinking about my college chemistry book makes my arms ache.