How to Move to College

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Wondering what you need to do when moving to college?

College is a ton of fun… after you move in. For many, moving to college is the first big move of their lives, or at least the first one they control. There’s a lot to prepare for, and it can be a tougher than a midterm.

In this article, we’ll break down what you should do when moving to college, from your parents’ place to the first day of class. Here are the five, broad steps:

  1. Decide Between Dorms and Off-Campus Housing
  2. Coordinate with Your Roommate
  3. Choose What to Bring to College
  4. Handle Dorm Move-in Day
  5. Prepare for the First Day fo Class

Click on the blue links below for more information about each topic.

1. Decide Between the Dorms and Off-Campus Housing

The first step to deciding how to move to college is to decide where you’ll live. You have two basic options: (1) live on campus in the dorms, or (2) live off campus in an apartment or a house.

  • Living in dorm is the most popular option for new college students. It’s a great way to meet new people and get involved with the college. Students don’t need to worry about learning about the surrounding city; they can focus just on the campus, and branch out if they feel comfortable.
  • Off-campus housing is more popular for students who have already gone to school for a year or two. They’re usually more familiar with the surrounding neighborhoods and are itching to ditch the dorms. Off-campus housing has far fewer restrictions and is often easier to access.

If you choose dorm life, you will have to contact your college to get a dorm room. If you choose off-campus housing, your school will not be involved. You can search for that housing just like you search for an apartment.

2. Coordinate with Your Roommate(s)

You should know who your roommate is before you move in. Give your new roommate a call, whether you’re old friends or have never met, and see what he or she is bringing to your new place. There’s no need for you both to bring a fine china kitchenette set, you know? I mean, imagine the disappointment you’ll feel when you and Dad drag in your grandfather clock, and your roomy is already setting his up! But, really, here are some things to consider:

  • Printer – Ideally, you both can hook up to a wireless printer and save some space.
  • TV – What, are you going to watch two different TVs at the same time?
  • Game consoles
  • Vacuum/iron
  • Dishes
  • Coffee pot
  • Sports equipment
  • Chairs/tables/sofas/futons
  • Grill – for a home

Also, see if your roomy has any pet peeves, medical issues, or idiosyncrasies that you should know about, and share yours. Some fundamental things to hit on:

  • Snoring
  • Average bed time
  • Desired bed time
  • Medical conditions – Don’t prod too much, but it’s good to know if you’ll need to be prepared for bad situations.
  • TV usage
  • Expected visitors – especially boyfriends or girlfriends.


3. Choose What to Bring to College

Every student, whether living on or off campus, should bring their important personal information, plenty of clothes, a method of transportation (learn how to buy a good, cheap bike), dishes, and a computer.

Dorm life requires additional considerations. If you’re moving into a dorm, you should definitely bring the following:

  • Bed risers – These things are a must. They lift your bed a foot or so, so you can fit more underneath it, like…
  • Plastic bins – Plastic bins are cheap and great for storing your stuff, and they just so happen to slide easily under raised beds ^^.
  • Collapsible laundry bin – They don’t take up much space, and they are easy to transport.

Learn more about Essential Dorm Room Items.


4. Dorm Move-in Day

These tips are primarily for moving into a dorm. If you’re moving into off-campus housing, you can move in whenever you want, really.

  • Be way too early or fashionably late – Do you know how busy it’s going to be around noon on that Saturday people start moving into the dorm? Can you even comprehend? There will be people, with things, everywhere. And mothers crying, father grunting, and cars honking. It will be a mess. Try to avoid its peak.
  • Go inside first – Before you start bringing big stuff into your dorm room, walk inside and see where you need to go and what your room looks like. Take account of any problems with the room; don’t move in if it has rat feces or the likes – tell your RA.

Learn more Dorm Move-In Day Tips


5. Prepare for the First Week of Class

The first week of class is usually easy and boring. For most classes, professors will tell you about the class, and they might give some basic homework; however, the hard stuff won’t start until week two or three. So, don’t get too worked up about it. Here’s what you need to do before that first low-key week:

  • Check your syllabi – Know if you have homework due for the first week, and generally have an idea of what you need for each class.
  • Get supplies – Go to the school bookstore or an office supply store to buy some pens, paper, binders, etc.
  • Don’t buy your books – Unless you have homework due ASAP, it’s a good idea to wait to buy books until after your first day of class. Sometimes professors will let you know that you don’t need a book, that they’ll be posting excerpts online, or that there’s a cheap place to find the book. It can save you hundreds of dollars, seriously hundreds, each semester, because once you open those books, they books lose a ton of value. Also, try to find used books online (Amazon is a good place to start).
  • Make a dry run to your classes – Walk your route to class before the first day, so you know where you’re going.
  • Find a place to relax – While tracing your route, look for places to relax in between classes or on breaks. Benches, break rooms, lobbies, libraries, coffee shops, grassy knolls…



What to Have in a Dorm Room

Dorm Room Pros & Cons

Dorm Move-In Day Tips

Dorm Checklist

Moving into a Dorm Room