• Mike Roberts

College Move-In Day: How to Prepare


Moving a son or daughter off to college is an emotional milestone, especially during their freshman year. Here is a checklist to make the big day distraction-free.

Questions before move-in

  • Who will your child’s roommate(s) be? If your student is living in a dorm, the housing department should provide the roommate’s name and contact info several weeks before move-in. Connect and coordinate about who will provide what for the room.

  • When is move-in day? What’s involved in check-in?

  • Does your student need renter’s insurance? A university may not require it for a dorm room, but it’s important if your student lives in an apartment.

What to buy for college life

  • Sheets, a mattress pad, a comforter and plenty of pillows. Most dorm beds are laminated XL twin mattresses.

  • A shower caddy, rubber sandals to wear when showering, towels and washcloths, and personal hygiene items.

  • Clothes that can work for summer to early winter. After the first semester, send your student back with heavier winter clothes and choices for spring.

  • Laundry detergent, dryer softener sheets, a laundry basket, an iron, an ironing board with automatic shut-off, and lots of hangers.

  • Organizer crates, file boxes and caddies for desk supplies.

  • A dorm-size refrigerator for drinks and snacks and a microwave oven if allowed.

  • If the room is sufficiently large, a relaxing chair, a small table or a set of bookshelves.

  • Be sure to bring the student’s driver’s license, auto insurance card, health insurance card, social security card, debit/credit cards and a card with emergency contact information.

Move-in day

  • Upon arrival, check in with the dorm or apartment office. Get the keys and welcome packet.

  • When it is your turn to unload, park and work quickly, even setting some stuff on the curb so that the car can be moved to make way for the next people.

  • Move the big items in first, then the smaller stuff. Many dorms provide dollies for moving big stuff and stacked boxes.

  • Before outfitting an apartment, inspect it for any damages. Take pictures and note any damage on the check-in form provided.

  • Clean and sanitize all surfaces. Sweep and vacuum all floors.

After college move-in

  • Parents should make goodbyes affectionate but brief. Leave a note for your child to read later.

  • Students should start getting to know roommates, obtain books and walk the campus to determine the route to classes.

Related – Safe Student Housing for Off-Campus Rentals


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