How to Prepare Your Child for the Next Big Adventure: Moving to College!

College, Family, Planning -

How to Prepare Your Child for the Next Big Adventure: Moving to College!

We’re nearing the end of another school year, and with that many graduating seniors will set their sights on preparing for college in the Fall. The move to college can be incredibly stressful for both students and parents – there is just so much to buy, organize, pack and transport! Parents are usually most concerned about how to make the move without the expense of renting a truck – it seems impossible! But here are some tips to help you prioritize, get organized and all moved in without all the stress.

Get Informed

Every school is different – some don’t allow small appliances of any kind in dorm rooms, while others suggest bringing your own microwave and mini refrigerator. At the start of the summer, most schools will send an information packet to incoming students that will include details about their room assignments. Within those packets, there will be information regarding the school’s rules on what to bring when moving in. Some items are provided by the school – such as a bed, mattress, desk and bureau – which will of course make moving much easier as large furniture items will likely already be in the room. Along with information on what is provided by the school, you should also receive a list of items that are banned by the school. The most commonly banned items include extension cords, cooking appliances like hotplates and toaster ovens, air conditioners or space heaters, candles to a name a few. Be sure to check the list carefully to ensure that you’re not sending your college student to school with an item that could get confiscated due to a safety restriction.

Understanding what is provided and what is banned by the college your child is attending will help you eliminate items on your “to buy” list. This will free up a bit more space in your vehicle, and also in your mind, as you try to prepare for the move.

Get in Touch with the Roommate

When your college student receives their room assignment, they will also be given contact information for their roommate. Make sure an open line of communication is established between both students, not only to start building a friendship ahead of move-in day, but to discuss items needed for the room. Divide up items like appliances evenly so that neither person is responsible for everything in the room and ensure that there are no duplicates when you arrive on moving day. This will help save a bit of money when buying all the necessary items but will leave more space in your vehicle for other important items.

Want vs. Need

This is where packing gets a little tricky. Your child may have a very different idea of what is needed at college than you do. So work together to designate items based on “needs” versus “wants.” Things on the “Needs” list might include items like an alarm clock, a computer, pillows, towels, blankets and clothes – items that your college student couldn’t really function away from home without. Items on the “Wants” list would probably include things like every single one of their collectible beanie babies, framed photos, 20 pairs of shoes or clothing for all 4 seasons. It’s completely normal to want to bring some of the comforts of home when moving to college. Don’t discourage it entirely, but help your college student draw a clear line between reasonable and excessive. Encourage them to choose one of their favorite collectibles, just a few of their favorite photos and clothing for one season at a time, as they will likely be home to visit in between seasons and can easily switch out clothing as needed.

Most dorm rooms are only roughly 12x20 feet, with much of the space taken up by larger furniture supplied by the school. It’s important to try to reduce the amount of “Want” items as much as possible to ensure that you’ll not only have enough room in your vehicle to transport it, but your kids will have enough space in their dorm room as well.

Like most big obstacles, the process of moving your child to college can be improved with some careful planning. It doesn’t have to cause you to go grey or make you lose sleep. Get all the information, stay organized and you’ll be much better equipped to send your child off on their next big adventure – college!