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College Move-In Day

Whether it’s a few hundred or thousands, each year around this time residential campuses welcome new students for move-in day. This can be daunting for even experienced students and families. For those new to the process; take a deep breath, it will all work out. Here’s how you can do your part:


Students - read and take notes on all of the move-in information sent to you. It may seem silly to take notes when you have access to it in print or online, but writing it down will help you remember.

Parents - after the student has read and taken notes; read everything. There will likely be pertinent travel information such as specific driving directions for move-in day, what time you’re allowed to arrive, what to do when you get there, and, in some cases, where to park after everything is unloaded.

What to bring. Entire floors of residence hall communities used to look like woodshop class due to all the parents building loft beds for their kids. This practice seems to largely have faded due to loftable beds being common room issue. You should have near certainty what is provided in the room before you arrive. When you bring your own furnishings, be sure you know what is and what is not allowed to be added or removed from a residence hall room before taking action. Hint: It is super likely nothing will be allowed to be removed.


Dress for success. Like moving anywhere, move-in day is hard work. The weather may be hot & humid, cool & rainy, both, none, or some other meteorological event. Consider proper footwear for schlepping your stuff. Save the nice clothes for a day where they probably won’t get filthy.

Moving crews. Any staff presence is there to assist, not a bellhop service (unless otherwise stated). Some campuses provide volunteers and “volunteers” to help new students unload the vehicles, get all of the belongings to residence hall rooms. This really is meant to be an aid rather than a service (again, in most cases). If your move-in experience is different than this, please leave a comment!

Checking-in. When you arrive, you will be expected to complete a form where you agree to the condition of the room and its furnishings. Be meticulous because any discrepancies at check-out at the end of the academic year will likely be charged as damages.

Setting up the room with a roommate can take some time. Making sure to respect one another’s space short of Brady Bunching the room down the middle is a good way to start the roommate relationship. Many folks make at least one trip to the store before all is said and done.


Separation anxiety. At some point, parents, family, partners and friends have to depart. This may occur at the end of move-in day or after any scheduled parent and family programming. This can be exciting and difficult for all parties. Leaving a kid behind: rough. Leaving a kid behind: exciting! Seeing your parents go: exciting! Seeing your parents go without leaving you cash: rough.

Try to celebrate the departure for what it is; a student about to do their best to earn a degree in college and parents with the chance to see how their kid does on their own. While it can certainly be emotional, it can be a great day!

How was move in? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

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