College Move-In Series: Day Of

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Move in series day 1

Welcome back to the move-in series! For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the series, allow me to explain: this is the last part of a five part series that gives step by step instructions for high school grads preparing for move-in day at college. And it’s finally the day you’ve been waiting for all summer: freshman move-in day! Here’s everything you need to know about your first day in the dorms and on campus.

Step 1: The Walk Through

Before you leave, take one last look around the house. Run through the check list and eyeball your surroundings. Make sure you have everything you need and leave no space unchecked. It’s easy to forget about common everyday items such as toothbrushes and chargers.

Step 2: Last Minute to-do’s

How do I get my room key? Where do I check-in? Where is it safe to park? To find the answers to these questions, look no further than your college’s website. You may be responsible for other tasks such as room inspection upon arrival. So reference you college’s website for more information on move-in day instructions.

Step 3: Leave Early

Beat the traffic by leaving early. Speed through the security lines at the airport by leaving early. Catch the first train by leaving early. No matter how you plan on getting to college, leave early! You’ll have more time to unpack and relax on move-in day.

Step 4: Recruit Movers

Moving in without any help is not an impossible feat. But who wants to make twenty back-breaking trips from the car to the dorm? Text a few friends around campus and ask for some help. If your parents are dropping you off, recruit a sibling or two to help out. Still struggling to find help on move in day? Hire some movers to lug all your stuff for you!

Step 5: Unpack and Explore

As tempting as it may be to start rearranging the furniture in your dorm, don’t. Unless you have a room all to yourself, you need to check with your roommate(s) before moving things around. You definitely don’t want to start off on the wrong foot with your roommates. Also, be respectful of their space by placing all of your boxes, bags, and luggage out of the way. After you finish unpacking your things, take a trip around campus. There’s bound to be some type of move-in day meet and greet. Go out, meet people, and have fun!

Step 6: Final Goodbye

Saying goodbye is always the hardest part, especially for mom. Show your family how thankful you are for their support with a nice card. Consider going out to eat with them for one last meal.

Step 7: Meet the Resident Assistant (RA)

Introduce yourself to the RA and see what they have planned for the start of the semester. It’s never a bad idea to make some friendly conversation with the RA. They are there to enforce school policy, so don’t get on their bad side.

Step 8: Get to Know Your Roommate

Spend some quality time with your roommate. Take them out for a cup of coffee or a bite to eat. Invite them out if you have any plans on campus. Consider joining a club together if you share similar interests. On a more serious note, take a minute to discuss what the house rules will be. For example: leaving dishes in the sink is forbidden. It’s important to set up a cleaning schedule right off the bat. Establishing these rules now will go a long way.

Step 9: Find Your Way Around

Familiarize yourself with your residence hall – check out the bathrooms, kitchen, rec rooms, etc. Take a trip to the gym, explore the quad, or just take a walk around the block. Another smart move is to figure out how long it will take you to get to your classes, by pulling up your class schedule and starting the stopwatch on your phone. Walk to each class and record how long it takes to get to each one. While this may seem foolish to students on a small campus, it can be hard to tell how far away a building is on a large campus.

Step 10: Unfinished Business

Take care on any unfinished business before the day is up. Store any important documents, cash, and credit/debit cards in a safe place. Turn in any paperwork that you may have forgotten about. Go pick up your textbooks and school supplies from the bookstore, and take care of any financial aid and/or scholarship obligations.  If anything else comes to mind, you’ll thank yourself later if you take care of it before the end of the day.

Step 11: Food Run

Make a trip to the grocery store to stock up on food. Only buy what you can easily prepare and store. If you do not have a fridge, avoid buying large amounts of perishable foods like fruit. Here are some great dorm food ideas: energy bars, chips, trail mix, and all things canned. Keep an eye out for anything on sale. If you have room in your dorm, such as under your bed, buy in bulk whenever you come across a decent sale.  This is where having a rewards card (or using your parents) comes in handy. You’ll be surprised at how much money you can save with a rewards card.

Move-in Series: 1 Week Away from College Move-in Day

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College Move in Day Advice

Welcome back to the move-in series! We’re a week away from move-in day so there’s no time to waste. For those of you, who haven’t been keeping up with the series, allow me to explain: this is part four of a five part series that gives step by step instructions for high school grads preparing for move-in day at college. With only one week left to go, it’s time to tie up any loose ends and take care of those last minute tasks.

Step 1: Clean up

Before you leave, make sure your room is clean. Do yourself a favor here and don’t leave behind a messy room. You may not be coming home for a while, but when you do, a clean room is everything.  Not only is it rewarding, but making sure your room is spotless is the responsible thing to do. You may not be living at home anymore, but your family members do. So set aside some time to clean, and don’t cut any corners. You won’t regret it.

Step 2: Going away party

Don’t forget about those last goodbyes! Throw a going away party and invite your friends and family. Even if your school is nearby, it may be that you won’t get to see everyone again until winter break. If the weather’s nice, have a cook out with games and music. If not, you could invite everyone inside and have a potluck. Feel like going out on a budget? Take every one out to Dave & Buster’s with a group deal. Or keep things small and under budget with a family dinner.

Step 3: Medicine

Are you prescribed medication? Do you have an emergency inhaler? Whatever the case may be, make sure you have all of your prescriptions filled and secure. When packing, store the medicine in your carry-on bag or someplace where you’ll have immediate access to it. After you move in, store the medication in a safe place. And if you feel the need, let your roommate know about your medical condition and what to do in case of an emergency.

Step 4: Last minute packing

Do you see that overflowing basket of laundry in the corner? How about that closet full of shoes? It’s time to take care of all of your last minute packing! Pack those lack minute items such as clothes, electronics, and keepsakes. Next, pull out that checklist for another look. Go through the entire list and make sure that everything is accounted for. Also, get rid of any items that you deem unnecessary. This will help to lighten the load and save space in your dorm. Stay organized by keeping all of your bags and boxes in one area of the house. Be sure to label everything so that you know what’s fragile and what’s not. Consider shipping some things if you need to lighten the load. Always update the checklist and stay on top of your belongings.

Step 6: Say hello

Reach out to any contacts you made at student orientation; start texting your other friends and make plans for your first few nights on campus. There’s bound to be plenty of events going on so ask around. And where there are events, there is free food, and everyone loves free food. If you can’t find anything to do on campus (which is unlikely) spend a night out on the town, and explore all of the shops and restaurants. If you want to stay in, plan a movie night and make sure there are plenty of snacks to go around. Whatever you plan on doing, be inclusive and make new friends.

Step 7: Back it up

Backup computer contents to a hard drive, in case something happens during the move. Also, backup phone contents in order to make lots of room for new memories! Now, it’s easier than ever with the iCloud feature and others like it. If you’re not a fan of the cloud, stop by the store to pick up an external hard drive. However, once you get to college, you may find that manually backing up everything is just a pain. Check out OCM’s Campus Backup software that will automatically back up your e-mails, term papers, lecture notes, presentations, and as an added benefit, all your photos and music.

Step 8: Paperwork & textbooks

Take care of any last minute paperwork for school. Don’t forget to take any important forms with you! How about textbooks? Print out your textbook list and start searching! Check online vendors before settling for the bookstores retail price.

Step 9: Thank You Cards

Write thank you cards for your family and friends. There are plenty of reasons to be thankful for: moral support, financial help, grad gifts, etc. It’s a nice touch and a thank you card never goes unnoticed.

Move-in Series: 2 Weeks Away from College Move-in Day

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Move into College

Welcome back to the move-in series! We’re now just two weeks away from move-in day and the finish line is in sight. For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the series, allow me to explain: this is part three of a four part series that gives step by step instructions for high school grads preparing for move-in day at college. We share plenty of helpful tips and tricks to help high school grads transition from their bedroom to their dorm room. Here’s seven helpful steps to follow when you’re two weeks away from move-in day.

Step 1: The Checklist

Whether you printed out one of our college ready lists, or made one of your own, it’s time to pull it out and look it over. Once again, go through your checklist and make sure you have everything you need. Order those last minute items with expedited shipping or make a run to the store. Don’t forget about food! Be sure to add food to your list. If you plan on making a run to the grocery store before move-in day, avoid buying perishable foods. Hold off on buying food like fresh fruit until you find a place to store it in your dorm.

Step 2: Pack, Pack, Pack

By now you should have most of your belongings packed and ready to go. Anything that you are not currently using should be packed, with the exception of items such as clothing, toiletries, and the like. Be careful of fragile items like picture frames and electronics. If you don’t have any bubble wrap lying around (and most of us don’t), use a few spare towels to wrap up fragile items. Stay organized while you pack by labeling your boxes and bags.  Keep all of your packed belongings in a designated spot at home as to avoid misplacing anything.

Step 3: Move-in day plan

How will you get to college? Are you moving in alone? How will you fit everything into the car? These are the kinds of questions that you should consider. If you’re taking a car, plan on loading it up the night before. Perhaps it would just be easier to ship everything or rent a truck. Once there, you need to figure out how you will move everything in. Ask your family members, friends, and roommate for help. If you’re moving in alone, consider hiring movers. Don’t hurt yourself trying to lug everything up to your dorm! Stay on track by creating a schedule for move-in day. It doesn’t have to be super detailed, but have general sense of when you want to leave, how long you want to spend unpacking, etc. Consider setting aside some time to go out to eat with your family. Think of it as a last meal and a final goodbye. Also, you want to leave plenty of time for yourself to explore the campus and attend events.

Step 4: Freshen up

New school, new home, why not a new hairdo? Get a haircut to look fresh for your first week as an undergrad; consider a whole new ‘do as you redefine your persona away from home. While you’re at it, spice up your wardrobe with a trip to the mall. Pick out a new outfit or two and arrive in style on move-in day!

Step 5: College Prep

Print out your schedule and book list. Start browsing around for textbooks and see if you can find a fair price. Buying used is a great way to save money and you can always sell the books back! Be advised that not all professors teach by the book…literally. If the book is only “recommended” or “suggested” you may not need it. Before you buy that $300 textbook, send your professor an email and ask if the book is required.  On the flip side, do not walk into class empty handed if the book is required for the course. Getting ahold of an in-demand textbook during the semester is a struggle. For a full guide to textbook shopping, check out the post Textbooks 101 for College Classes on our blog.

Step 6: Create a college bucket list

Make a list of all the things you want to accomplish and achieve at college. Perhaps you want to go on an overnight hike. Maybe you want to get straight A’s your first semester. Once you’ve come up with about ten goals, pin the list up on the wall. At the end of each semester, cross out what you’ve accomplished and add new goals. Hold yourself responsible for completing what you set out to do. Want to have even more fun? Share the list with your friends and ask them to go along with you on your adventures.

Step 7: Research student services

Check out all the student services offered at your school. Need help building your résumé? Not sure what career you want to pursue? Luckily for you, student services are available to help you with these things and more! Looking for an internship? Check with student services to see what contacts they have. You may be far from home, but help is right around the corner!

Move-in Series: 1 Month Out (aka Grind-time)

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Move in series 2

We’re back again with our Move-in Series. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, we are providing a step by step guide for high school grads preparing to move into the residence halls. Now that we’re a month away from move-in day, it’s time to knuckle down and take care of business. Follow the eight steps below to make the most of your time at home!

Step 1: Shopping Online

You still have plenty of time to order online and have things shipped before move-in day. Remember to stick to your budget, and pick out a dorm-room style that really speaks to you. Tip: don’t leave this till the last minute! You don’t want to end up settling for a last minute in-store purchase of something essential like your bedding or rug. Also, make sure you know how long items will take to ship in order to keep everything organized.

Be sure to check out OCM for the best deals and giveaways. Enter to win OCM’s Room Goals Instant Win Giveaway and stay tuned for future giveaways! Our blog and social media pages will keep you in the loop with all of the new products as well as college life advice.

Step 2: Professional Tasks

If you’re working a summer job, it’s almost time to put in your two weeks’ notice. Don’t wait until the last couple of days to quit your job. Leave on a good note so that you have a reference to put on your résumé – because perhaps you want to come back next summer and work again. Either way, make the right choice and give at least two weeks’ notice.

The next task is to build or update your résumé. A strong résumé should reflect your academic and professional achievements. You are bound to make connections in college both personally and professionally. So keep that résumé up to date; you won’t regret it! Take a look at our blog for more résumé help and advice.

Step 3: Network

Want to avoid that awkward silence when you first meet your roommate? Reach out to your roommate via text or social media. Before you get lost in conversation about who knows what, be sure to ask them about their plans for move-in day. Matter of fact, there are 11 essential questions that you need to ask. You’ll be spending a lot of time together over the course of the next year or two, so get friendly!

Talk to them about the serious stuff too. Let them know if you have any sort of medical condition in advance – that way, if something were to go wrong, they will know how to help.

Also, don’t be scared to reach out to your fellow classmates! You’re not the only one going off to college for the first time. You’re all in this together so make the most of it. It’s always comforting to see friendly faces in a new environment.

Step 4:  College Life

Do you want to be a part of Greek life? Are you interested in joining a club? Looking for inexpensive places to eat on campus? Start researching places to go and things to do before you arrive. Familiarize yourself with the school’s social media pages. That way, you can stay up to date with all the events going on around campus!

Make a list of things you want to get done freshman year. This is your time to explore, meet new people, and experience all that college life has to offer. Be adventurous and go outside of your comfort zone! Most importantly, don’t let this year pass you by. Perhaps you’ve always wanted to rock climbing — so do some research, pick a date, and take a new friend!

Step 5: Practice Makes Perfect

Let’s be honest, no one likes doing laundry. But you’re going to have to do it in college so you better practice while you’re at home. Continue to hone these skills that you will need to live on your own.

And with one month left, it’s time to take a hard look in the mirror. Take a minute and do a self-evaluation. Are you a messy person? How well do you get along with others? Keep in mind you will be sharing a room with someone new. Don’t be that messy roommate who forgets to do the dishes or take out the trash. Identify your bad habits, and work on breaking them while you still have time!

Step 6: Make a Quick Buck

As you sort through your belongings, put aside items that you no longer need. Sell these items online to make some quick cash. However, make sure you don’t sell off items that you plan on using after college, such as furniture. Consider selling old electronics, clothes, sports gear, and other items you might not need.

Now’s also a good for a short-term, part-time job like dog walking or babysitting. Check local listings and put up flyers around town. You may be surprised at just how profitable this type of work can be.

Step 7: Family & Friends

Don’t forget to spend time with those closest to you! Ask your family to go out for dinner. Plan a road trip with your friends. Whatever you do, make sure you spend some quality time with your family and friends! You might not be seeing them as much once you leave for school, so now’s the perfect time to spend time with them before the big move.

Step 8: College Registration & Other Deadlines

Have you kept up with all the due dates and deadlines for college registration? Keep in mind that scholarships and financial aid may take time to process and require you to manually log-in and accept any rewards. Don’t miss out on potential financial aid or a work study grant because you missed the acceptance deadline! Set reminders and check your college email daily. Take care of any paper work and send it in – you won’t want to be stuck doing this the first week of school.

Keep updating your class schedule as move-in day draws closer. Not sure what classes you should register for? Reach out to an academic adviser for assistance or reference your degree requirements. Figure out what times and professors work best for you. There are plenty of websites that rate professors so check those out before committing to a three-hour night class with one professor. Make sure you plan around your athletics and/or club activities. You might also want to consider scheduling a rest day to break up the week. It will help cut down on stress and can act as a great time to study or catch up with friends.

Move-in Series: 2 Months Out (aka How to Get Through the Longest Summer Vacation)

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Move in 2 months out

The days, weeks, and even months leading up to the start of college can be tough. Plagued with an incurable case of senioritis, high school seniors often catch themselves doodling shopping lists and dorm room layout designs in class, daydreaming about what it would be like to pledge Greek, and longing for the days of no morning classes. We’re right there with you!

It’s hard to be patient when there is so much to look forward to. To encourage that enthusiasm, we’ll be sharing a Move-in Series specifically for students like you, that helps you to tackle all the to-do’s before moving away to college. To get you prepped and ready for move-in day, we’re going to take you through five stages. From two months away to move-in day, we’ve got you covered. Here, let’s discuss how to kick off your last summer before freshman year!

Step 1: College Registration

You may have been accepted into college, but you’re still ways away from the start of fall semester. That doesn’t mean you can’t be thinking ahead! First things first, take care of any paperwork for your school, financial aid, and/or scholarships. Get the most boring stuff out of the way first, so it’s out of sight and out of mind. While you’re at it, don’t forget to setup your college email! Check it often so you don’t miss out on any important notifications from your department or residence hall RA. Lastly, sign up for your classes early! Popular professors and time slots fill up fast, so even if you’re schedule is tentative, sign up. Dropping or adding a class is easier to do early on.

Step 2: Get your money right

Before you start shopping for all your college needs, make sure you have your finances in order. If you haven’t done so already, open up a bank account. Take care of any student loan or credit card applications. You might even apply for your first credit card to increase your credit score.

Next, build a budget that takes into account all of your income and expenses. Keep in mind a time frame for your budget. Are you budgeting for the initial dorm expenses, your first semester, or your entire freshmen year? Consider what it’ll cost for a meal plan, books, dorm supplies, clothes, etc. Plan for those big ticket items and set aside some emergency funds. Figure out what you can afford and stick to that budget!

Step 3: Gather inspiration for your dorm room

Browse around OCM and check out all of the possible color combinations for your room. If you want to add a personal touch, plan some Do It Yourself projects. Print out some pictures of family and friends to put on display. Perhaps you could even create a vision board for your room! The point is to get an idea of what you want your room to look like so you may shop smart!

Step 4: The checklist

The question “What do I need for college?” may seem like a daunting one. The easiest way to approach the checklist is by splitting everything up into two categories: things to bring and things to buy. Consider what you will bring from home: toiletries, back pack, alarm clock, photos, keepsakes, etc. Then, keeping your budget in mind, consider what you’ll have to buy: bedding, furniture, storage trunks/containers, school supplies, etc. Whatever you decide to bring with you, make sure everything will fit in your new digs. Dorms are not huge living quarters, and many come furnished. With limited space, it’s important that you pack accordingly. We have our own college packing checklist that you can print out and use to help you plan!

Step 5: Start shopping

With your moving checklist list ready to go (or at least a work in progress), begin shopping for your dorm and school supplies! You might be surprised at how long it takes to gather and pack everything you need, so it helps to get started as early as possible.

Ordering online is hassle-free, but you have to account for time and money spent on shipping. Also, if you were to forget an item or need to return one, having an extra month to do so is beneficial. As far as packing goes, it’s not a priority at this stage. However, you should go over your checklist from time to time, adding items when necessary, and reminding yourself of what you still need to buy and pack.

Step 6: Preparing for life away from home

You may not be a jack of trades, but you should know basics for living on your own. That means learning to do your laundry, cooking a dorm-friendly meal, and basic car maintenance if you plan to bring your car to campus. The best way to practice these skills is by doing it at home!

Ask your family and friends for help when you get stuck, but be sure to try each of these things on your own. After all, you may not have guidance when you go to do it yourself in school! You need to put in the effort now to learn so it will come as second nature in college. If you are forgetful, or just can’t find the time, put together a schedule. Designate days and times for doing laundry, cooking meals, and whatever else you need to practice.

Step 7: Spend time with family & friends

Planning for college can be stressful, but it’s important to make time for family and friends. After all, you are moving away in two months! Don’t know what do or where to go? Plan a trip to the beach, go on a hike, or just hang out. Whatever you do, enjoy the time spent with your family and friends, making and documenting memories you can think back to when you’re miles apart.