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.