Dorm

The Incoming College Freshman Checklist (What to Bring to College)

Congratulations, you’re officially a college freshman! This is both an exciting and frightening transition for most students. There are many things to do in the summer before college, and it can be difficult to know how to get ready. There are things to pack, people to say goodbye to, and forms to fill out. 

For those already stressing over this new life chapter, there are plenty of ways to prepare before even stepping foot in a classroom or dorm. We’ve compiled a list of all of the important must-do items, so if you work through it a little at a time – you’ll be done before you know it!

Before you arrive on campus, use the following checklist to make sure you stay on track:

1. Make a Commitment

Once you’ve made your decision about which college to attend, you’ll need to commit to that college. You may be able to do this online or you may have to do it in writing.

You’ll need to send in your deposit, complete and accept the financial aid application, and fill out any health forms that are required the summer before college. Be sure to read the information closely and promptly respond to all of the forms you receive from your college so as to not miss any deadlines. 

Read through your acceptance letter completely and take note of important dates. Dates to keep in mind may include:

  • Deadline to accept admission (and pay the acceptance fee, if applicable) 
  • Deadline to submit final high school transcript 
  • Deadline to take placement tests 
  • Deadline to apply for housing 
  • Deadline to file your financial aid documents 
  • Deadline to sign up for orientation 

2. Establish Housing

Since many colleges require incoming freshmen to live in dorms, chances are high you’re going to have a roommate. Whether you are living on campus in a dorm or off campus in an apartment or house, make sure you have your housing lined up as early as possible. If you’re staying on campus, see if you can request housing that is close to your classes so you can save time each day. 

If your college has assigned a roommate, reach out by phone, connect through social media, get to know each other, and coordinate on furnishing and decorating your dorm. 

If you are looking for off-campus housing, make sure you check out several locations that meet your budget and your needs. Also, be sure to read your lease in its entirety, so you know what your landlord expects.

3. Schedule a Campus Tour

You can walk around the campus on your own, but scheduling a guided tour will give you more insight into the different areas of campus and what you can expect on your first day. While you’re exploring campus, make sure you note where the emergency points and security office are located. Both parents and students should take time before the semester begins to become familiar with the campus’ safety resources and procedures.

If you’re attending a college out of state, use this time to explore your new location. Now’s the time to research the popular restaurants, the nearest theaters and music venues, the parks in your proximity; to research the history, culture, and local population; and to identify some of the neighborhoods, landmarks, attractions, and adjacent towns worth seeing.

4. Register for Orientation

Orientation for incoming students may be mandatory at your college, but if it isn’t – try your best to attend anyway. This is especially important if you haven’t been able to visit the college beforehand. Register for an early orientation to (hopefully) get the classes you want, as well as to familiarize yourself with the campus and to see your official dorm and cafeteria options firsthand.

Orientation is a crucial time to start making friends, research clubs and organizations, and get to know your campus environment. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to ask questions and get involved. It’s important to note that everyone is going through the same thing, so don’t be shy – try to make as many connections as you can. 

5. Practice Life Skills

Your parents are most likely not heading off to college with you. This means you are responsible for your cooking, cleaning, and laundry – maybe for the first time in your life. Now is a great time to practice. Take the opportunity to learn how to cook some quick and simple meals, wash and dry your clothing properly, and clean up after yourself. 

Make sure you have established a checking and savings account that you can access to pay bills or withdraw cash as needed. These essential skills will keep your life outside the classroom on track.

6. Visit Your Doctor

Get up to date on all your vaccinations; most colleges require that you submit updated vaccination information before or during your first year.

If you have a regular or essential prescription, work with your doctor to have it transferred before you leave to a pharmacy near your campus, or get a second prescription written. In general, this is a chance to get a clean bill of health, update prescriptions, and ask your doctor any pressing questions before you leave home.

7. Start Networking

If you haven’t done this already, now would be a good time to engage with your college online. It’s a great way to participate in ongoing discussions and also familiarize yourself with the culture and lingo of the college.

One of the best ways to connect with other prospective or accepted freshmen at your university is through social media. Try searching your university with your prospective class year and see if any groups exist. Add your future school onto your profile on Facebook and LinkedIn to help encourage the connections even further.

Use this time to clean up your social media and make sure everything you post online represents your best self.

  • Double check that comments made by you and your friends are positive and professional
  • Make sure all photos (not just your profile image and cover images) are appropriate
  • Set your privacy settings accordingly 

Look for ways to get involved on campus, whether you want to join a club or team (or both). Spend some time researching the clubs and organizations related to your major, or check out some of the varsity, intramural or club sports your school hosts. Get an idea of what’s available before you get to campus so you don’t waste any time once you’re there.

8. Pack, Pack, Pack! 

The best way to feel prepared for your new adventure is knowing you’re fully prepared. Explore our college packing list for dorm room and apartment essentials. 

Before you buy or pack anything, be sure to check with your school about what items are and are not allowed. Most schools have to be very careful about health and safety regulations, and rules differ from place to place. Check out our Official College Packing List (College Must-Haves), which includes dorm room essentials (or apartment essentials), school supplies for college, and other key items for move-in day.

College move-in day can be extremely thrilling and a little scary. Even though moving into the dorms, finding your classes, and adjusting to your new surroundings can be overwhelming, remember to enjoy the experience. You’ll be making friends, discovering new hobbies, and learning more about yourself than ever before in no time!

Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!

References: 

  1. https://blog.collegeboard.org/summer-before-college-checklist
  2. https://studentaid.gov/resources/prepare-for-college/checklists/12th-grade
  3. https://bigfuture.collegeboard.org/get-in/making-a-decision/off-to-college-checklist
  4. https://thebestschools.org/magazine/summer-before-college/
  5. https://www.nitrocollege.com/blog/4-checklists-for-college 

Cleaning Guide for Dorm Rooms

Living in a dorm is a wonderful experience. Having meals prepared for you is a luxury every college student misses when they move out of the dorms and into their own apartment. However, just because dorms are meant to be low maintenance living does not mean you can get away with doing nothing. It is important to clean and care for your dorm room so that you don’t lose your security deposit. Having a clean room also keeps you and your roommates healthier and creates a more positive atmosphere. Here is cleaning guide to help you keep your dorm room in top shape!

Supplies

Dorm rooms are typically not very big. You don’t need a whole arsenal of cleaning supplies to get a proper clean. A few staples that are good to have on hand include:

  • Disinfecting wipes
  • All purpose cleaning spray
  • Duster
  • Dish soap
  • Old towels designated for cleaning
  • Air freshener spray (make sure to check with your roommates first to make sure they are okay with the use of air fresheners)

You will also need a vacuum or mop depending on the type of floor in your dorm room. However, most dorms will have these available for check-out at the front desk.

Cleaning

Cleaning is not a very fun or exciting activity, but it is necessary. Taking the time once a month to thoroughly clean everything in your dorm room will keep your place neat and save you time in the long run. A thorough cleaning includes:

  • Dusting all decoration items and knick-knacks
  • Using disinfecting wipes to clean surfaces such as desks, side tables, and cabinets
  • Washing the bedding including sheets and pillow cases
  • Using all purpose spray to clean heavily used or dirty items such as sinks and door handles
  • Vacuuming or mopping the floor depending on the floor type your room has

Other Things to Consider

A once a month clean up is the best way to keep your dorm room in shape. With help from your roommates it can be completed fairly quickly. You should stay proactive between cleanups to keep your room fresh for as long as possible. Wash dishes immediately after you use them. Take out the trash and do laundry as needed to keep piles of dirty objects from building up in your room. Clean up any spills or messes immediately.

With a little work you can keep your dorm room clean and fresh all year long. Have any tips for keeping a dorm room clean? Leave them in the comment section below!

7 Do’s & Don’ts for Decorating Your New Dorm Room

As a college freshman, there are so many different things to plan for when preparing for the big move to your new college dorm room.  When I was starting freshman year, I knew I wanted to bring a little bit of home with me, to remind me of all the things that got me where I was, as well as start off fresh and introduce a fun and energetic style to my new living space. Many college dorm rooms seem to be so bland, cold and drab…but they don’t have to be!

You may think that your college dorm room has no decorating potential but there are many savvy design and storage techniques to make your new place into a home away from home.  It isn’t easy to look at your dorm and be able to envision all of its potential, but with a few tips and some creativity, you will be able to turn your space into a comfortable and cozy home.

DORM DO’S:

DO think of your dorm room as a home away from home. You want to feel comfortable coming back to your room after a long day of classes, and feel that your dorm is your safe haven.  Bring items that are familiar to you from when you lived back at home such as pictures, stuffed animals or blankets—anything that brings comfort in order to make the transition easier.

DO collaborate with your roommate.  If you and your new roommate are willing to coordinate a theme, the two of you can have a lot of fun with it! Themed rooms are a simple way to pull a small, bland room together, and getting your roommate involved will make the decorating process easier and more fun, and hopefully will help the two of you to get to know each other better. It can also be a big help to coordinate ahead of time the items you plan on bringing so you avoid bringing the same things.

DO be creative as possible when decorating your room…but be aware of building safety codes and regulations.  Some universities have restrictions on what you can bring into your dorm room such as hot plates and candles, as well as restrictions on what you can hang from the ceilings.   But other than that, be as creative as you want! Color-coordinated linens and curtains, decorative rugs, entertainment centers and consoles, books and posters are all an option, and just the starting point.  There are many DIY projects online that can help you add some creative design to your walls if you want to go even further.

Fun tip—instead of taping a bunch of photos to the wall and cluttering your space, consider blowing one picture up to poster size to make a bigger statement.

DO consider bed risers if you want to maximize under-bed storage space.  Seeing that the space is limited in most dorm rooms, you have to get creative in order to maximize your storage space.  Simple things such as raising your bed will create space you never knew you had! Wait until you’re on campus to buy storage and organization bins so you can get a better idea about the space you’re working with.

DORM DON’TS:

DON’T over pack and bring so much that move-out will be a huge pain.  Remember everything you bring into that dorm room is going to have to leave in only a years’ time, and you also accumulate things as the year passes.  So be careful on all the stuff you decide to keep in your dorm room because eventually it will be your responsibility to move it out. A long move-out process is the last thing you’re going to want to do when you’re on your first summer break as a college student.

Don’t bring items that heat up, it’s best to leave them at home.  Items such as lava lamps, candles, grills and toasters are most likely going to be forbidden in your building and frankly they are a big hazard that you don’t want to have to worry about.

Don’t panic about the things you forgot.  If you forget anything you can always buy it at a local store in your college’s town.  And don’t worry, there will be plenty of other college students in the same boat as you.

Have more DORM DO’S & DON’TS? Please share them with us in the space below!

About the Author: Trae Lewis is a recent graduate from the University of Colorado at Boulder, where she majored in journalism. She is currently a staff writer for CollegeFocus and an active community blogger. You can find CollegeFocus on Facebook at www.fb.com/collegefocus.

The Ultimate Dorm Essentials Checklist

Freaking out about moving into the dorms this fall, or know someone who is? I know when I was moving into the dorms I was a mess. When I was making a list of everything I needed I kept leaving things off. It’s really hard to think of all the stuff you are going to need. Thankfully, this checklist has all the essentials on it and you won’t have to worry about whether or not you have everything. Makes everything so much easier! Take it with you when you go dorm shopping, share it with your friends, or just share it in general! It will come in handy when you get that feeling that you’re forgetting something. You can also download and print the PDF version of our Dorm Essentials Checklist here.

Embed this Checklist on your Blog!

10 Benefits of Living Off Campus

In all of my six years in college (be nice I am working on my third degree) I have never lived in a dorm.  I never saw the appeal of living in the dorms.  I just saw them as small, generally smelly spaces that hundreds of people have slept in prior to me arriving.  So I always chose to live off campus.

Sure there were some drawbacks including parking passes and paying rent, but there were also a lot of perks.  I have my own space, my own room, and my own bathroom.  I had a roommate in my first apartment, but at least I got to choose who they were.  I believe that the biggest perk of living off campus was that it taught me how to be responsibile.  I had to work to pay my rent and bills, so I quickly learned how to multi-task.  This also taught me about the art of money management and budgeting.  Trust me, living in Florida and having your electric shut off in the middle of summer will really teach you to pay your bills on time!  Here are some of the reasons that I think it is better to live off-campus while in college:

Reason #1 – You are in charge of every aspect of your living situation.  If you want to leave dishes in the sink and come home drunk at 3am you can.

Reason #2 – It teaches you economic responsibility.  You are in charge of paying rent, bills and all the other expenses.

Reason #3 – You get to have pets (If your landlord allows it).

Reason #4 – If you need to, or choose to, have roommates you are the one selecting them not a college admission counselor.

Reason #5 – You get your own kitchen and bathroom.

Reason #6 – If you have odd living tendencies (like needing to mop your floors three times a day) then you are free to do it without judgment in your own space.

Reason #7 – You are always accountable, again teaching you even more responsibility.  It is your job to get up and head to class, there is not a friend down the hall who will bang on your door to make sure you are awake.

Reason #8 – FREEDOM! There is no RA overseeing your behavior and there is no need to sign in or out.

Reason #9 – You learn the reality of how much things cost.  Buying dishes, towels, curtains, etc. gets SUPER expensive quickly and it is better to learn that lesson sooner than later.

Reason #10 – You get to have a car that you don’t have to walk a mile to get to.

Can you think of any other benefits of living off campus? Sound off in the comments below!

 

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