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Preparing for College

Avoiding Pitfalls when Moving Off to College

Student with cardboard box moving in to the campus

Moving away to college is not only a complex event in the life of a young adult, but an event which completely transforms that life as adulthood looms and childhood melts away into the past. While your parents have probably shared their own experiences with you as moving day approaches, some things have changed pretty dramatically since they went to a university. That's why you, as a college student in today's world, need to know just how to approach moving to college in the modern world in order to avoid the many possible pitfalls of the experience.

Here at, we understand that traversing the path to college can be difficult to understand and execute, which is why we've come up with these ten tips that can help you prepare for the adventure to come.

1. Don't Let Your Emotions Drive You: Moving off to college is not only complex and difficult, but it can be a very emotional time as well. You will be moving on from your childhood and a time when you lived at home full time, to a time when you are away from your parents for long periods. At the same time, it is important not to let those emotions drive you when you begin to pack. You probably have tons of things that you have an emotional attachment to, and you might want to pack a lot of them, but a dorm room is small. Keep the size of your new home in mind as you pack rather than taking everything that reminds you of home. Instead, pack only a couple of these items and keep functionality in the forefront of your plans.

2. Plan Ahead: Perhaps the most important tip of all for students who are moving away to college is to take the time to plan ahead. Moving is a task that requires organization and coordination, both of which are difficult to come by if you don't plan things out in advance. Ask your parents for help in this regard, as they have probably moved a couple of times in their lifetime and they know you need to plan out what to pack, who to contact, and in what order various moving related tasks should be accomplished.

3. Communicate with Roommates: Just like in any other relationship, communication is important when you will be moving in with one or more other people. When living in a dorm situation, roommates are simply a fact of life. To avoid some of the biggest pitfalls associated with moving to college, be sure that you communicate with your new roommates as soon as you get their contact information from the college you will be attending. This way, you can each bring something that will add to the room as a whole without overlapping and bringing multiple items such as furniture or large things that will be troublesome to have multiples of.

4. Label Everything: Moving day is going to be chaotic and things are probably going to get placed where you didn't want them or where they didn't belong. There's even a very good chance that your things will be mixed up with those of your new roommates. To avoid problems where you lose something that you need fairly soon after the move, make sure that you label all of your things and all of your boxes. By using labels with your name, you can avoid problems from the very beginning.

5. Protect Your Valuables: Even if you are moving to college, you probably have some valuables that you want to take with you. As such, make sure that you take some time to protect these valuables so they make it to your new home, however temporary, without suffering any damage. There are a couple of ways to do this, but make sure you pad these items carefully and pack them in boxes that are clearly labeled as being fragile. Consider purchasing a small insurance policy as well so that you can be absolutely sure your goods will arrive at your new dorm without issue.

6. Choose Smaller Options: Since your space is going to be limited when you move to college, and you will most likely be sharing your living space with other people, it is vital to choose the smaller options of anything you wish to bring. For example, instead of bringing the desktop computer, pack your laptop. Instead of packing stereo equipment, pack an ipod or mp3 player. Remember, you don't want to crowd your living area, but you want to be comfortable at the same time. Don't leave your favorite things at home, but choose the smaller of your options when you can to save space.

7. Your 'Essentials' Kit: There will be moments when you really miss your parents, such as the second you remember that you didn't pack that screwdriver or hammer and you want to hang a picture. This is why it's so important to remember an essential kit that includes the little things you might need to perform simple tasks that you might have taken for granted at one time. Include a hammer, some picture hangers, wall adhesive strips, a screwdriver, some paper plates and plastic silverware, a couple of plastic cups, and anything else you and your parents can think of that may be important in this respect.

8. Plan to Unpack and Organize: Planning ahead for the unpacking process can be important in helping to reduce the stress and chaos following the move. If you have followed the other tips in this list, however, unpacking shouldn't be difficult. Boxes with labels can easily be placed in areas where they make the most sense, and if you've planned ahead, you should have only enough to fill your personal area without having overflow that can frustrate your roommates or crowd you out of your own space.

9. Know How to Handle Moving Day: No matter how far away you are moving from your current home to your new college dorm, be sure that you are prepared ahead of time to handle moving day. This will be one of the most hectic and stressful days of your life, but you can take some of the stress out of the equation by being prepared. Know where your things are, how to organize efficiently, and communicate with those who will be sharing your living space so that the essentials, such as furniture, are moved in first and personal decor is saved until the end.

10. Save Money on the Whole Process: If you are planning to go off to college, you probably are already well aware of the costs that the process entails. Between college tuition and the costs associated with your movers, you are sure to note your wallet is much thinner as moving day approaches. As such, it is important to take time to save money where you can throughout the process. Consider used boxes, using linens as padding for fragile items, and generally packing light to accomplish this.

Reversing the Process

From your current standpoint, it might be hard to think that one day you will be moving away from college, but eventually that day will come as well. The tips outlined above are easily modified to make such a transition easier as well. When that time times, and you are nearly complete with your college degree and are seeking a new place to begin your adult life, be sure to keep these tips in hand so that relocation on the path to the rest of your life is just as simple as moving to college was. It might be a lot to think of right now as you are moving into your dorm room, but committing these tips to memory will only serve you in your life as you go from place to place throughout the coming days, months, and years of your promising future.


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