Avenues To Higher Education

How to Pack for College

By Leticia Duenas on August 22, 2017

Pink-Manicured Hand Writing List Titled "My Plan"

You have selected a school, picked your roommates, picked a major (maybe), registered for classes… Now it’s time to pack and move into your new dorm. How do you know what to bring with you? What should you leave behind? What can you buy after you’ve moved in?

The first thing to do is check your school’s housing website for information on what is provided. Review policies on items that are prohibited on campus or in your specific dorm. Check out these lists and guidelines thoroughly to help you determine what you should bring along. You can also search online for a list of recommended items; here is one suggestion from FastWeb. In the meantime, here are some tips.


Consider the climate at your school and how often you will travel home. Do not pack all of your winter clothes if you plan to visit home before the seasons change. You can swap items if you travel home for a visit. Bring a few items of clothing for activities that may require dressier attire such as a job or formal events.


Pack enough hygiene essentials to get you through your first few weeks. Don’t forget cleaning supplies and any prescriptions. Remember that the storage in your new residence will be limited, especially since you are likely sharing the space with other people.


Again, remember the limitations on space. Chat with your roommate(s) before moving in about items you are interested bringing to avoid having multiple items, or too few of the essentials. Utilize pieces that can have multiple purposes to maximize the space in the room.


Even if you have a meal plan, you should plan to have some snacks on hand for short breaks between classes or when you need fuel to get you through studying. Consider food that is easily transportable, requires little preparation and can be easily stored in your new residence.


You will be spending a significant amount of time in your new home. Have fun making your dorm room reflect who you are by adding some personal items.

A note about your car

If you are not bringing a car to campus, consider making some of your purchases online and have your items delivered to you on campus. Check out local retailers in advance and look for special discounts during move-in weekend. If you do have a car, coordinate a shopping trip with your new neighbors. This is a good way to build new friendships and get to know the people with whom you will be sharing a living space.


Remember that you are not only moving into a new place on your own, you are also leaving your home, family and friends. This move is a physical symbol of your transition into adulthood. And so, I leave you with a poem by Kelly Radi to honor this time in the lives of you and your families:

‘Twas the Night Before Move-In Day