How to Prepare for College Dorm Move-in

Moving to college should be as painless as possible, and that’s why we’ve compiled a wealth of information on how to prepare for moving to college. Check out our list below to make your college dorm move-in day as seamless as possible.

How Soon Do you Move Into a College Dorm Before Classes Start?

When do you move into a college dorm
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You can expect to typically move in to a college dorm 1-4 days prior to classes starting. Classes will typically start on a Monday, while move-in begins the preceding Thursday through Sunday. For freshmen, earlier move-in is recommend, if possible, to get unpacked and become familiar with the dorm, campus, and your new roommate(s).

How Soon should I move Into my Dorm?

The earlier you can move into your dorm, the better. Moving in earlier will allow for you to adjust to your new environment without the distracts and stress of classes starting. Making new friends, becoming comfortable with your new home, and knowing where your classes are before day 1 will help tremendously.

When do Most Colleges and Freshmen Move-in to a Dorm?

The majority of colleges will host fall move-in day during the month of August. On average, move-in day is typically around August 15th-20th, or 1-4 days prior to the start of classes. During the spring semester, classes will typically start in mid-late January, and you will move back into the dorms the weekend prior.

How to Prepare for Dorm Move-in Day

How to prepare for college dorm-move in
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1. Determine which Items you need to Pack for College

You can click here to check out our extensive college packing lists. If it’s your senior year of high school, it’s important to begin preliminary preparation 6-12 months prior to starting college. You should begin looking at what you need to bring, what you have, what the dorm provides, and what you need to potentially purchase. Planning ahead will allow for you to purchase items around popular sales.

2. Check what your Roommate is Bringing

A couple months prior to moving to college, and after you know who your roommate(s) will be, coordinate who is bringing what items. Usually, one roommate will have a TV or a common shared item. After coordinating, it’s important to begin purchasing in advance. We highly recommend purchasing via Amazon and having the items shipped to the dorms around move-in time.

3. Check with your College on Insurance Requirements

The majority of college dorms will either cover the needs for insurance, or it will be included within your homeowners insurance. However, be sure to check as every university is different.

4. Pack Seasonal Clothes to Save Space

When moving to college in the fall, pack for the clothes needed in the fall and early winter. When moving back to college for the spring semester, pack for the late winter and early spring. Unless you’re coming in from out of state, moving seasonal clothes will significantly save on space.

5. Check on Immunization Requirements

Every university has differing requirements when preparing to move. Be sure that you are up-to-date on all the required immunizations.

6. Sign-up for Amazon Student Prime

We highly recommend signing up for Amazon’s Student Prime (click here to check it out). It’s a heavily discounted version of the standard Amazon Prime which offers free two day shipping on nearly all items, as well as exclusive offers only for college students. This will help tremendously when preparing for college and purchasing all of your items.

7. Compare the Price of Required Course Textbooks

After getting your class schedule and textbook requirements, be smart on where you buy the textbooks. Purchasing textbooks from the college bookstore is such a waste of money. We highly recommend checking out Chegg (click here) in order to purchase or rent textbooks. They are significantly cheaper than buying from the college bookstore, and you’re bound to save $100’s over your first semester or year.

What to do the Day Before Dorm Move-in Day

What to do on college dorm move-in day
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1. Do a Final Check Through your Packing List

Make sure that you have everything purchased or plans on how to purchase items that are still needed. Don’t forget important items such as social security cards, passports, etc.

2. If Driving, Pack your Car in Reverse Order

If you have a secure area to pack and leave a car, do so. It’s a lot easier to pack up a car the day before so that you can focus the move-in day on just driving and unloading logistics. When packing, be sure to pack in the order of how you want to unpack. We recommend packing smallest items first, followed by largest items.

3. Re-read any College Move-in Logistic Processes

Make sure that you have any items that are needed for checking in to the dorm such as proof of insurance, identity, etc. The majority of colleges provide a set move-in time, therefore it’s best to plan logistics on how long the drive will be, and show up early for your allotted time slot.

Night Before Moving into Your College Dorm

The night prior to moving can be frightening and exciting at the same time. It’s important to get proper sleep if you can; we’d recommend eight hours. You will have a long day of logistics and unpacking, so it’s important to be rested. Don’t worry though, it will go great!

What to do on College Dorm Move-in Day

What to do on college dorm move-in day
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1. Check-in, Get the Keys, Inspect the Room, Clean and Disinfect Everything

Before moving one item into your room, begin by checking-in, getting the keys, and inspecting the room. It’s important to make sure that you point out or note every imperfection in your room, and ensure that doors, cabinets and other things function properly. This is important as you could be charged at year-end if these items are not reported, as they will think the current tenant is responsible for the damage. All dorm rooms should come already cleaned, but who knows how well. Disinfect and clean everything you see in sight.

2. Identify Provided Moving Carts or Moving Aids

Every college usually provides some kind of moving cart to help assist with moving items between a car and the dorm room. These are extremely helpful as they’ll cut down on the amount of trips you need to take. If you already have a portable wagon (this one from Amazon is great), and have free car space, it’s not a bad idea to bring one.

3. Move in the Largest Items First, Followed by Smaller

It’s important to bring in the largest items first, and then smallest. This is because you’ll sometimes be placing other items in or on the largest items, so it’s important to get those setup first. Things such as desks, chairs, futons, and mini fridges should be put in the room first. Smaller items such as hygiene products and class supplies should be brought in last.

4. Unpack and Organize

After you go through and unpack everything, get to organizing and placing items where you think they’ll fit best. Having everything unpacked and organized will help with reducing the initial college anxiety, and let you concentrate on getting off on the right foot.

5. (For the Family/Friends) Leave a Heartfelt Note for the Student

Leaving a note that the student will find while unpacking or opening a drawer will be the final touch in sending them off to college. When times get tough, it will be something they can look back on and feel closer to those who they love the most.

How Long does it Take to Move into a Dorm?

On average, it will take between 1.5 – 3 hours in order to move into a college dorm. Expect 15-30 minutes for check-in, 15-30 minutes for cleaning and sanitizing your dorm room, 30 minutes – 1 hours of unloading and moving items between your car and dorm room, and 30 minutes to 1 hour unboxing and organizing.

What to do After Dorm Move-in Day, But Before Classes Start

What to do after moving into a dorm
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1. Tour Campus and Walk your College Schedule

After moving in and unpacking, go walk your campus. Some colleges will have a day before dorm move-in where you can go through and tour the campus to get familiar with where your buildings are. However, if you’re from out of town, or your college didn’t offer this, it’s an important step for being prepared for your first day of classes. We recommend getting your schedule and going on a sequenced walkthrough of where each building is relative to each other, and your dorm.

2. Get to Know your Roommate and Meet Others on Your Floor

If you don’t already know your roommate, it’s important to get off on the right foot with them. Take some time and go to lunch, dinner, or spend some quality time chatting on campus. Having a good relationship with your roommate will make your college experience significantly better. In addition, it’s important to start growing your friend group and meeting those on your floor. Many dorms will offer move-in social meetings where you can meet others. If they don’t, it’s never a bad idea to just go knocking on doors down the hall and quickly introduce yourself. Everyone moving to college is going through the same thing at the same time, so having that support network is a key to success.

Preparing for college isn’t always the easiest, but we try to make it that way. If you enjoyed this article, also check out our other one on college dorm room essentials.

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