5 Things You Need To Know Before Moving To College

Hey friend! Welcome back! Today we are talking about the essential things you need to know before moving into a college dorm or apartment!

Moving away to college can be a scary experience for some people because they’ve never lived anywhere but home. But I’m here to tell you that it can be a fun and exciting experience! Make sure to read all of my tips and also feel free to ask questions!

My college journey was unique because I commuted my first two years to community college, then lived in the dorms for two years while finishing my bachelor’s degree, and then lived in two apartments during my master’s program. So I’ve lived in quite a few places and I am going to tell you what you need to know!

1. Before moving to college make a list of things that you need to bring with you.

Many colleges and universities have lists on their websites of things they suggest you bring with you. There is also usually a list of things that you can’t bring to a dorm with you (i.e. candles, toasters, and pets) – so look at your school’s website. Below is a short list of things I found useful when living in a dorm and apartment in my college town!

Things that I found useful when living in a dorm:

Pillows, Sheets, & Blankets



Shower Caddy for Toiletries

Shower Shoes (Sandals)

Desk Organizer


Plastic Dishes


Good Pair of Walking Shoes

Plastic Storage Bin Tower

2 Large Plastic Bins

Clothes Hangers

Lint Roller

Blackout Curtains

Things that I found useful to add to the above list when living in an apartment:



Blackout Curtains


Good Pair of Walking Shoes

Futon or Chair

Shower Curtain & Rings

Bathroom Rug

Pots & Pans

Dining Table & Chairs

Silverware & Plates

Small TV

Remember this is not a complete list! These are just a few things that I think most people might use. If you’re missing something you can always run to the store in your town.

BONUS TIP: Make sure to look at the thrift stores and antique shops in college towns! They have great stuff for cheaper prices than the chain stores. You could even make a DIY project if you have time! Also look for stuff at the dollar stores – they have cute storage options and decor!

2. Invest in a good pair of walking shoes. You will need them!

Make sure to pack a good pair of walking shoes when moving to college. You will be walking all over campus and will want comfy shoes! Some campuses cover miles and your feet could hurt if you don’t have good shoes.

If you need to wear professional shoes for a presentation I recommend sticking your heels or sandals in a plastic sack inside your backpack and switching shoes once you get to class! My life was forever changed when I started doing this! Your feet will definitely thank you 🙂

Here’s a little bit of insider information from a person who commuted for two years – make sure that you have comfy shoes because the close parking spots fill up fast and you will likely find yourself walking a long way to get to class… It happens, but good shoes can help!

Also, as a commuter I also tried to leave a spare pair of shoes and socks in the trunk in case it rained and my shoes got wet. There’s nothing worse than having to wear soggy socks for an entire day of school… trust me. Just pack the extra shoes on rainy days! Stick them in a plastic sack so nothing else in your trunk will get wet if you change shoes!

3. Talk to anyone and everyone in your first few weeks of the semester! And keep in contact with people you met at orientation.

Odds are that you had to attend some kind of orientation for new students – whether it was virtually or in-person. Try to keep in contact with these people and meet up with them once school starts. You can go to a coffee shop, Welcome Week event, or have a Zoom call – whatever you feel is safe for you!

Many dorms and apartment complexes will host “Back to School” bashes where you can meet new people too. If you see someone in the hallway make sure to say hi and introduce yourself! The people on my floor were so much fun and all had really cool stories.

Try to attend some of the Welcome Week events that your school hosts. I’ve noticed nowadays that colleges and universities are hosting in-person and virtual events! So try to attend one however you safely can 🙂

4. Make sure that you have completed all of your paperwork and have copies of all the important documents you might need.

Make sure that you have completed all of the paperwork before move-in day at your school! Some of this is done online, while other papers might need to be printed out and signed.

BONUS TIP: If you plan on working a job while going to school (part-time or full-time) make sure to have copies of all documents you need to fill out employment paperwork. This includes your license, social security card, and voided checks. I had friends who had to travel home and get their paperwork and it was a mess. So save yourself the trouble!

5. Know that moving to college can be a big transition. It is okay to be nervous and to make time for yourself.

Moving to college can be a big adjustment – give yourself grace and time to create a new routine and make new friends. Make sure to have time for yourself somewhere quiet. You can talk to your roommate about setting boundaries about quiet times.

I also recommend walking around campus and finding some of the quiet spots. My university was pretty large so there were quite a few quiet spots to study if you knew where to find them. Try studying in different locations too. And you don’t always have to be studying – you can go somewhere quiet just to breathe and think!

Concluding Thoughts

Congratulations on moving to college or university! I am so proud of you and know that you’re going to do great things! Remember it is okay to be nervous about this transition, but don’t let it get you down because everyone is nervous. If you are having problems when you get to college make sure to talk to your parents and find a mentor on campus that can help you with the transition. I hope this helps!

Good luck! I’ll talk to ya soon! 🙂

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