I’m writing this post today a bit selfishly, as I’m about to embark on the dreaded bring-your-college-freshman-to-school day.
I’ve got mixed feelings, like all parents do – a mix of excitement and pride. But right now it’s mostly panic.
It’ll be an emotional day.
To prepare myself for the inevitable roller coaster of emotions, I’ve collected the very best tips I’ve heard from moms who’ve done it before. I’ve also found nuggets from across the web.
It’ll help make for a relatively smooth (though not without tears) move in day.
And, Mom…I hope it helps you, too.
- Book a Hotel: Plan to arrive in town the day before and book a hotel room early. Every freshman will have the same move-in schedule, so if you’re coming from out of town be sure to plan now. Make dinner reservations at a place in town, while you’re at it.
- Shop: If your teen still has dorm shopping to do, take a close look at what stores like Bed, Bath & Beyond, Target or The Container Store will do to ship for free, or to deliver to the store in your teen’s college town to hold until you get there. As of this writing, Bed, Bath & Beyond is offering a College Savings Pass to receive 20% off your teen’s entire purchase, plus free shipping, for a year. Do your research to get some really great deals!
- Pack: Learn ahead of time what the dorm will look like and how much space is there for your teen’s gear. Many college websites will show photos and/or 360 degree views of a dorm room. You’ll likely also find cabinet, desk and bed dimensions to use when determining sizes for sheets and storage containers. Pack in duffel bags or garbage bags – regular luggage won’t fit in a typical dorm.
- Prepare: Read carefully through the move-in day information sent by the college. Sign up for a time slot (if they’re offered) early. Know where you’re going to get the dorm key. Find out if you can park close to your teen’s dorm to unload gear. And remember to bring any paperwork needed for the financial aid office, admissions, residence halls, etc.
- Be Comfortable: Wear practical shoes and casual clothes for multiple trips up stairs and to help your teen unpack.
- Make Friends: Bring goodies and drinks to share with other students and parents. It’s a great way for your teen to meet other students on their floor and make a great first impression!
- Clean Up: Sometimes dorms aren’t as clean as they could be on move-in day. Use cleaning wipes to wash away any grime from surfaces before unpacking.
- Be Patient: This is going to be a stressful day. Know this from the beginning and do your best to reign it in, for everyone’s sanity.
- Leaving: Say goodbye quickly, and don’t linger too long. Take cues from your kid as to when is the right time to leave. It’s going to be an uncomfortable time for both of you, so ripping that band-aid off and heading out after unpacking is best. This will allow your teen to have some time to connect with new friends and ease into the feeling of living on her own.
- Plan: Most colleges have a parents or family weekend within a couple of months of the start of school. Book a hotel room right away for this weekend before they’re no longer available, and make those dinner reservations.
- Connect: Write letters to your teen and send care packages. There’s likely to be a little homesickness, and students love receiving mail from home! Keep in touch via text and phone.
Ugh, you gals. I’ve already got all the feels. This is a really big step in your teenager’s life and, by golly, in your own. Take some time to congratulate yourself for an amazing job done with this wonderful kid – you’ve done so well!
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