Packing for College – Do’s and Don’ts

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I leave for college in a few months, but don’t know what to bring. What should every college student bring with them for academics, social, and dorm life? What does every student kick themselves for forgetting?”– David S., Fresno, CA
A: Lists, organization, and brainstorming will be the key essentials in transitioning from home to campus life.
First, develop your list(s) of tasks to do, in order to minimize emotional stress.  The lists will help you stay focused and organized, reducing the possibility of forgetfulness.  Jot down all the necessities you feel you will need at college.  This will help you determine what is feasible for travel; especially if there will be limitations due to your transportation; such as, a small car or an airplane.  Don’t panic if you forget something; surely you can find a replacement on campus, or in town.  If not, your parents will probably be delighted to assist you.
-          Marjorie Goode—Founder – Start Early: College & Career Planning Service
A: Someone to talk with who can help you navigate your first year
I would recommend bringing contact info for a trusted and reliable mentor to whom you can turn for miscellaneous advice. It could be a teacher, older college or grad student you met at a summer program, a guidance counselor, college consultant, or even a family friend who works in a field you might someday like to enter. No matter how close you are with your parents, sometimes it’s better to get an independent opinion. Most colleges work hard to provide a support network for their first year students, but with all the new experiences you will encounter, nothing beats a conversation with someone who already knows you.
-          Doretta Goldberg – Founder, College Directions
A: What NOT to pack is more important than what to pack…
Dorm rooms are small. Don’t stuff the car with not-so critical items, because the likelihood is your parents will return home the same day with half the car full of many of those not-so critical items. So how can you prevent the reloading ritual? First, check the dorm regulations. Most colleges will be very specific as to whether they allow microwaves and refrigerators. Many dorms have antiquated electrical systems and the colleges choose to rent out their own appliances. Second, get in touch with your roommate in advance and decide together whether you’ll share the purchase of big-ticket products. Don’t bring: your whole wardrobe – plan to switch out summer clothes for winter at Thanksgiving.
-          Lee Bierer– President, College Admission Strategies
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