How to Move Into Your College Residence Hall Like a Pro

Why is it that one of the most quintessential, collegial experiences of higher education — living in a residence hall — always begins on a hot, move-in day in August? Perhaps a sneaky way to test your college readiness: Can you navigate a path to your room that bypasses the 75-person deep elevator line but also avoids taking the stairs for the third time to your 12th floor suite while juggling multiple tubs like a circus entertainer?

Fortunately, many schools have streamlined their policies to help families move as efficiently — and happily — as possible. But much of your move-in success depends on how well prepared you are. Before the big day, do your homework:

  • Know the details of your move — time, address, where to park, dimensions of room and items provided, and your future roommate’s contact information. 
  • What does Mother Nature have in store? Be prepared for weather, dress appropriately for a move, and bring snacks and water.
  • Bring identification and your student number.

Mementos: Yay or Nay?

In preparation for your move, you’ll likely sort through your beloved items and relive the memories that each picture, dried corsage, and faded t-shirt evokes. Keepsakes are an irreplaceable piece of your past, but plan on bringing only mementos that can be pinned to a bulletin board. Just like they say in the Girl Scouts: “Make new friends, but keep the old…one is silver, and the other is gold.” Mementos from home will be invaluable when homesickness inevitably hits — and it will hit, we promise! But amid all the chaos of transition, try to relish the moment and create new experiences.

Well hello, Roomie!

Connect with your roommate prior to move-in day to decide who’s bringing what. On that note, be considerate of your roommate if you’re moving in first. Be respectful of one another’s spaces and don’t take over the shared spaces until you’ve had a conversation with your roommate. It may also be helpful to pick a different move-in time than your roommate, so you’re not all fighting for space in a very small room. Consider using a college packing list to pare down your stuff; remember that you can always grab additional items during your first trip home. Many res halls provide large items such as vacuums or mini-fridges in the rooms, but plan on bringing some tools to loft your bed or hang a bulletin board.

Soak up the experience.

Lastly, try to enjoy the experience – introduce yourself to neighbors and residence hall staff — yet show gratitude to those who are moving you and have likely supported you throughout the process. No matter how much you love your res hall, this won’t be a forever home, so give yourself a break if everything isn’t perfect right away. Know your supporters and where to turn, if needed.

Then at the end of the day, hug your parents and siblings, wave goodbye with a smile on your face (you’ll need to be the strong one by this time of the day!), and head out with your new suitemates to join the sand volleyball tournament.


CommunityAmerica Credit Union has Education and Career Planners ready to assist you through all the stages of planning for higher education and beyond. From calculators and checklists to deeper discussions about financial aspects, we can help. Our goal is to help you reach yours.

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