College Move-In Day: Everything You Need to Know

Congratulations on getting accepted to college! As move-in day approaches, it’s normal to feel both excitement and nervousness. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to make your college move-in day a smooth and successful experience.

Check the Rules

Read all the paperwork the school provided for move-in day. Pay particular attention to check-in times and locations so that you know exactly what time to arrive and where you need to go first. In addition, you’ll want to know what items – like hot plates and space heaters – are not allowed in dorms.

Connect with your Roommate

Introduce yourself to your roommate over social media or email before you arrive. This might sound intimidating, but the key to a successful move-in day is to be on the same page with your roommate. You should discuss who is responsible for buying which items. You don’t, for example, need two TVs, two mini-fridges, etc.

You also should discuss timing for when you both arrive. Stagger your arrival because your dorm room is small, two people unpacking at the same time could get tricky.

Book a Hotel

If the college is more than a few hours away, you may want to consider booking a hotel for the night before. This will allow you to take your time driving up the day before and feel less rushed on the big day.

Hotels can be expensive, especially when colleges increase prices for big college weekends. Call your school when you put in your deposit and ask for the move-in date. Book your hotel immediately on and if you book a hotel a few towns over, the price will significantly drop, and not break the bank.

Find Out What Stores are Near the Campus

This will happen: you will either forget to pack something important, or you won’t have the room to bring everything with you.

To avoid the high costs of items on campus, do some research to find out what stores are near the college – particularly big box stores like Target and Walmart, preorder and pick up after the move.


All students can benefit from these packing tips.

  1. Anything you haven’t worn in the last 2 months, let alone 2 years, give to goodwill and do not bring to college.
  2. For your clothes that will be hung up in your closet: before you go, put all of the clothes on hangers, stack on top of each other on your bed, cut a hole in the center of the bottom of a big trash bag, and pull the bag over your clothes placing the tops of the hangers through the hole. Take a rubber band and tie the hangers together. When you get to your room, hang up the group of clothes, cut the bag open, and all of your clothes are unwrinkled and already hung up.
  3. Separate your undergarments into gallon zip lock bags. When you arrive on campus everything will be folded and separated, just open the bag, dump into the drawer and call it a day.


Take a walk with your parents around campus – you will get lost at least once, so do it with your parents or whoever moved you in. Figure out how to walk to the important buildings from your dorm room, and keep an eye out for anything helpful you might have missed on your initial visit.


Attend the orientation activities. You will be surprised when you are still friends with those students as you walk across the graduation stage.

Something will go wrong – that is ok.

No matter how well you’ve prepared, no matter how organized you are, things are going to go wrong during move-in weekend. That’s part of the charm.

Bring plenty of tools to fix anything broken around the dorm, and don’t forget to pack plenty of patience. Some things are out of your control, which is going to be a good lesson for you to learn without your parents looking over your shoulder!

Enjoy the Moment

Move-in day is a big deal for both you and your family. It may be the first time they’ve ever lived away from home. They’re nervous and you’re probably nervous, too. Enjoy the small moments and try your best to remember to breathe.

If possible, make reservations (in advance!) for your move-in crew at a local restaurant. Get one last delicious meal before entering the school cafeteria.

If all else fails, be sure to pack some tissues.


College move-in day can be overwhelming, but with proper preparation and a positive mindset, you can make it a memorable and successful experience.

By following the tips and advice in this guide, you’ll be well-equipped to navigate the challenges of move-in day and embark on your college journey with confidence. Good luck and enjoy your time in college!

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