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Getting to College


It's almost time, but are you ready?

If you aren't sure what your child should pack for college, here are some quick tips:

  • Check with the college for a list of what's provided by the school and what the school expects the student to provide. Most schools have such a list. It's also useful if your child is considering off-campus housing. Compare the list to the amenities offered by alternative housing options.
  • Pack clothing that's appropriate to the season and the geographical location of the school. Don't try to pack clothes for the entire year. Use school breaks to exchange seasonal clothing. Or pack and send them through the mail.
  • Pack a laundry bag or basket, detergent and change (usually quarters) for laundry. Have enough money to wash a load or two in case your child forgets to get change in the first-week rush.

  • Bring extension cords, power strips and three-prong adapters. Dorm rooms seldom have enough power outlets and often have older-style wall sockets.

  • Stay cool by bringing along a fan or two for those schools in warmer climates. Many dorms aren't air-conditioned. Don't bring an air conditioner unless you're sure the school allows it.

  • Consider some type of renters' insurance if electronics and computer equipment will be kept in the dorm room to cover damages in case of fire or theft.
  • Make sure that the dorm room has at least one smoke alarm. A fire can happen anywhere, and an alarm is inexpensive protection.

If you're driving to school, here are some quick tips:

  • If you plan to rent a van or a small truck, reserve it at least a month in advance of the move. When other family members are helping, consider a one-way truck rental and have a family member drive a car so you have it for the trip home.

  • If you need to stay overnight before moving in, make hotel or motel reservations well in advance. Make sure to have secure overnight parking place at or near the school for your van or small truck.

If you're flying to school, here are some quick tips:

  • Make airline reservations early. If possible, have a Saturday night stay over to get the best rates.

  • Consider reserving a car at the airport so that you have transportation to and from the school.

  • If you need to stay overnight before moving in, make hotel or motel reservations well in advance.