Parents’ Tips for Moving-In Day
Moving away to college is a turning point in a long road that began the day your child stepped into his or her first class without parents, and it has an impact on everyone in your family. Move-in day, like all rites of passage, can be quite stressful for everyone, so it’s a good idea to begin preparing during the summer before. The following are some practical tips to help you make move-in day go as smoothly and with as little stress as possible.
Things to do during the summer before move-in day
- Start to prepare emotionally for some level of separation anxiety. Most parents and first-year students experience it in some form or another. Acknowledge your feelings and take action to make them less stressful. First, take care of yourself with a good diet, enough sleep, and appropriate exercise. Your child and the rest of your family are likely to be feeling emotional, too. Be patient and talk with everyone about cutting each other some slack. Second, take some practical steps to prepare your child to be able to live as an adult.
- Make a financial plan and include your student–students should know how much their education costs and how it will be paid. Together, make a budget so that your child will know how much he or she has to live on each month. Make sure he or she understands basic activities like how to write a check, keep records of deposits and withdrawals, check the bank balance online, balance an end-of-month statement, make a bill payment. And set aside time to have that talk about how to use credit responsibly and avoid racking up debt.
- Create a file containing vital information like alternate phone numbers for emergency situations (grandparents, aunts and uncles, etc.), your family doctor’s phone number, information about prescriptions if your student has them (including for eyeglasses or contacts), instructions for using your insurance or prescription card if you have one, contact numbers for reporting stolen or lost credit cards and cell phones.
- Teach your son or daughter how to do laundry and why it’s important not to wash everything in one load. Show them the basics of ironing—even though they won’t have to do it often, sometimes it’s essential. Spray-on wrinkle reducers and Febreze are also essential laundry accessories for many college students.
- Take your student to your family doctor for a checkup and make sure their immunizations are current. It’s a good idea to get up-to-date on immunizations like tetanus, but it’s not required. It is required, though, that your student be immunized against bacterial meningitis at least 10 days before move-in day. Students who have not been immunized may not be allowed to check into the dorm. Make sure they know when symptoms are serious enough to seek medical help and explain how your insurance plan works. And if your child needs ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accommodations make sure you talk with the ADA officer at the university and residence hall to find out what kind of medical documentation is required. Colleges are not allowed to make academic accommodations without current documentation. Please see the following website for more information. UHV Disability Services.
- Help your student make a packing list of what to take when they move into the dorm—and then offer gentle suggestions about how to edit it. One way is to get your student to ask themselves how many times they will need this item during the semester. If it’s at least once a week, they should take it. If it’s once a semester, it should definitely stay at home. Encourage your student to pack over the course of the summer instead of waiting until the night before the big move (they’re much more likely to over pack if they wait). Give them a box a week to pack, and start with items that aren’t personal, like linens and towels. Make sure cleaning supplies are on top and the box they are in is clearly labeled. End with packing personal grooming items last which can be packed the night before or the morning of the big move. Cross things off the packing list as they are packed, and make sure to label the boxes clearly. Make sure you pack in boxes you can actually move—large boxes get too heavy fast if you have to carry them very far or upstairs. If you pack in plastic storage boxes with lids, they can serve as extra stoage in the dorm room.
- Encourage your student to contact his or her roommate as soon as possible to talk about who will bring what to avoid expensive duplications and tense move-in day discussions of whose refrigerator stays and whose goes back home with the parents (where is the receipt for that refrigerator, anyway?). These conversations will help guide your purchases as you prepare for the big move. Roommates may also want to coordinate colors and decorative styles if that’s important to them. Please refer to the list of amenities provided by housing on the UHV Housing website. Housing will send roommate assignment out in July.
Things to consider in the week before move-in day
Things really begin to ramp up in the week before your child moves off to college, and tensions are likely to ramp up, too, as time seems to move ever more quickly. Hopefully, much of what your student intends to take is packed and checked off the list, and you can concentrate on last minute considerations for the move-in day itself. The following are some tips that come from parents’ experiences with moving their children into the university.
- Make a check list of the things you still have to do and mark them off as they are taken care of. Include things you have to do when you get to campus.
- Put together a small tool kit and put it in the trunk of the car. It should include a small hammer, Philips and plain screwdriver, a pair of pliers. Leave it with your student when you leave.
- Consider bringing a broom and dust pan for clean ups before major pieces of furniture are arranged.
- Avoid making plans for outside activities with your student on move-in day. Universities schedule planned activities for new students on the first day, and some of them are mandatory—all of them will provide your student with valuable information they will need in the coming days.
Tips for surviving move-in day
- Your student will not be the only one moving in.
He/she will only be one of hundreds moving in at the same time! The later in the day it gets, the more chaotic it will become. Go to bed early the night before, keeping in mind that you will be nervous and it will take you longer to fall asleep.
- Have everything done the night before.
The night before you leave is important. Start early and get organized so everyone is ready to go in the morning. Make a written list of everything you are bringing and check it off as it is packed in the car. This way you can look at your list in the middle of the trip and reassure yourself that nothing has been forgotten.
- First come, first served!
Assuming that your student will have a roommate, whoever gets to school first will have their pick of the best side of the room, best bed, best desk, and best dresser. This is a sensitive subject. Here at UHV everything is the same, but students may feel differently. If your son or daughter arrives first and claims their side of the room without consulting their roommate some resentment may be created very early in their relationship. Encourage your student to wait and talk out a compromise with their roommate. If all else fails encourage them to try drawing straws. Perhaps both roommates can set up a mutual arrival time so it can be decided what each will be responsible for bringing. This way both can get to school at the same time and help each other move in. This is a great student icebreaker!