Moving into Your College Dorm? Expert Tips to Prepare for Day One

college guys living in lange dorm at dbu

The excitement as you prepare for college is unmatched. Moving into your campus dorm is the first step in your upcoming year of independence, exploration, service, and incredible community. While you can’t prepare for your first day down to the minute, you can take advantage of a few tips to make packing, unloading, and meeting your new community as successful as possible.

Make the Most of College Dorm Move-In Day with These Tips

Prepare with Smart Packing

Packaging with a purpose is one of the best ways to prepare for dorm move-in day. Experts suggest that under-packing is better than bringing too much. You can always add to your essentials with a quick trip to the store or an extra suitcase loaded up at the next holiday back home. To make your first day in the dorms as smooth as possible, here are a few tips to go along with your college packing list.

Make a Small Bag of Essentials

Even if you pare down your packing list, you’ll have several boxes and bags to unload when you get settled on the first day. Rather than frantically sorting through your belongings to find a toothbrush and pajamas, pack a small bag with your essentials for the first two to three days.

You won’t feel as rushed unpacking and arranging everything else if you know where clean socks are for day two.

Focus on the First Semester

Rather than bringing an entire year’s worth of clothing, pack for the first semester and plan to swap items at Christmas when you’re home for the break. You won’t need heavy winter gear for December in Dallas. A jacket and a few sweaters will be plenty for any unusually cold days!

Include a Few Comfort Items

Transitioning to dorm life can be difficult, especially on your first night. Include a few minor comfort items to ensure your first week is smooth and you get plenty of sleep. Ear plugs/headphones, an eye mask, and a favorite blanket or pillow can make a big difference. Make a soothing playlist and use it at home for a week before dorm move-in day — you’ll feel right at home that night as you drift off to sleep.

Pre-Label Your Personal Items

Sharing a room is one of the best parts of dorm life, but it can feel awkward until you get to know your roommate better. To avoid any unnecessary confrontations, label your personal items as you pack. Anything you might want to share or that you’ll leave sitting out should have a label: printer, television, bathroom caddy, lamp, mirror, and even snack bowls. Place the label on the bottom so it’s inconspicuous.

Make a Move-In Plan (With Some Free Time!)

The college housing office will send you information about move-in days, times, and regulations. You’ll want to ensure you adhere to that schedule since things are usually crowded! You can also prepare by reading the Frequently Asked Questions about campus housing. Make a plan with your parents and friends so everyone is ready to help you unload, unpack, and get settled. Don’t get caught planning down to the minute, though. There are so many fun things happening on campus during move-in week that it’s essential to leave free time in your schedule for exploration.

Explore SWAT Events

Dallas Baptist University has a whole schedule dedicated to your Student Welcome and Transition Week (SWAT). After you check in on August 16, take a look at the program and plan to attend as many events as possible! This is your first chance to enjoy the spirit of community that will make DBU your home in faith, friends, and fun. Dorm move-in day is just the beginning of your first week on campus.

Find the Nearest Place to Grab a Bite

Even if you packed snacks for your dorm room, one of the most important parts of living on campus is learning where to go for a good meal. You’ll work up an appetite unpacking, so take the opportunity to explore campus dining options with your new roommate. Some spots won’t be open until classes officially begin, but you can start making your “must-try” list! You can also check out DBU's many campus dining spots here.

Get Ready to Be Social

Whether you’re extroverted and love meeting new people or introverted and tend to be shy in novel settings, prepare for an overload of social interactions on your first day in a college dorm. Remember that everyone you meet is either new and a bit nervous (like you!) or experienced and there to provide guidance. Ask questions, introduce yourself, and get ready to learn a lot of new names.

Talk with Your Roommate Ahead of Time

To help ease the transition, try to speak with your roommate before move-in day. At DBU, the housing process is self-selected, so you should be able to contact your roommate for a summer chat to break the ice. You can also plan who’s bringing what big dorm room items to consolidate packing lists.

Schedule a Time to Chat with Old Friends

The first day living in a college dorm can be overwhelming, even if wonderful new people surround you. Schedule a time to chat with your friends or family from home. Block out half an hour on your first day to ensure you have a designated time slot for reassurance or comfort if you’re feeling homesick. If things are going well, you’ll have a chance to tell stories about the exciting new place you get to call home.

College move-in day will be exciting and busy, but remember that it’s the start of your incredible college adventure. Make sure to take a moment to savor this experience!

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