Moving into a Dorm: Tips and Advice

For college freshmen, moving into a dorm can be an exciting time. After all, it's probably your first experience of living independently and being away from home. If you're nervous and unsure of what to do, here are some tips on moving into your new dorm.

Prepare and Anticipate

Even before you move in or even before you start packing, find as much information as you can about your new dorm. Most likely, you'll receive an information packet from your school, but you can also find information about your dorm on your website. You can also try to email your school or check out any web forums or Facebook groups for your school and see if you can ask any upperclassmen if they have tips about the dorms; they may have more insight about dorm life.

There may be some things which you're not allowed to bring so check with the school as well. Most likely, you'll have a bed, mattress, desk and chair so you'll have to bring your own sheets and pillows at minimum. Most dorm beds come in single (39 x 75 inches) or extra long (39 x 80 inches) so make sure before you buy or bring your sheets.

Your Roommate

Each dorm and school will have their own way for pairing up roommates, however most will consider special requests depending on the circumstance. See if you can contact your roommate before moving in day or try to put off big purchases like mini-fridges or microwaves to check if he or she wants to split the costs of such things.

Once you do meet your roommate, you may want to get to know each other. At the very least, you should try to be civil, if not friendly. Of course, you should also discuss ground rules, like lights out and rules about having guests over.


One thing you may find lacking in your dorm room is storage space. So, if possible, don't bring or buy too many things at first until you've taken stock of the situation. If you find your storage a little lacking, there are some things you can do:
  • Bed risers can bring extra space under your bed, which is perfect for your suitcase or under-the-bed storage boxes.

  • There's a lot of wasted space on the walls or behind doors; you can best make use of this space with racks or hooks.

  • Collapsible and nesting furniture are key. You can purchase nesting tables to save space and collapsible laundry hampers so you can put it away when you don't need it.

Move Early if You Can

Most likely your dorm will have a move-in day for everyone else. That means stairs, hallways and elevators will be filled to capacity and you may realize what a headache that is. Check with your school if you can move in early. It may cost about $20 - $30 a day to move in early, but if you've ever experienced move-in days at college dorms, you may think this amount is worth it.