Getting ready for college is exciting for young adults going away for the first time. Leaving the comforts of home and heading for dorm life is a big change, making college prep a necessity. Leaving home also most likely means some form of college debt. Here are some tips to manage packing and debt.
College Prep: What And How To Pack
Organization & Coordination Are Key
Roommate assignments are in the mail, and now it’s time to connect with your bunk mate and determine the essentials. It is not necessary for double televisions and microwaves; especially in most cases, because dorm rooms are not typically large rooms. The first thing to do for college prep is to prepare a list. One option would be to purchase a large trunk or buy some plastic storage containers. This will keep you organized. Sometimes it is helpful to tape a list of the contents to the inside of the container. Stackable plastic drawers are a great idea for keeping things organized.
Many colleges and universities send first-year students a list of what you need to bring. It also helps if you have an older sibling or relative that has been through the college prep process, and even better if you can use some of the same things such as a refrigerator. If on a tight budget, look online for used items or visit your local thrift store. There is no need to take on unnecessary personal credit card debt for items you can source free or inexpensively.
Dorm Room Packing Tips
There are some basic items that you will definitely need: sheets and comforters for the beds (usually extra long for dorm beds), pillows, desk lamps, lap top computers, shower necessities, clothing, dishes, and utensils. You will also need towels and face cloths, and clothes hamper or laundry duffle bag along with laundry detergent and coins. A lesson in using the washer and dryer is always helpful before leaving for college. You would be surprised how many young people have never done laundry. Flip flops for the showers is essential!
Duffle bags for packing clothes are your best option. Suitcases are too awkward for storage since they don’t typically collapse. Under bed storage containers are also nice to have. Hanging toiletry bags are a great purchase to keep your shampoo, deodorant, and shower essentials in one place. A first aid kit is a must. You can buy one at your local drug store. It is also advisable to find out about lockable drawers in the dorm room. If there aren’t any, it is smart to purchase a lock box or small lockable safe to keep any valuables you may have or cash for an emergency. This would also be the place for storage of any prescription drugs. They also sell many styles of prescription lock boxes online at various prices.
For those that like to make their dorm rooms more personable with comforts of home, buy some decorative posters for the walls; coordinate with your roommates on colors for maybe the purchase of a rug or a chair if there is room. Packing some of your favorite foods or snacks is also a good idea for those late night study sessions. Pack up a few family and pet photos as well.
Financial College Prep
Most young people have been working part-time before starting college and have a debit card. Take the time to sit down with them to discuss funding and financial advice for the year. Make sure they monitor the account. If they have a credit card make sure they pay it on time each month. Surprisingly, many college students get into trouble their freshman year and can potentially ruin their credit. Be sure to also review budgeting. Don’t overlook the financial preparation aspect of college prep!
Donna Conley is the Vice President and has been with ACCC since 1993. As Vice President, Ms. Conley assists the Chief Executive Officer with the day to day operations and assists with the strategic planning and growth of the organization.