A considerable part of the college experience is dorms and dorm life. Studies show that most students who decide to live on campus for more than one year have higher GPAs and are more likely to graduate than students who live off-campus or only lived in a dorm for one year. However, moving into a dorm for the first time can be challenging and daunting for students trying to navigate their first year.
College dorms come with twin mattresses, a desk, a chair for the desk, and extra storage like dressers or closets when it comes to moving in. Students have to make sure that they pack bedding, laptops, bathroom supplies, a fridge, and other items before moving into their dorm rooms.
The rest of this article will describe what students should know about dorm life before moving in and what they should (and shouldn’t) pack for their dorm space.
Packing for the Dorm
This section will detail some items that students should pack before moving into their dorm rooms. It’ll also answer some students’ common questions about what the room includes and information on things they should avoid bringing.
What To Pack for the Dorm
One of the worst feelings in the world is packing for a move or an extended vacation and forgetting something crucial like a toothbrush or a phone charger. Students should list what they need and read through their housing policies to ensure that their belongings are not breaking university rules.
Let’s look at a list of items students should pack for their dorm.
Students need to bring pillows, bed sheets, blankets, pillowcases, comforters and throw blankets. Most university housing comes with an XL twin mattress, and students only have to worry about bringing their own bedding.
Grooming and hygiene
Students will need to maintain their hygiene and be able to clean themselves while in college. They will especially want to protect themselves in communal bathrooms and use their items.
Students need to pack:
- Shower shoes
- Body wash
- Shower cap
- Shampoo & conditioner
- Hair products
- Toothbrush & paste
- Nail clippers
- Washcloth or loofah
- Shaving cream
Students need to make sure they pack a fair amount of clothes, which include:
Students can add more clothes to their dresser or closet after visiting family if they need more clothes. They should also bring one or two professional pieces with them for interviews, internships, and presentations. Hangers and storage for their shoes are also a great idea.
Students should pack laundry items that they’ll need for the dorms. Laundry items include a detergent, bleach, dryer sheets, stain remover stick, iron or steamer, and a laundry basket. Students can also buy laundry pods that they can put in their laundry for a better wash.
You may want to learn how to do laundry before going to university.
Students will likely have the liberty to pack decor items for their dorm. Students should bring posters, adhesives, pictures, carpet, a desk lamp, a trashcan, bulletin board with dry erase markers, a fan, and a stepladder.
Students should refer to their housing policies to ensure that they don’t alter the appearance of the walls if it’s against the university’s policies.
Even though college is different and a different ballpark, students might still need to buy physical school supplies. Students should bring supplies like:
- A backpack
- Sticky notes
- Hole puncher
- An extension cord
Students should especially keep in mind that some professors will not permit them to take notes with laptops or other electronic devices, so they’ll have to take notes by hand.
Students will need to bring critical electronic items such as laptops, phones, a TV, speaker, Gaming console, and tablet. All these electronic items are necessary for students to keep in their dorms for entertainment.
College may be a lot of school work, but it is essential to have fun and relax.
Other Important Items
Aside from the bare necessities, students also need to pack the other essentials. Some other things students need to keep in mind include:
- An aid kit
- Car registration & insurance if they plan to get a parking pass
- Medical insurance card
- Driver’s license
- Social security card
- Birth certificate
- Debit and credit cards
These items are essential for students if they plan to work or in case of an emergency.
Source: Colleges of Distinction
What Not to Pack for the Dorm
Now that students know what they should bring, it’s important to note that students pack some everyday items that end up being unused. These items only take up space and can be a waste of money.
Let’s look at some items you won’t have to take.
Students will not have to pack any additional furniture for the room. College dorm rooms are typically small and already have a bed, desk, and chair for students to use. A good option if students want to include extra seats in the room is bean bags or futons.
These seats don’t take up much space and are super comfortable for sitting.
Sporting Gear Other Than Activewear
It’ll be pointless for students to purchase items like balls or some large exercise equipment. Most colleges have a gym that their students can use for free, and it has most of the necessary equipment students will need to stay fit.
Some gyms even come with a basketball court or pool where students can play a particular sport.
Don’t bring kitchen appliances to the dorm.
Most colleges don’t allow their students to use items such as a stove, air fryer, toaster, and other things that could cause fires as they can become a hazard. However, students will likely be allowed to bring a mini-fridge and microwave for their dorm room if their college allows.
Students should check their dorm policies to know what they can or can not get to the dorm.
Most universities offer free printing at their library, so bringing a printer to college is pointless and a waste of money as printers, especially wireless ones, don’t work correctly at the dorm because of connection issues.
Students should print at the school’s library instead, as they probably won’t print a lot of papers anyway as most assignments are now digital and will likely be submitted online.
Other Prohibited Items
One crucial aspect students should know about college is that some things are strictly prohibited on campus. Some of these items include tools such as a hammer or screw, guns, weapons, knives, torches, candles, and anything that can damage the walls.
Again, students should read their housing policies to know what isn’t allowed in their rooms.
Source: Middle Earth
Frequently Asked Questions About Packing
Some college students have particular questions about what the room includes and what they should purchase for the room.
The following are some questions and their answers.
Do College Dorms Come With TVs?
TV is what keeps a lot of people entertained after a long day of school or work. Students will probably want to know if their rooms come with a TV so that they might be able to use it after a hard day at school.
Unfortunately, most universities don’t come with a TV. Students will have to buy their own TV set or bring a TV they already have from home. However, since most students watch many of their favorite shows on their phones, a TV might be unnecessary.
Do Dorms Come With Microwaves?
Microwaves are handy for when students want to heat TV dinners or microwaveable snacks. They’re also helpful for heating any leftovers.
Most university dorms don’t provide microwaves in their residence halls. In some cases, microwaves aren’t permissible, but this is rare. Students can purchase a microwave or share a microwave with their roommate.
Do College Dorms Include Furniture?
Furniture is essential to have in a dorm room. Having furniture is especially crucial for students living in a suite or apartment-style dorm.
Most college dorms provide the necessary dresser, closet, bed, desk, and chair. If a student moves into a suite, the college will likely include seats and a coffee table in a common area. Students can decorate this area with a tapestry, lights, and chairs with blankets and pillows.
What About a Refrigerator?
A fridge is vital for students to have. A refrigerator will keep tv dinners, snacks, and drinks cold for the students.
If a dorm hall has a communal kitchen, there will likely be a refrigerator. However, the whole dorm will share this refrigerator. It would be best for students to purchase a mini-fridge to keep their items for themselves.
Things To Know About Dorm Life
Moving into a new space with roommates might feel incredibly awkward at first, especially with students who didn’t share a room with their sibling(s). Fortunately, the awkwardness of it all will eventually diminish. In addition to this, there are some more things students should be aware of regarding college housing.
When it comes to college housing, there are different types of dorms. The following are some details about these kinds of housing.
First-Year Student Dorms
Some universities might set aside specific dorm halls for classified first-year students or make all their dorm halls available for incoming students. These halls typically have communal bathrooms or kitchens, depending on the college.
Non-coed dorm halls mean that the hall only houses students of a specific sex. Often, these dorms are present in private universities and may allow visitors of the opposite sex during certain hours.
Co-ed dorms house both male and female sexes. However, with these dorm halls, student floors might separate the two sexes.
An example of this would be if the first floor only housed male-sexed students while the second floor houses female-sexed students. Other halls might not do this and might allow male-sexed students to live next door to female-sexed students.
It’s sporadic for a university to allow for the two sexes to share the same room.
Some colleges are inclusive enough to offer LGBTQ+ students space to live amongst each other. LGBTQ+ housing can be a room, floor, or an entire hall dedicated to housing students who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community.
Some universities even offer living spaces to students with mental or physical disabilities. These spaces can be a dorm room or floor dedicated to students who have special needs. They normally will have elevators, ramps, or other things that students with special needs might require.
Honor Student Dorms
Students accepted into the honors program can choose to live in dorms dedicated to honors students. These dorms are typically an entire hall devoted to students enrolled in the university’s honors program, but these dorms can also be floors or rooms.
International Student Housing
International students can all share a dorm if international student housing is available at the university. These dorms can be rooms or floors. Some colleges may even offer this as an entire hall. But if a college does not normally see many international students, they might pair them with non-international students.
Some colleges offer housing that resembles apartments called “suites.” These suites mainly include a common area, which usually resembles a living room, dorm rooms, a communal bathroom for everyone in the suite, and a communal kitchen.
In addition to the types of halls, students must know more about the bathroom in their dorms. If a student is lucky, they might only have to share a bathroom with their roommates. However, especially in freshmen dorms, this may not be the case.
Students will have to share a communal bathroom or a floor bathroom. Communal bathrooms are bathrooms that everyone on the floor shares.
These bathrooms look similar to public restrooms but with the inclusion of showers.
Students should keep in mind that these bathrooms will likely become busy and crowded and that they’ll have to figure out when the bathrooms have the least amount of traffic and make an effort to use them during that time.
Students should also be aware that because the entire floor shares the bathroom, the bathroom will, unfortunately, get dirty quickly.
Students will have to be cautious as not everybody is clean, and bacteria can spread.
Source: Campus Explorer
Moving into a dorm for the first time can be daunting and a huge transition. However, knowing what to bring and keeping an organized packing list will surely help the process. Now that students know what to bring and what their dorm includes, they can go ahead and start packing.