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Moving To College: A Checklist

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Summer is nearly over, and it's almost time to hit the books. Moving from the comfort of home to college can be a hassle. Use this time to discuss your move with your parents or an older sibling who has already made the college move. Take the stress out of moving. Use this indispensable checklist to move with ease.

Consider Space

Know if you are moving to on-campus dorm living or an off-campus living situation with or without roommates, as this will dictate how and what you will need to bring with you. Dorm rooms have more amenities, but less security and space. Off-campus living typically requires more stuff, such as furniture, bedding, cooking pots and utensils and other basics of home living, depending on how inexpensively you wish to live.

Start Packing

Once you know you space considerations, it's time to start packing. Start a few weeks before the move, so you'll be better prepared when moving day arrives. Most colleges offer a dorm necessity checklist, so use it to pack what you will need. It can also help when moving off campus, but you'll have to add items, such as those discussed above. Label each box with your name, college address and item descriptor (e.g., kitchen, school supplies/desk, toiletries, bedding).

Decide Mover

Decide if you will need to rent a moving truck or can put everything into your or your parents' vehicle. Make certain the vehicle or rental truck is large enough to hold all your stuff. Rental trucks should be booked as much in advance as possible or you may risk having none available when needed. Price a few companies, taking into account mileage and other factors before making a decision.

Think Security

College life means you are often not home, especially if working while going to school. Living with roommates, even those you know, means you have to trust others to protect your items. Think about those possessions you cannot afford to be without and how you can make them more secure before you leave to prevent a disaster later. This is especially important if moving far from home. Hide laptops and other devices in a safe (preferably locked) cabinet, small safe or hiding spot while away. Discuss with your parents about using a local bank safe deposit box to secure important items, such as social security card, cash, passport, financial aid documents, prescriptions or other valuable items you must have while at school.

Change Address

Put in a temporary change of address with the postal service to keep mail coming to you while away at college. If you have a long-term prescription medication you need to take, talk to your doctor and pharmacy about the best way to get you the medication while at school. Change magazine subscriptions or have your parents send them as part of their 'care package.' Set up a bank account with a bank that has branches in both your home and college locations or talk to a banker where you currently bank about dealing with finances while you are away at school.

Understand Financial Aid

It is extremely important that you understand how your financial aid works and have all necessary documents with you (store in safe deposit box). Don't have your studies interrupted because you forgot to turn a required financial document in on time.

Attend Orientation

If this is your first year at college, it is crucial that you attend orientation. Know when orientation is and make sure you are there on time. It is a great way to meet other first-year students while gaining the knowledge you need to get around and understand how the system works. Don't miss it!

Budget For Living

Plan your budget for each month of the school year with your parents. Keep in mind any aid you will get, choice of healthy meal plan, books, software to run required courses in your major, acquiring student identification card, bus passes or parking fees and other incidentals. Budgeting is an excellent way to learn important life skills and show responsibility to your parents. It also helps you get the most from your school year while still having funds to have fun.

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