Tips for Parents

Cross Items Off Your College Checklist: Get All Your Must-Haves From One Place

If your son or daughter is heading off to college in the fall, and you haven’t heard of OCM yet, you may in a few weeks. OCM is a company focused exclusively on serving students and parents through partnerships with more than 900 colleges and universities, and more than 1500 campus organizations across the United States.

OCM helps families prepare for campus living with university-approved merchandise, such as Twin XL Bedding Sets, Room Value Paks, dorm room organization products, college-related gifts, care packages, and more. Plus, their products are all “guaranteed until graduation.” They promise that if at any time you are dissatisfied, from the day you receive your order all the way to graduation day, you can send the item back for a refund or exchange. This has made OCM the trusted source for families to purchase college necessities for nearly 40 years. “Everything we do is to make the transition to college life easier,” said Andy McDade, President of OCM.

We also spoke with Jacqueline Devone, OCM’s Vice President of Business Development, to learn more about how OCM partners with colleges and universities.

“College campuses are our home. Schools partner with us because we customize our programs to meet their needs. Plus, OCM offers families great value. We give parents and students the best products at the most affordable prices and provide convenience, making back-to-school shopping easy for them,” Jacqueline said.

There are several reasons to consider using OCM for your back-to-school shopping needs. But one major reason to consider OCM is that a percentage of every purchase goes directly back to the school. This means that your purchase will directly impact your son or daughter’s college experience. OCM has given back $23M from purchases to schools for campus programming, scholarships, and donates to over a dozen local charities and non-profit organizations.

We spoke with one of OCM’s longtime partners, Diane Andrews, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State), to learn more about how OCM has helped support their student programs. Diane has worked for Penn State for nearly 30 years, and has partnered with OCM since 1984. She currently oversees Residence Life, Campus Recreation, Health Promotion & Wellness, HUB-Robeson Center, Student Engagement Programs, and Fraternity & Sorority Life at Penn State.

“Partnering with OCM has been very successful for us. The staff has been very supportive, and the program supports a significant part of our Resident Hall Association. When parents purchase from OCM, it goes straight back into student programming and initiatives,” Diane said. “If we didn’t have the funds we receive from OCM, we would have to charge fees back to parents, residence halls, and/or housing offices in order to support the activities that we’re doing.”

At Penn State, the Association of Residence Hall Students (ARHS) is the primary representative voice for the University Park residence hall community. The organization works to make sure that students in the residence halls have an experience that is more than just living in a “dorm” room, and that all parts of residence hall life meet students’ needs.

Besides providing financial support to their institutional partners, OCM’s partnership also provides students in the Resident Hall Association with work and leadership experience. At Penn State, the students are responsible for many aspects of the program, whether it is managing the funds they receive from OCM, or how they’ll distribute OCM’s care packages in the Residence Halls, the program gives them real world experience that improves their college experience and prepares them for their career.

“One of the things that’s really great about the OCM relationship is that they really understand the college experience. They meet regularly with students to make sure they’re providing what students want and what they need. They’ve done a great job of changing with the times. That’s really important.” Diane said.

Speaking of changing with the times and listening to student feedback, OCM is launching a newly redesigned website to make Back-to-School shopping even easier, along with a brand new product line. Their new product line showcases the latest in style and comfort at affordable prices, such as new microfiber Twin XL sheet sets, high-quality towels sets, décor options, and the largest assortment of Twin XL comforters. The new website is expected to launch Early May 2018.

“This launch is about OCM listening to our college and university partners. We are providing their students and parents with the best product assortment and shopping experience, along with convenient delivery options,” Andy said.

Advice for Parents of Incoming Freshmen

Besides being a longtime Penn State employee, Diane is also a college parent, and OCM customer. “As a parent, you start asking questions like, what kind of sheets will they need? What size carpet will they need? I loved that I didn’t have to go out to 3 stores and find everything. OCM makes everything so convenient and I knew that everything will be here when he gets to campus. Parents fill out the form for what their student needs, everything from linens, carpeting, even care packages, and everything just shows up,” Diane said.

Since Diane has had experience both from a parent perspective, and from the university’s perspective, I asked her to share her advice for parents of incoming freshmen.

Here are Diane’s top three recommendations for parents:

  1. Help your son or daughter early on in their college career get connected on campus, whether it is through student activities, student engagement, or campus clubs. The more they can get connected to the institution, the better. That’s what’s going to make their experience really fulfilling. This connection will give your student a sense of belonging.
  2. Before you step in to help with a problem on behalf of your son or daughter, encourage them to solve the problem on their own. You can always help if needed, but allow them to explore campus resources first.
  3. Know that when students work part-time on campus, it can be a great way for them to connect with campus offices. Many parents worry that students won’t have time to work, but on-campus jobs provide another way for students to successfully navigate and be part of the community.

As you start to check off items on your son or daughters college packing list, make sure to consider OCM. They offer families convenience, products that are university-approved and a great value, and most importantly, a percentage of your purchase goes directly back to support your student’s school. Learn more and start shopping at



About OCM

For nearly 40 years, OCM has been the approved, official partner and endorsed sponsor for more than 900 college campuses and 1,500 campus organizations across the U.S. serving as a one-stop shop for affordable, college-approved dorm room supplies, care packages, and other college essentials. Students and parents can visit the new website at to shop over 10,000 college-approved products, such as twin XL dorm bedding sets guaranteed to fit any dorm bed, dorm decor, bath sets, graduation frames, care packages, and more. Additionally, every OCM purchase sends dollars back to the student’s school for campus programming, and donations to more than a dozen local and non-profit organizations. To date, OCM has helped more than 6 million students and families and have sent $23M back to schools. For more information, please visit or contact Andy McDade at [email protected]Visit OCM on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, or Twitter.

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