Tips for Parents
Don’t Send Your Student Off to College Without These 6 Necessary Items
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By: Rhiannon Winner, Uloop News
Sure, your student says they’re packed and ready to go, but are they really? In the excitement, plenty can get forgotten. A lot of things your student could potentially forget aren’t a big deal, and are cheap enough to buy after arriving or to pick up over fall break.
But make sure you remember the most important items below!
Your student is going to be in big trouble if they’ve forgotten their storage equipment. It’s arguably the most important stuff you’re bringing to college. Make sure that every bin, rack, and divider has been packed. Even when you’re sure it’s all there, check back a second or third time. It’s a lot harder to find storage items that will fit in the limited space left in your student’s new dorm room than, say, a forgotten makeup case or shower supplies.
When picking out storage containers, always err on the side of caution. If you don’t know exactly how large your student’s dorm room is going to be (and chances are you won’t until you’ve arrived on move-in day) assume that you will have very little space to work with. Plan to utilize every inch of free space by finding closet organizers, small and skinny storage containers, off-the-bed hangers, and anything else you can find to save space.
Your student is going to have to navigate communal showers, and they’re definitely going to regret it if they don’t have a set of shower shoes. If they tell you that their sandals can double as shower shoes, insist on getting a separate pair. Some kinds of sandals, especially if they’re nicer and have padding, will hold water. Even if they don’t, your student probably won’t want to wear wet sandals if they haven’t dried since their last shower.
Seek out a pair of plain, cheap sandals that your child plans only to wear in the shower. If you can find them, look for a pair of actual shower shoes with holes in the bottom.
As much as your student might like that light-colored, or even plain white, comforter, encourage them to shop for dark bedding instead. Your student will probably end up snacking or doing homework in bed sometimes, and if their bedding is too light-colored, they’re going to end up staining it. Finding time to do laundry is a pain, and your student won’t be too happy when they have to wash their comforter once a week (or more, if they’re the really messy sort).
If you can’t change their mind, just make sure to send them with a spare comforter if there’s room for it. At least they won’t have to do laundry as often, and if it turns out that your student defies the norm and never dirties their comforter, then at least you’ve got a spare anyway.
This is dependent on where your student goes to college, but make sure they have clothes for any weather situation. Even if they think they’ll have time to change out their wardrobe over break, it could get cold long before they have a chance to go home. It’s best to make sure they’re outfitted with everything they’ll need from the beginning, even if it’s just a sweatshirt or two.
Store some emergency cash for your student, and have them pretend they don’t know it’s there. Sometimes they’re going to run out of money, and having a little bit left when they need it will ease a difficult week. If you can find a place to store it separately from their other money — in a safe disguised as another object, easily found online or in some stores, or something similar — have them keep it there. As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind.
Lanyard, wallet, purse, et cetera
Your student is going to need to cart around a student ID and room key at the minimum, plus cash, a card, car keys, or anything specific to your child. They probably got away without carrying much in high school, but in college, they need everything on them at all times. Whether they prefer using a lanyard, wallet, purse, or just a pouch in their backpack, make sure they have a plan for how to carry all of their things.
Encourage your student to pick out something sturdy. A flimsy lanyard or a patterned purse might be cuter, but if they won’t hold up to daily abuse, then your student either needs something different or a spare.
What your student needs more generally speaking is dependent on them. Some might want to use a desk lamp, and others might not. Some may need a fridge, and others may attend a school that provides one. Go over every part of your room in detail with your student and tailor your packing list to their needs. Just make sure to remember all of the essentials above!
Looking for a detailed, printable packing list? Check out The Ultimate College Packing Guide!