When preparing to move your child to college, make a list of the items you plan to take. Identify what items you already own that you can send along with your child, such as a small television set, sheets and clothing. Only purchase items that the student truly needs but doesn't already own, such as a new laptop, small refrigerator and storage cubes and boxes. By carefully planning out what your child needs, you can save money and lessen some of the stress of sending your child away to college.
Furniture, Storage and Kitchen Supplies
Although dorms are equipped with beds, desks and dressers, students should bring sheets, pillows, a blanket, lamps, area rugs and decorations for the room. Bring favorite pictures, posters and other sentimental items that remind the student of home. If the room does not have a refrigerator, consider purchasing a small one so that the student can store food and drinks. Include kitchen supplies, such as cups, plates and utensils. Also, consider bringing storage containers in case the room does not have enough storage space. Make sure you obtain permission to move a refrigerator or other furnishings into the room.
Computer Hardware and Software
Students will need access to a printer and a computer equipped with appropriate software, including a word processing application such as Microsoft Word. Make sure the computer can connect to wireless and wired Internet connections, depending on the school dorm's and campus' setup. Although you don't necessarily need to give your child a new computer, it may be more cost-effective in the long run to do so, since newer machines are easier to upgrade than older machines. Students can choose to use either a Mac or a PC. Schools usually support both platforms.
For down-time activities, consider purchasing a television with a DVD player built in. Generally, colleges provide free cable TV connections in dorm rooms. All your student has to do is connect a cable between the TV and the cable hookup. For music, get small speaker sets for iPods or MP3 players.
Cleaning Supplies and Toiletries
Be sure to equip your student with cleaning supplies to keep the room clean. If the dorm room has carpeting, consider providing the student with a small vacuum. A mop is helpful for dorm rooms with linoleum floors. Additionally, students will need tissue, paper towels and shower accessories. Although some dorms provide unlimited toilet paper and paper towels, be prepared in case the dorm doesn't provide these amenities for students. Additionally, make sure that the student has laundry detergent and quarters to wash clothes.
Clothes, Shoes and Hangers
Your student will need to have clothing appropriate for various seasons. For colder climates, be sure the student has a coat, gloves, heavy socks and boots. For students moving far from home who may not come home over summer break, include lighter clothing for hotter months. Pack dress clothing as well for presentations, formals or other special events. Include hangers and a variety of shoes when you pack.
Additional Equipment and Documents
Students will need their Social Security card, birth certificate and bank account information. Include tools, such as a hammer, nails and duct tape. Those who play a musical instrument or participate in sports should bring their instruments and sports equipment as well.
Nicholas Smith has written political articles for SmithonPolitics.com, "The Daily Californian" and other publications since 2004. He is a former commissioner with the city of Berkeley, Calif. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of California-Berkeley and a Juris Doctor from St. John's University School of Law.