If you’re a college student, the start of the school year is a little more hectic than it was in middle or high school. Whether you’re an incoming first-year student or a rising senior, here’s your checklist for move-in day preparations.

Find Housing

Ask your office of resident life whether you’re guaranteed on-campus housing in a dorm or apartment. If so, do you need to find roommates, or will they be assigned? Get a quote about pricing so you can compare the university’s rent to UW off campus housing prices. For both types of housing, figure out the last day to make a deposit and make sure that you have enough savings or loans to cover your first payment.

Figure Out Food

Whether you’re living on- or off-campus, you need a reliable source of food. Cooking for yourself is a great way to save money if you have a kitchen, but it also takes a lot of time. Investigate your college’s different meal plans, including flexible payment options, and choose one that fits with how often you’ll be on campus and how much you eat.

Choose Your Classes

Your college course schedule is so flexible that many students get overwhelmed during their first years. Use your school’s website to find classes that contribute to your chosen major, and ask your advisor or registrar for help if you’re not sure about the requirements. Most college classes are three credits, and an average semester involves 15 credits. While you can overload one semester and take fewer classes the next, make sure you stay on track to complete 120 credits before you graduate.

Buy Your Books

Most college classes require you to purchase books, and it’s hard to keep up with the reading if you wait until the first day. At least two weeks before classes begin, use your school’s bookstore or a third-party seller such as Amazon, Bookshop, Chegg, or Thriftbooks to get your books. Make sure that the ISBN number matches your professor’s requirements, or else your page numbers will be different and you may be missing materials.

Start Packing

Packing for college is a long process no matter how far away you’re going. First, make a big list of everything you’ll need:

  • Clothes
  • Notebooks
  • Pens and pencils
  • Toiletries
  • Lamps
  • Bedding

The month before you leave, begin packing anything that you won’t need for the rest of the summer, such as winter clothes and school supplies. As you get closer, add your dress clothes, shoes, and room decorations. Besides your toiletries and your last load of laundry, try not to pack anything on your departure day.

Learn About Move-In Procedures

What are the rules for your move-in day? Do you have to move in at a specific time, and do you need to report somewhere to get your keys? Ask your landlord or school officials these questions a few days before you leave to get the most accurate information.

Use this checklist to move into your college dorm or apartment like a pro.

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