College & University: Where to Live and What to Bring
Deciding to attend college or university can lead to an endless stream of decision making. Starting with which schools to apply to, getting more complex from there. What will you study? How will you pay? Will you work? Play sports? Get involved in student politics? Where will you live; on campus in a dorm, or off campus in an apartment?
There are benefits and draw backs to both. Dorms are close to school and can be quite convenient. They are secure, social, there are planned activities and people around to help you with school work, or comfort you if you are feeling down. The downside is they can be loud. There are rules, and there’s little privacy.
Apartments can be quieter and provide more privacy. It’s much easier to control who’s coming and going. But it can be a longer commute to campus (you may need to budget for transportation expenses). Apartments can be less secure and expensive if you have to pay for rent, utilities, phone, cable, internet, apartment insurance, groceries, laundry, parking, etc. Often a lot of additional expenses will be included in your dorm fee, like a meal card and internet for example. Having an apartment will most likely come with you having to sign a 1 year minimum lease (however, sometimes you can get out of it if needed).
The other challenge is pinning down what to bring once you decide where to live. Most colleges provide a list of basic necessities in their orientation package. However, these lists might not be detailed, especially for apartment living. You can use the internet to find detailed lists.
Here are a few links that may help:
These sites can help you narrow down what to pack and what to leave behind. You can also use apps like Pinterest, which has packing lists, decorating tips and storage ideas for living in small spaces. There are other apps available at the Google Play Store you can download for free. These apps provide checklists, so you can keep track of what you’ve already purchased and packed, tips on each item, and the ability to add or remove items. You don’t want to over pack. Often times an item seems like a necessity, but will end up unused, taking up space.
Whether you move into an apartment or dorm make sure you know the rules before you start packing. Know what is and isn’t allowed. If you are moving in with a roommate, check with them so you don’t have two of everything.
Here’s a list of items you might not think of for Dorms and Apartments:
- Shower shoes (like flip flops with good treads so you don’t slip)
- Dish liquid, washer and dryers
- Microwavable dishes and storage containers
- Mini fridge
- Bed risers
- Noise cancelling headphones
- Extra blankets and pillows (for guests, cool nights or extra seating)
- Cleaning supplies (including broom, dust pan, mop, vacuum, toilet brush etc.)
- Shower curtain
- Garbage cans
- Shovel (if you live where it snows)
- Condiments , spices and olive oil for cooking
- Tin foil, parchment paper, plastic wrap and storage bags