If you are heading off to campus for your four-year degree, you will likely be among the two-thirds of all incoming freshman who live in on-campus dormitories. If so, consider yourself lucky. By living on campus you’ll have better access to your classrooms and student support services, and you’ll have more opportunities to meet new friends and get involved in campus activities. All of these are an advantage when you’re trying to adapt to the college routine.
To make sure you get the best of campus living, consider this advice.
Arrange for a campus visit
When you’re conducting your campus tours, ask to see a few of the dorms. Many campuses offer a variety of on campus living options––from traditional dorms, to separate sleeping areas with shared kitchenettes, to modern-style apartment layouts. More and more offer dormitories with coed floors, while some still offer one-sex only options. Find out what’s offered with different dorms and room styles, so if you decide to attend you will know what options you prefer.
Once you know for sure where you are going to attend college, apply with the student housing office as soon as possible. This will give you the best chance of receiving your first choice for housing. If you apply late, there is a possibility you will be placed in temporary housing until a room opens up.
Once you’ve been admitted by the college of your choice and have been given your dorm room assignment, start planning for what you will need to make your room a “home away from home”. Create a list of essential items, but be prepared to leave things behind, as even the best dorm rooms will probably be smaller than what you’re used to. Contact the student housing office and get all the information you can from the college regarding what furniture, appliances and even electronics, are provided with the room. With this list in hand, you can start planning for what you need to bring or buy.
Before buying any high-priced items, check with your assigned roommate and see if he or she might already have some things on the list. If you know your roommate can bring the mini-fridge, cross that off your list and offer to bring the television. Knowing what your roommate can provide can help you narrow your shopping list even further.
With college-provided items accounted for, and roommate-provided items crossed off your list, take a look at what’s left of your essential items, and start shopping!
Buy a Meal Plan
So that’s the Room of Room and Board. Board includes a meal plan and its something you should take advantage of if you are living on campus. It’s much cheaper than eating out and much easier than cooking for your self. Plus a pre-determined meal package can help you better budget your college expenses.
Eating in the dining hall may not sound glamorous, but it does provide the best opportunity to meet other students. Plus, most modern college dining halls offer a variety of options, from multiple entrée choices, fresh salad bars, cereal bars and even soft serve ice cream dispensers. It is worth trying your first year while your adjusting to college life.