What to Pack
Packing is fun for many, but it can be nerve wracking as well. It's always interesting to see dorms on move-in day, when some students are comfortable and organized, while others look like they've packed for all four years away from home.
Start with your most important items. For most students these days, that means a laptop, phone and debit card. Bedding is also important, so be sure to have linens with you or awaiting your arrival on campus.
Depending on where you go to school and how far you are from home, you'll have to make some decisions. For example, if there are extremes in weather, make sure you'll have access to cold weather gear on time. If you'll be home for Thanksgiving, that might be a good time to pick up more boots and sweaters. Students can really burn through a budget with clothing purchases, so be careful with your spending. You might need one dressy outfit, but may not be more unless you're involved in many social functions. I remember going out to get a blazer for my son, only to have him leave it at home. (I wound up sending it Federal Express!) If your parents plan to come to campus in the fall or spring, remember that they can bring down extra clothes or blankets as well as take away others so that you're not too burdened when it's time to move out of the dorm.
I often hear that girls overpack for college, yet I also recall seeing dads at the bookstore purchasing full-length mirrors. So if you're the type who likes dorm-room amenities, check with your roommates about who is bringing what. It's likely that storage is at a premium.
By your sophomore year, you'll have a much better feel for what you really need. You'll also know more about where you'll be living and if kitchen items or flat-panel screens really need to be hauled in from home.