What to know about housing and dorm move in


If your student will be living on campus their first year of college, they (and you) probably have questions about what to expect during move-in. Every college has a different system for housing and moving students into their residence halls at the beginning of the school year, but we’re here to offer some advice about what to bring and what you should know about college housing.

The roommate situation

The college roommate: an essential part of the college experience. Colleges will pair students up for housing, but many schools also allow students to request a specific person. If your student knows someone from high school who is attending the same college, they could request each other as roommates. Or, they could try rooming with someone new! Some colleges have online social networks specifically for incoming students to interact and meet each other beforehand. Your student can check for Facebook groups and other ways to meet a potential roommate in advance. 

In most cases, both students must request each other in order to be paired as roommates. They may also have to be in the same school or program in order to room together — more on that below. For some insider info on the college roommate experience, check out this podcast episode where two current ASU students talk about their experiences.

The ins and outs of housing

There are all kinds of layouts for college dorms: Some buildings will be co-ed, with either separate floors for men and women or everyone on the same floors. Some will have shared bathrooms for the floor, while others will have either private bathrooms in each room, or a bathroom that is only shared between two rooms. It’s possible that a college will have multiple types of dorm setups on campus, so your student should keep that in mind when selecting a residence hall. 

Colleges also sometimes place students into housing based on their academic major. This means that students studying similar subjects will all be living in the same space, making it easier for students to form study groups and make friends who will likely be in their classes. Check out the housing website for your student’s college to get more information about how housing arrangements are set up. 

What to bring, what to leave behind

Every college housing situation is different — some will provide students with a minifridge and microwave, while others students will have to rent or buy those themselves. Some will have a private bathroom that students will have to provide cleaning supplies (and a shower curtain) for, while others have a shared bathroom space. Whatever the case may be, there are some staples that students should bring to college — and some things that should be left at home.

Check in with the school to find out what size the bed is before you buy sheets — many college dorms have “XL twin” beds, which are slightly different dimensions from the standard twin bed and require specific sheets. 

Many items like toasters, hot plates and coffee pots should stay at home. Most residence halls don’t allow these items inside students’ rooms. Other potential fire hazards like Christmas lights and candles might not be allowed either. Find out if the residence hall has a communal kitchen space if your student will really be craving that morning cup of coffee — or they can head to the dining hall. 

For a more comprehensive list of things to bring to college, take a look at this checklist for advice on what to pack when moving into a university dorm. 

Contact a housing representative

Of course, the best way to get questions answered about housing and move-in is to contact the university housing department of the specific college or university. There is likely a housing or residence office on campus if you or your student want to speak to someone in person, or a phone or email listed on the website. You can ask your student’s admission representative to connect you to the right person.