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Sending your oldest child to college

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
A quick intro: Hi, I'm Daylily and used to post here long ago when my four kids were little. Now my oldest is getting ready to leave for college. He's leaving in just over a month to a school that's 500 miles away from home, so it's a bit stressful trying to figure out how to get him back and forth for holidays (he doesn't have a car--I wouldn't want him to have a car since he's at a city campus with extremely limited parking) and what he'll need to get settled into his dorm and how to manage his personal finances, etc.

Not to mention the emotional stress of letting him go. I watched Toy Story 3 the other day and just sobbed.

Despite the emotions, I'm thinking now of practical matters. What do I need to buy him? So far he's gotten a lap top and a new set of sheets. I guess he'll need a printer, laundry basket, a LOUD alarm clock, a few dishes, basic school supplies. Perhaps he and his roommates can go in together on a fridge and microwave? Am I forgetting anything? He's going to open a checking account and have a debit card for spending money and we're hoping he'll get a part time job and manage his spending money by himself. The college requires that he purchase a meal plan.

When I went to college, my parents wouldn't let me live in the dorms and I had to commute from home and missed the whole "going away" experience, and anyway, the dorms at this college are a lot nicer now than they were when I was there.

Who else is sending a child away this year? Can we share advice? Thanks.
post #2 of 11
Hi again!

This thread from a few months ago might be useful for you, too... or we can kind of move the discussion to this new thread.

I wouldn't get the printer... I've been a student at two universities in the last three years and at both everyone used the labs to print stuff, and some even had printers in the dorms... much easier. I do have the freebie printer I got with my laptop at home, but I rarely use it... and I'm not in a dorm, obviously.

Dorm mattresses are often extra-long, so be sure you have the right sheets... also, laundry bags can be easier than baskets, if there's a laundry service especially.

My kid has one more year at home, or at leats that's the current plan.
post #3 of 11
Comforter, hygiene supplies, something to carry them to the shower in depending on the room set up, small stereo/radio depending on what his roommate is bringing, towels...
The school should send you a suggested list.
post #4 of 11
If you're not driving him there, I'd buy the linens through school. DS1 is on the opposite side of the country, and we saved our sanity having his bedding, etc., shipped to school.

Congratulations!
post #5 of 11
If he is living on-campus and has meals provided, I'd hold off on buying microwaves and fridges and other electrical appliances until you are sure about the dorm rules. If allowed, an electric kettle is a good idea if he likes coffee or tea or powdered hot chocolate and there is no kitchen or it's far from his room.

Has he seen the dorm rooms? Many are short on cupboard and shelf space, so you may want to consider some extra storage - bed boxes that fit under the bed, stacking shoe boxes and hanging organizers that will help organize a small closet, etc. I wouldn't buy anything until you know what will fit in the room though.

If he's allowed to hang things on the walls, a bulletin board and some posters or photos or artwork is nice. Again, you need to check the rules.

For the return drive home, I often managed to get a lift from someone who was heading home too and wanted gas money. In the old days, word-of-mouth and campus grapevine worked to find a ride. These days, I imagine there are electronic bulletin boards or lists for that sort of thing on campus.

Good luck to him. How exciting to take this next step in life!
post #6 of 11
There is probably some kind of list of suggested supplies, somewhere on the school website if you google it.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice. It would be nice not to add the expense of a printer or fridge if he doesn't need them. And a laundry bag would at least take up less space than a basket. I know all the dorms at his college come equipped with free washing machines (no coins needed!) which is awesome. And my neice who went there said something about computers in the dorm basements, but she didn't mention printers. Actually, I just looked at the website for the residence hall he requested and each floor has a fully equipped community kitchen with stove and full-sized fridge and dishwasher, even! I don't know how many kids would be sharing that one kitchen though or who is responsible for cleaning it. I think a small bucket of cleaning supplies might be in order.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by daylily View Post
Despite the emotions, I'm thinking now of practical matters. What do I need to buy him? So far he's gotten a lap top and a new set of sheets. I guess he'll need a printer, laundry basket, a LOUD alarm clock, a few dishes, basic school supplies. Perhaps he and his roommates can go in together on a fridge and microwave? Am I forgetting anything? He's going to open a checking account and have a debit card for spending money and we're hoping he'll get a part time job and manage his spending money by himself. The college requires that he purchase a meal plan.
He's done basic budgeting before? If not, a lesson or 2 from you might be helpful. I would be super-explicit about what expenses are "his" and what you might expect to help with. If he is used to going out to eat/movies/cell phone etc. on the family dime, it may come as a shock how expensive these things are on a part-time, minimum-wage job.

2 sets of towels. In a color that can handle bleach. All RH showers are bleached down, and when the towel brushes up against a freshly cleaned shower, it will get bleach streaks on it.
No printer, but you've already figured that out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by daylily View Post
Thanks for all the advice. It would be nice not to add the expense of a printer or fridge if he doesn't need them. And a laundry bag would at least take up less space than a basket. I know all the dorms at his college come equipped with free washing machines (no coins needed!) which is awesome. And my neice who went there said something about computers in the dorm basements, but she didn't mention printers. Actually, I just looked at the website for the residence hall he requested and each floor has a fully equipped community kitchen with stove and full-sized fridge and dishwasher, even! I don't know how many kids would be sharing that one kitchen though or who is responsible for cleaning it. I think a small bucket of cleaning supplies might be in order.
pop-up laundry baskets are all the rage.
Cleaning supplies would be GREAT. Expect them to go pretty much untouched. (unless your son is significantly different from average.) Laundry soap might get used. Free washers are a great perk!
He and his roommate(s) might go in together on a small dorm fridge.
Another vote for waiting on all other electrical/cooking appliances until you find out what the residence hall regs are. Might want a power strip (but they may be technically not allowed).


Britta pitcher or similar for water in the room?
I think having a nice-looking room, with matching comforter, sheets...is nice, but maybe that's a girl-thing.
Sticky stuff for hanging posters.
lots of underwear and socks.
flip-flops for the shower (although college students these days wear them all over, even in the winter, without socks)
Bottle of vitamins, if you do that sort of thing. College student diets can be atrocious.
Does he know how to use a planner? Will he take your advice or seek out getting a planner on his own? either paper or electronic. Even if you mention it, it might give him the idea that it's important to keep track of his assignments, activities...SO overwhelming for first-year students who have not been doing this for themselves (or who have not had the need because they were on the top of their class at home or whatever).
Mini-stapler for his backpack and staples. These are often NOT located in public printer spaces, but profs really don't like getting a stack of unstapled papers. Yes, the stapler should be kept in his bookbag. Students print out their assignments on their way to class, typically.
Pack of #2 pencils and a portable pencil sharpener.
post #9 of 11
The floor kitchen is most likely cleaned (or not) by those that use it. In my dorm the kitchen's were so gross no one would touch them!

Teach him to do his own laundry if he doesn't already know - I was an RA on an all boys floor and I had SO MANY of them ask me how to do their laundry! It was hilarious.

No printer - most likely there is a printing allowance each semester (or quarter) included in the "other fee's" section of his bill - he can use the computer lab to print and its cheaper for you since you're already paying for him to use the labs printers.

Definitely wait to find out regulations on whats allowed in his dorm room - most likely nothing with an exposed heating element will be allowed (they weren't when I was an RA) b/c they are a fire hazard. I had a microwave, toaster oven and mini-fridge in my dorm, but I didn't use them that much b/c I ate in the cafeteria most of the time.

He won't need much really, most of the boys on my floor didn't have much stuff - girls are the ones who take their entire lives with them IME.
post #10 of 11
My boy is off next month, too!

I would definitely get him a printer. Yes, most stuff can be printed via the university, but sometimes.... there's that last minute paper you need to get done and the printing service hours don't work out well.

Microfridge.... Most colleges now require them to be rented so that the electrical system doesn't get overloaded. Seriously - they come in handy. The kids can keep some cold drinks, milk, basic groceries and not worry about anyone but the kid(s) sharing with them using the stuff up. SO when they have a late night, they have that stuff right there.

Bedding, bath stuff/toiletries (and something to carry them in!), lamp, laundry bags and detergent/quarters (not all facilities are free), some storage bins. If he has a laptop, a lock for it. Hangers. A copy of The Naked Roommate! Good stuff in there! Condoms and lubricant - better safe than sorry. TV. Find out if they need a phone - my son's school provides a landline, but the kids have to provide a phone.
post #11 of 11
My boy is off next month as well. He was able to arrange to bunk with his best friend so in some ways that is making things easier. His BFF is a sophmore and transferring in from a larger school so he knows what to expect and has shared with my son what they should get.

The room they will have is small so no appliances though since my son is planning on being on crew which starts at 5:30 am and his first class is 7:30 he is getting a mini crockpot to make oatmeal so he can just eat when he gets up.

Only major things I am planning on getting are linens and cleaning supplies since they share a bathroom with like 10 other guys on their floor.

I definitely don't see a printer as a necessity in our case my son already has a laptop, he is actually selling his car since the town he is in is small and his BFF has one.

This is a strange time for me, I am alternating between uber emotional and happy. This is not my son's first time away from me since he has lived between his Dad and I since he was 6 and the past 2.5 years at his dad's 1100 miles away. But its different in the fact that he is with neither one of us. I think he is a good kid who will do well and he is working like craxy this summer to save money for the school year.
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