Get your favorite student ready for dorm life with these gotta-have products and pieces of advice from university experts.
View the slideshow above for dorm room decor advice.
DO Your Research
Shopping for college gear can be tricky, especially if you're a parent with a freshman moving into a dorm for the first time. As retailers start promoting merchandise for dorm life, shoppers can get carried away and end up purchasing more than they planned. According to housing experts at several universities, students moving on campus should always check their school's website and find out what they should and shouldn't bring. Vennie Gore, the Assistant Vice President for Residential and Hospitality Services at Michigan State University says every school and dormitory is different, so it's best to do your research before you hit the stores.
DO Know the Goods
For example, some dormitories will provide appliances for their students. According to Toni Greenslade, the Associate Director of University Housing at Ohio State University, freshman will find a MicroFridge (a combination microwave and refrigerator) in each room. At other campuses, students can find places to rent small refrigerators and appliances so they can avoid a bulky move. Some dormitories have computer labs that are open 24 hours a day, so buying a brand new laptop may not be necessary. If you already have a laptop, you may not need to purchase a brand new television or DVD player. According to Greenslade, more students are watching television and movies on their computers.
DON'T Overlook the Land Line
It's also important to check with the institution to see if it provides phone service in dorm rooms. Because cellular phones have become so common, some schools, like Ohio State, have stopped offering phone service in dormitories, while others, like Penn State, will only offer it if is requested. If land lines aren't provided, it may be time to reevaluate your mobile service plan to make sure students will have plenty of minutes to call home.
DO Be Considerate of the Planet
Be sure to coordinate with any roommates to avoid making duplicate purchases and ending up with more than what you need. David Manos, the Assistant Director of Housing at Penn State University, suggests that students and parents consider the environment when making purchases this year. Thirty percent of all the university's energy bill can be attributed to students in dorms, and simple changes, like purchasing LED lights or using CFL light bulbs can help make a difference.
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