Moms and College Move in Day

College move in day for new first-year students is a stressful day in a normal year. You’re excited, and be honest, maybe a little anxious. Your parents are excited for you, but also wondering where the past 18 years went and hoping they taught you well.

Last year COVID-19 was added to the mix… and well, you can probably imagine.

Colleges adjusted their previous move-in day procedures to include social distancing protocols in 2020. Some of these new procedures may remain. You may have been given a specific time to arrive so all new students are not moving in at the same time. And perhaps a time limit so that your family has left before the next round of new students arrive.

Regardless of your college’s expectations, it is important to rely on preparation, patience and understanding for a smooth college move-in day.


Don’t wait until the day before to pack and just throw everything in a box. Be strategic. There are many blogs online with packing tips and hacks for your college move in day. Such as

Highlights include:

  • Pre-build lofts if you plan to loft your bed. Google “how to build a loft for college” for several styles and directions. Build the loft in your garage to make sure you have all the pieces, take it apart and reassemble in your dorm room. Don’t forget to bring whatever tools you’ll need!
  • Pack strategically. Whatever you will want in your room first (like a fan, surge protector, cleaning supplies, floor rug) load that in your vehicle last. If you have assistance carrying stuff from your vehicle to your room, ask that boxes be left in the hall so you can move them in as you are ready to unpack them.
  • Dress appropriately and bring a small carry-on bag with a change of clothes and essentials. Your college move-in day is not the day to be concerned with fashion. You will be hot. You will get sweaty. Be prepared. However, you will also most likely begin new student welcome activities later in the day. Pack a change of clothes to be ready to freshen up before getting to know your classmates.
  • Did I mention it will be hot? Bring a small cooler with cold beverages and snacks to provide sustenance.


Patience will be extremely important, especially if you and your floormates have a limited time to move in.

  • Arrive at the appropriate time, maybe a few minutes early to make sure you are in the right place. It will not be helpful to arrive hours early due to limited parking/unloading areas.
  • Be patient with your family. Your parents may be anxious to get everything out of boxes and put away. If you clearly mark the boxes when packing, it will be easy for them to know what goes in the closet, in the dresser, in the desk. If they put something in the ‘wrong’ place, you can always move it later.
  • Be patient with others. With a limited amount of time to move in, possibly restricted traffic patterns and fewer people helping to move belongings, people are going to get tired, grumpy, stressed. A kind word, a held door will do wonders.


Know that it is going to break your mom’s heart to leave with your room a mess. Face it, she’s seen your bedroom and wants you to at least start with an organized room and to know your bed was made at least once.

It’s a long-standing tradition for parents of first-year students to stick around until every box is unpacked and every poster hung. Dads will have met all your neighbors and their parents, and Moms will always make your bed before they leave.

This year may be different. You may need to do the final unpacking on your own.

Do Mom a favor, send her a video. Let her know that her baby is all grown up, has the dorm room in order, and is ready for this next step in life.