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What to bring to campus

July 29, 2009 in Uncategorized

Students gathered during orientationWith only about four weeks left before the beginning of the school year, there’s a lot to get prepared for. It can be difficult to imagine living with another person, let alone three others, but its amazing how many of the situations work out as perfectly as possible. An important part to making your experience living in the residence halls enjoyable is to know what is important to bring and what can be left behind. One recommendation I will make is to have your student talk to their assigned room-mates. Together, they decide who will contribute toward the room, since it is a group effort. This team work is a good way start communication between the students and allows for an easier transition when moving in. In addition to talking about what is important to bring, I’ll also be discussing information about book shopping as many students can get their books ahead of time, so they aren’t worrying about it during Orientation Week.

Academic Supplies

For many students, this is an easy subject for them to prep for as many of the items are common to what they would have used during their early school years, but there are a few items that might escape their minds as they begin packing. A backpack is important, especially one that will be comfortable and fit everything they might need for their courses. Sometimes the schedule of classes doesn’t allow the student to return to his or her room and so they’ll have to pack the books and supplies for all the necessary courses, thus the importance of a backpack that will be able to fit everything. Other necessities include a dictionary/thesaurus, graphing calculator (a TI-89 is the recommended model, but the student can choose which graphing calculator they prefer), computer disks/CD-ROMs, stamps/envelopes, and a calendar. In terms of writing utensils and other mechanical tools for school work the list includes pencils/pens, highlighters, scissors, ruler, stapler/staples, tape and a hole-punch. Some of these items might seem a little unnecessary, but trust me when I say that all of these items have come in handy several times during my time at Michigan Tech.

Room Items/Personal Items/Electronic Items

This list will help with some of the things that students will need for their beds and general room, electronics that are allowed, and general personal items that come in handy. For many of the room items, this is where the students should coordinate what they can contribute in terms of a microwave, iron, mini-fridge, tools, etc. This way the room won’t get cluttered with double items that take up space.  Other necessary room items include blankets/comforter and mattress pad and sheets (keep in mind that the bed is an extra long twin 36”x80” and most stores carry the sheets that will fit on-sale during the back-to-school time), pillows, desk lamp, fan, hangers, storage boxes/tubs, and poster adhesive just to mention a few.  For personal Items it is important to make sure that students bring all the necessary medications they need and it helps to pack a first-aid kit for small emergencies. Other items include hair dryers, shower caddy (used to carry shower items back and forth), toiletries, and towels. Electronic items are what a lot of students like to bring along and again it helps if the students work together on some of these items, like the television. Other considered necessities are an alarm clock, camera, coaxial cable, computer equipment, extension cords, power strips, radio/cd player, and telephone. As a heads up for any parent who doesn’t know, the students will have internet coming into the room available for their use as well as a phone line with FREE long-distance calling.

Clothing and Laundry Items

This is a pretty easy list to pack for, because many of these items are used every day by the students. It is recommended that students pack several different pairs of shoes including athletic, dress, casual, and boots. From personal experience, some of the winter items (boots, winter coat, snow-pants, etc.) can wait until about Family Weekend (early October) or when students return home for Thanksgiving they can pick the winter items up then. Other things to pack include a bathrobe, casual clothing, dress clothes, pajamas, shower shoes/sandals, slippers, socks, sweaters/sweatshirts, and underwear. For the laundry supplies it is important to bring fabric softener, laundry basket/bag, laundry detergent, stain remover, bleach, and don’t forget a supply of quarters. I took a jar and every time I got quarters I would add them to the jar so that I would have a decent supply for doing laundry.

Miscellaneous Items & What NOT to Bring

Under the category of miscellaneous items is where you’d find the listing for batteries, camera, flashlights, health insurance cards (which are very important to have), photo ID, recreational equipment, sewing kit, social security card, umbrella, etc. Usually students know what they need, but remind them to keep in mind the space they have to work with and that they are sharing the space with others. There is some space for storage on campus, but it is expected that students have the majority of their items in the room. Now onto what not to bring. Specific rules in the Residence Halls limit the use of certain items, which include candles/incense, electric heaters, air conditioners, halogen lights, high school textbooks, too many suitcases, toasters, and toaster ovens/hot plates. The reason is that many of these items are a fire hazard and therefore unnecessary in the room.

For more information about what is important for the students to bring, check out Orientation On-Campus Living website. Also, it might be important to know some of the Residence Hall rules before coming to campus as a way of clearing up any confusion about what is and isn’t allowed within the halls.

Book Shopping

For many students there schedule is already set up and therefore they can get a jump start on book shopping. For students to check out what books they will be needing for the upcoming school year they simply go to the Campus Bookstore to purchase textbooks. Express Text is set-up where the student can put in their User ID and Password and get the complete listing of books needed. Then they can pre-order on-line and the books will be waiting for them when they get to campus, or students can wait and purchase them once they arrive. Just to clarify, your student’s username is the first part of their email (anything before and then the password that was given to them by Michigan Tech for logging into their email. It is alright to wait to purchase textbooks until you arrive on campus, because extra staff will be available to assist the increase in students searching for textbooks during Orientation week as well as the first week of classes. The Campus Bookstore does price-match, so if your student finds the book they need at a cheaper price (including shipping), say at or any other credible bookstore then the bookstore will sell it to your student for that price and then they won’t have to wait for the book to come in.

Other areas to find books in the area include the College Bookshelf located just off campus in the Pearl Street Mall near Jim’s IGA.  Also, the Barkboard Forum is great for finding used books at great prices, as this is the place where other Michigan Tech students will sell the books they no longer need. Some things to keep in mind and to let your students know about:  It can be very helpful to keep the receipts on books that you purchase from either the Campus Bookstore or the College Bookshelf as this will help with returning the books should the need arise. Also, some books come packaged in plastic wrap and once the wrap is off, the bookstores will not accept them back. So, it is important to make sure that your student absolutely needs the books before they open them or have to return them. The professor will let the students know exactly what books are necessary for the class. So as a suggestion, make sure your student holds on to all receipts and to hold off on opening plastic-wrapped books until the professor states that they will be specifically using those items in the course.

In the coming weeks I’ll be sharing specific information about Amplify Your Success for both parents and students, which will be details about Orientation Week. I hope you and your student(s) are getting excited for Orientation week!