Student unloading Zipcar
September 2, 2021

Tips on Leaving for College and Going Back to School

Whether you're going to college for the first time or returning to school after a break, there is a lot to think about. To help make the trip an easier one, we've collected some of the best tips to make going back to school a breeze. 

What to Bring With You 

If it's your first time moving away from home, figuring out what to pack is vital. Start by thinking about the items you use every day and the things you often need, then write them down and prepare a packing list. Also consider what items your school provides in your dorm, such as a desk, bed, light or trash can. Before leaving for college, here are a few things you won't want to forget:  

  • Bedding, including sheets, pillows and a comforter 

  • Towels, including washcloths and hand towels 

  • Shower shoes and a caddy to carry your personal items to washrooms 

  • An alarm clock 

  • Grooming items, such as makeup, hair products, shampoo, body wash and a shaving kit 

  • Clothing and a laundry hamper 

  • Necessary school supplies, including your laptop 

  • Items to decorate your dorm room, such as posters, photographs and rugs 

What to Leave at Home 

While packing for school, you want to make sure to travel light. While your dorm room is going to be your primary home throughout the school year, you still need to keep in mind that these rooms typically have limited storage space. Save yourself some time and stress by only packing what you'll actually use. A few things you'll want to cross off your packing list and leave behind include: 

  • Excess clothing and shoes — only pack what you'll actually wear 

  • Kitchen appliances 

  • Sports gear 

  • Oversized luggage 

Efficient Packing 

To make sure you don't end up taking too much and that your items stay safe while driving to school, make sure to take the following steps: 

  1. Prioritize what you pack — you might want to bring everything you own but focus on the things you can't get near your school and plan to buy essentials, such as toiletries, when you get there if needed.  

  1. Know the limitations of the vehicle you'll be traveling in.  

  1. Tie-down any loose items to avoid damage. 

  1. Place your essential items where you can reach them. 

  1. Try to maximize the space in your vehicle. 

Take Time for Yourself 

The anticipation of starting college or even returning to your school friends after some time away can feel overwhelming. Take time for yourself and think about the year ahead. What goals do you want to achieve this semester? What are things that you like to do to help alleviate stress or manage a heavy school workload? Envisioning what you want out of the school year can help you get off to right start whether you’re beginning or returning to campus.