While the experience will vary from person to person, a lot of students consider their college years as an exciting period in their lives. This is because most of them start to live away from home and take a step towards gradually becoming an adult. Settling in a new city is an opportunity to become independent, to take responsibility for oneself, to establish one’s aspirations, and to look for one’s way out in challenging situations.

The transition may seem intimidating, especially if you’ve never experienced living away from home before. Nonetheless, there are many students who are able to adapt to the change, so you can, too. Moving out for college starts your journey towards self-improvement, self-reliance, and self-determination—which is why it’s important to plan ahead.

Before moving to a new city to attend your college of choice, it’s best to be prepared. Below are several ways to ready yourself as you settle in a new city.

Before Moving In

1. Create a detailed moving plan


To set yourself up for success, make it a point to jot down an exhaustive moving plan. Months prior to your move-in date, make a checklist of the things you need to comply with ahead of time. Likewise, it would be better if you produce another list outlining the things you need to pack. Ensure that everything is prepared and nothing is forgotten.

When it comes to your new school, take the initiative to become familiar with the rules and guidelines ahead of time. Start researching and visit your college webpage to find out which relevant papers to secure. Carefully read and familiarize yourself with campus move-in rules and significant deadlines. If you will be staying in an on-campus dorm, pay attention to check-in times, procedures, and other pertinent policies.

Likewise, as part of your moving plan, you may download some useful apps in order to get to know the area. There are mobile apps that are designed to organize and help you out as you settle. These serve as your guide in directing you to certain places in the city.

2. Prepare your documents


If you’re going to study abroad, you need to contact your university ahead of time in order to obtain the list of requirements and documents needed to apply for a student visa. Go the extra mile by reading the frequently asked questions (FAQs) of the country’s respective embassy.

On the other hand, if the college you’ll attend is just a three-hour drive from your parent’s house, you still need to secure a list of school and leasing requirements. Examples of these may be legal papers and academic records from your prior school. Keep the original copy and have the rest photocopied. Then, place them in envelopes or in a safe binder.

3. Wisely choose what to pack


When it comes to packing, take some time to properly evaluate the things you’ll bring along. Before purchasing anything, consider some factors. If you’ll have a roommate, see what they may intend to bring into space. For instance, if your roommate will bring a mini-refrigerator, you can then bring a microwave. Don’t worry about not being able to pack everything as items that are left behind may be picked up at a later date, or can be shipped or purchased nearby.

After weeks of having moved into a new city, you’ll have a solid idea of the area’s cheap yet reputable stores, where you can purchase whatever it is you didn’t get to bring along. Just make sure to pack the essentials and the needed documents. You may also bring along little keepsakes and memorabilia to remind you of home. This way, you won’t feel that lonely when you start to miss your family.

Moreover, when it comes to packing clothes, consider the local climate of the place as this gives you an idea of what clothes you’ll need and what type of activities you can enjoy. Prepare yourself ahead of time if it’s a climate you aren’t used to before.

4. Decide on the location of your living space


There are colleges that may require particular groups of students such as freshmen to live on-campus. Likewise, there are others that don’t provide any residential space. If you are offered options, consider each one carefully before you sign any lease.

You may choose between a nearby dorm or apartment, and there are many rental spaces you can choose from online. If you have a spare budget for your mini home, you can come up with an apartment wish list. This can function as your guide when looking for your new home without going over your budget. Through the convenience presented by the internet, you can easily browse through websites such as for photos and online descriptions to grasp what an apartment would look like.

Before your official move-in date, visit your chosen space. Examine and measure its actual size. This gives you an idea if you can bring extra appliances you might need. You may be able to bring collapsible, multipurpose furniture that may make your life a tad easier.

Additionally, it would be great to get to know your leasing agent or landlord. This person may direct you to nearby eateries and supply stores in the area. Learn how to get along with others because these people may help you out as you settle in this new city.

5. Learn if relatives are living in the same city


When moving in to a new city, find out whether you have relatives or close family friends who also live within the area. Knowing someone who lives nearby can help you feel safe and secure. There may be times when you might need help from others, so having relatives within the city allows you to have someone whom you can lean on or ask for advice regarding school.

Settling in a new city as you start college may seem daunting, and there may be times when you will feel isolated. This is why it would be better to have a few connections who may provide support. Moreover, there are social benefits when it comes to familiarizing yourself with others beforehand. They may introduce you to their circle, who may potentially become your acquaintances.

If, for instance, you really don’t know anyone, create a backup plan. Consult your family regarding these kinds of circumstances. It may be difficult to have no connections beforehand, but remember that you can still get through things alone.

6. Figure out how you will move your belongings


When it comes to transferring your belongings, choose a method that would best carry all of them. If your family’s car is unable to fit everything at once, then look for other options.

For instance, you may rent a portable moving container. Just keep in mind that the costs will rely on the size and the length of time you chose to rent the container. You may also opt for a truck. If you are prepared not only to move but also to drive, then you may consider renting a moving truck. There are a lot of credible rental companies that you can find online. With this option, you may be able to save more money.

A tip that would come in handy is to refrain from choosing a peak move-in date, which is during weekends or on certain holidays. There may be times that the price of the rentals increases due to the demand. With this in mind, you can perhaps rent on a weekday. This is also to avoid potential weekend traffic and crowded move-in dates.

In addition, you may also have your stuff shipped. This may be a preferable option for those who don’t have a lot of possessions. This is also a convenient way to deliver your things to another city. However, keep in mind that your belongings may be stuck at a storage facility for a week or so before it can be delivered to you.

7. Mentally condition yourself


After all the physical preparation, you need to mentally condition yourself for the transition. Moving away from family can definitely be something novel to you. Change can be scary, but there are a lot of benefits that you can reap when you learn to step out of your comfort zone.

For starters, you need to improve your basic skill sets, such as cooking, cleaning, budgeting, and the like. Read relevant topics online or a survival guide to college. It can be a bit overwhelming at the start, but confidence can be built over time. Additionally, a new environment offers you a chance to develop your interpersonal skills, giving you the opportunity to expand your social web and build lifelong relationships.

Apart from this, you also need to learn to set your priorities. Gradually strike a balance between academics and leisure. Although you may become busy with all the school work, learn to incorporate self-care habits into your routine.

Moving to college will introduce you to the world of being an adult, and it’s inevitable to feel homesick, particularly in the first few weeks. Thus, it may be helpful when you’ve mentally conditioned yourself ahead of time to cope with all these adjustments.

After Moving In

1. Learn to care for your new home


As you settle into your new home, you need to know how to care for it. Maintaining the space will always be a priority, particularly now that you are the head of the house. Your new home is where you will spend most of your time, so make it a point to create a livable space that allows you to feel relaxed and secure.

A well-tended environment will potentially influence your behavior and thoughts. As you adjust to this new space, gradually transform it into a place that’s conducive for learning. It should be a home that allows you to stay sharp when working on class notes and studying for major exams. Tidy up your place by organizing things ahead of time, maximizing corners, and securing cleaning supplies in shelves.

You can actually make your dorm room look stylish and cozy. You just need to figure out what accents to supplement in the area, such as small plants like succulents. The ideas are endless!

2. Get to know the city


The actual size of the city is of importance, particularly when you need to commute as you go places. Be familiar with public transit so you can avoid getting lost. In some cases, it may be more convenient to have your own car. But if you don’t have any, you can still travel with ease by having a mobile map for directions.

You can become familiar with the city by starting in your neighborhood. From there, explore your way outward. Visit nearby restaurants and retail stores, and get to know their actual proximity to your new home. Look for local services such as a doctor’s office, laundry shop, and grocery stores. A new city is always worth exploring so you can get a feel of how it is to live there.

3. Explore the campus


Take advantage of freshmen assemblies and find your way through the campus. Orientations usually start weeks before your regular classes begin. These programs serve as an opportunity for students to get acclimated and ask their teachers questions.

Keep in mind that new students are also trying to make acquaintances and adapt to the new environment, so don’t be shy. After the initial orientations, a lot of colleges still provide other activities for freshmen to aid them further. These allow them to better connect with their classmates and school organizations.

The Takeaway

As a college student, moving into a new city may be overwhelming and a tad difficult. For this reason, learn to approach the transition with patience and a positive outlook. Keep in mind that you can take your time as you adapt and settle into this new environment.

Being physically and mentally prepared may help ease you into the adjustment period. This new responsibility may be challenging, but trust that you can pull things through. Soon enough, you will be able to finally call this new city your other home.