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It’s back to school time again! Last week, we focused on tips for families with children still in the early childhood, primary, or secondary education systems. Now, we want to offer some advice for those of you who have young adults in the house who are headed to college! There’s no doubt that this is a thrilling time in their lives. While they’re getting caught up in the excitement of picking a roommate and deciding how to decorate their dorm, you can make sure they don’t forget about the more practical, yet essential side of preparing for college. Packing might not be the first thing on your son or daughter’s mind, but it’s definitely important. It’s pretty obvious what has to be packed: bedding, clothing, school supplies, etc. However, we’ve compiled a list of some things to bring that you wouldn’t usually think of or find on an online packing list. Make sure your child doesn’t start school without these useful college essentials!

  1. Brita Filter/ Filter water bottle

No one wants to drink tap water if it comes from the dorm bathroom. You have no idea how safe or clean it is! Stocking up on water bottles can get quite expensive though. A Brita filter or water bottle that has the ability to filter water will definitely come in handy and save money in the long run. Your child will always have a supply of free, fresh water whenever he or she needs it.

  1. Plastic ware, dishes, and cups

Although your son or daughter will mostly be eating at the dining hall, it’s always nice to order takeout or have a snack. Dining halls often aren’t open early in the morning or late at night, but that doesn’t mean they won’t get hungry! Make sure your child has the option of eating in their dorm at any time by supplying them with plastic plates, cups, forks, etc.

  1. Cleaning Supplies

Although you won’t be there anymore to make sure their room is tidy, you can still give your child the tools to stay neat and hope they do so! They’ll be spending a large chunk of time in their dorm, so it will definitely get dirty fast. Disinfecting wipes, a small vacuum, and a duster will solve this issue.

  1. Stain Remover

While they’re at school, your child will definitely have to wash a stain or two out of their clothes without your help. Make sure they have stain remover handy. Getting a “to go” stain remover that they can take with them is also a good idea!

  1. First Aid

No matter how much they try to avoid it, your child will probably get sick in college. You won’t be there to take care of them or make sure they’re on the mend. Prepare them with a first aid kit so they don’t have to run out to buy medicine or supplies when they already feel under the weather. Make sure you pack different kinds of medicine to cover  anything from a head cold to a stomach ache. It’s also a good idea to include tissues, band aids, and things of that sort.

  1. Ear plugs & sleeping mask

Students in dorm halls run on different schedules. Your son or daughter might be ready to go to bed, but their roommate could want to stay up to study. Make sure they get the sleep they need by packing a sleeping mask! This may also stop potential conflict between roommates over the lights! Dorm halls also get loud, especially on weekends. Your child can pop in earplugs to help them sleep through the noise. Another alternative is listening to relaxing sounds such as waves to block out loud sounds. However, earphones can get uncomfortable to sleep with. Try looking into SleepPhones, as they’re designed specifically for sleeping in.

  1. Safe

If your child is bringing valuables to college, bringing a small safe with a key or combination lock might be a good idea. This is especially true if they don’t know their roommate beforehand. Although everything will most likely run smoothly, it never hurts to make sure they always know where their valuables are and that they are safe. You should also stress that they keep an inventory of all these things if you haven’t already. Since kids are usually good with their phones, try suggesting that they download our mobile app, where they can make an inventory of their valuables with pictures. They can download our app for either Apple or Google Play, this way they’ll never lose track of their valuables!

  1. Powerstrip

Powerstips are very convient for plugging in multiple devices at once. There are only so many outlets in small dorm rooms, so you want to make the most of them! Just make sure that your son or daughter’s school allows them before you buy a powerstrip.

  1. Business Attire

When packing clothes for school, most young adults only think to bring casual pieces. However, your child will have connection fairs, important presentations, and more even during their freshman year that will require that they be dressed up. Make sure they bring one or two outfits for those occasions.

  1. Insurance

You may be wondering if your child will still be covered under your Connecticut homeowner’s insurance policy once they begin attending a college or university. If they’re living in on campus housing and considered members of your household, your insurance should still cover them from the same damages that you’re covered for, even while they’re in their dorm. However, if your child decides to live off campus, for example in an apartment nearby, your homeowner’s policy will not cover them. They will need renter’s insurance. Keep in mind that many college’s do not guarantee housing for all four years and it could be very likely that your child will have to live off campus in the future, even if they aren’t right now. Of course, before your child leaves for college, make sure to give us a call so we can discuss exactly what your policy covers and what steps you might need to take.  

Hopefully, this list will make preparing for college and your son or daughter’s life at school a little more convenient. We hope that your family treasures this experience! We wish your child an amazing freshman year filled with fun, friends, and knowledge.