Preparing for Move-in: Keep it Simple

We gathered seasoned parents’ advice on packing and move-in so that you and your child will have a great start to the school year. The message is clear–keep it simple! Here are our tips:

Bring as little as possible: Rooms are small and storage/closet space is limited, and this year you won’t be able to help your child unpack and set up their dorm room. Every room is fully furnished, with an explicit request from the Dean’s office that it remains that way. Fire codes prohibit many items, so refer to the Packing List. It is also fun to let the decor of the room evolve during the year–come equipped but leave room to add “flair” along the way. Posters, pillows and throws are easy to buy online or in the many second-hand shops in the nearby towns.

Ship ahead: The helpful folks in the DA Shipping and Receiving office will accept packages in mid-August and throughout the year. Contact them for more information about their services. Boomerang Storage Company will accept incoming students’ packages and deliver them directly to your child’s dorm room at the start of school. Boxes are defined as: clothes, books, school supplies, and shipments from Amazon, Staples, etc. Don’t forget to include your student’s name and dorm. See Boomerang contact information.

Wardrobes will evolve: In addition to the suggestions on the Packing List, take a look at the Dress Code guidelines as you decide what to pack. While some students spend time thinking about what to wear each day, many do not. For the boys, start with a solid assortment of basics (blazers, button-down shirts, ties, shorts, pants, sneakers, dress shoes and flip flops) and add as needed for seasons and preferences. For the girls, flexible basics (sweaters, shirts and skirts, a few dresses, and comfortable shoes as there is a lot of walking throughout the day) can be combined with blazers in many ways and livened up with scarves and other accessories to extend options. As with room decor, it is best to err on the side of less to begin the year and let them figure out what they like, use most and need as they go along.

Don’t overstock essentials: With limited dorm space there is no need to keep a large supply of toiletries, food or other consumables. Your child will want to bring an initial supply of their favorite toiletries and a bathroom caddy basket or hanging toiletry bag labeled with their name. Plastic storage bins on wheels that slide under beds are also helpful for storage of extra clothes or linens. The Hitchcock House carries school supplies, inexpensive posters are found at, Amazon has everything, and Target, CVS, Big Y Supermarket and BJ’s are all nearby.

Miscellaneous and move-in day: This list of items from home simplify set-up on move-in day: screwdriver, hammer, scissors, tape for labels and storage, S-hooks and fishing line to hang picture frames on moldings (please don’t use nails in the walls), laundry marker, permanent marker for labeling clothes and other personal belongings, and liquid laundry detergent if your child will use the washing machines located in dorm basements.

Let your student be in charge: If your child tackles the packing list at home, it will pay off in the long run, since they will be unpacking at the Academy. They will know what they have, have what they like and know where it is. This is no guarantee that they will have a spotless room but it sets the tone that they are capable, equipped and responsible for their belongings.

Questions?   If your child has questions, their Green Key is a great source of information. Parents are welcome to contact their First Link family, too. Once on campus, senior proctors and Green Keys will be available to help on move in day and to complete any additional set up needed in the first days of school.