College Dorm Move-In Tips

So it’s time to move your kid into the college dorm.  We’ve done it five times now and I have a few tips that might make it just a skosh easier.
First of all, plan what they need to take. There are hundreds of “must-have” dorm room lists all over the internet so I am not going to reinvent the wheel here.  Check your college’s Residential Life program and they will have a good list.
I think boys are easier than girls.  They aren’t usually worried about having a “cute” dorm room, know what I mean?
Next, make sure you know what they CAN’T take.  My son’s school forbids coffee makers, including Keurigs, hot plates, candles, and popcorn poppers.  Anything that gets hot or makes steam is a no-no because of fire risk and the steam can set off the smoke alarms
Think hard about the size of their dorm room.  They are usually pretty small and space is at a premium.  Things they do have need to be somewhat organized so they can actually find it when they need it.   Less is more in this case. You can get things later if they are really needed.
***If your kid wears glasses, pack up some spares and a repair kit!!!***
They probably don’t need their entire wardrobe with them unless they are minimalist and have a capsule wardrobe.  (I have never seen a minimalist college student).  Plan a reasonable amount of appropriate clothing that is enough for at least two weeks of wear at a time.  As seasons change, add warmer things as needed.
Consider the practical aspects of transporting these items to the room.
If you can consolidate small and medium-sized things into larger manageable containers they are much easier to move.  If you have a good furniture dolly or a sturdy wagon (bonus points if it’s one of those foldable ones) you might want to bring it if you have space. Many dorms have carts you can borrow on move-in day.  My older son’s dorm did not, so we learned to bring our own dolly.
The three of us (mom, dad, and boy) got our younger boy moved in with 2 dolly loads and a hand-carry load.  The first load was fridge and microwave, the second was a big plastic tote and two small moving boxes. His clothes were in a large rolling suitcase, and things like pillows, the mattress pad, and such we carried.
Bring along a little cooler with water and Powerade, and have some snacks on hand for when you are tired and hangry.
Practically speaking, this is not the day to dress super cute.   Practical clothes and comfortable shoes are what you need to wear.
If you *ahem* perspire freely like me, consider a change of clothing if you need to be somewhere after move in.  For instance, this time we had a group lunch followed by an orientation meeting since our son was in a special early move-in Bridge Program. I did not actually change (this was our easiest move so far!) but it was nice to have the option.
Try to mark the bedding box and get all that stuff up first thing, along with cleaning supplies.  Give the room a quick cleanup and hit the mattress with some Lysol (for your own peace of mind) before making the bed up.  Now you can lay stuff on the made bed as you unpack.
Move-in day is usually hot. If it’s not hot outside it will be hot inside. You may have to park a fair distance from the door. And you will be carrying stuff, going up and down stairs.  You will be stressed. Your spouse will be stressed. Your kid will be stressed. All this means you will be sweaty and probably cranky by the time move-in is complete. Expect it and plan for it.  If it turns out to be super easy, congratulations!
Your baby is leaving home and you are most likely rather sad about that.  This day is not about you, however!  For the sake of your child try to keep any crying out of their vicinity.  They don’t need to feel guilty about growing up and moving away.  You can cry on the way home.  😉
Be prepared to make a speedy getaway after they are settled.  This is the biggest transition of their lives so far and it may be hard to handle.  They are ready to get going with their new experience, so be ready and willing to hit the road quickly.  Of course, not all kids will be so eager for you to go; ours were fine with us hanging around long enough to get lunch and say goodbye. We made sure to discuss this before we left home and let them make the decision on how long we were staying.
I hope these tips make your child’s college move-in just a bit easier!

Getting a Higher ACT Math Score

My younger son took his ACT for the second time in early February. He got a decent score the first time, but in the hope of getting better scholarship offers elected to take it again to try and increase his math score (and bump up his composite as well).
He took it originally in April 2017 as a sophomore and got a 28 in math with a 32 composite. He was taking Thinkwell online Geometry at the time. This year he is taking Thinkwell Trigonometry (which begins with a massive Algegra 2 review!).  I am not affiliated with Thinkwell, we just really like their upper-level math courses for homeschool.

This post contains affiliate links.  See my full disclosure policy here.

We had the first edition of this McGraw-Hill 50 Top Skills for a Top Score ACT Math  (the second edition is out now) that his brother had used with some success when he was in high school and so thought it would be a good way to try and increase his math score. There are 50 lessons to cover 50 key ACT math concepts and strategies. He signed up for the February 10, 2018, test. By the time we recovered from the holidays and a family vacation, he had three and a half weeks to study; practically speaking he had 22 days. I challenged him to cover at least three lessons a day on top of his regular schoolwork. He had Sundays off and at least one camping weekend during this time, so he usually did four lessons a day.
Test day came and went, and I knew the scores usually come out the second Tuesday after the test Saturday so was really planning to check first thing on the 20th but got busy and forgot!
It was a couple of days after the scores were up before I remembered to look.
Mission accomplished! He managed to score 33 on the math section, which was a gain of five points! His other scores were comparable to last time, so his composite went up to a 34. I went and woke him up to show him the scores on my laptop screen. He was less excited than I expected.
This book is available on Amazon.
His method was simply working through the lessons in order, but this includes a CD with two extra practice tests (recommended), a pre-test and post-test, and cut out flash cards.  These images are from our book, which is a few years old.  The one linked above on Amazon is the new second edition.

I should say that no matter how good the prep materials are, you won’t get a good result without a lot of time and effort.   Your results may vary!

I think his Thinkwell Trig course with the Algebra 2 review included helped but the prep book was a HUGE factor in improving his score.  We highly recommend it!