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10 Things to bring to boarding school: A guide to moving into your dorm room

It can be tough to decide what to bring to your dorm room at boarding school, so we are here to offer some helpful advice (plus a free printable checklist!).

Typically, your dorm room will be equipped with a twin bed and mattress, a desk and chair, closet, and window shade. However, you need more than just a mattress to make a dorm room a home! Here are 10 things to bring to boarding school to help you get your year off to a great start:

Pillows, Sheets, and a Blanket/Comforter

Most boarding schools will provide a mattress, but not much to cover it! You’ll need two sets of sheets (typically a twin XL), one comforter, and two (or more!) pillows. Consider a color coordinated set to make your dorm room pop.

Quick tip: Most boarding schools will provide information about the dimensions of your bed. Here at Cheshire Academy, our mattress dimensions are located on the Resources page of MyCheshire for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Towels: bath, hand, and face towels

This is a big one! Showers are provided, but towels are not. Bring at least two towels so that you’re not left soaking on laundry day.

Toiletry items: toothbrush and toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc., and a shower caddy to carry it all

Most boarding students keep their shower supplies in their dorm room, so a caddy helps you carry it to and from your room and the shared bathroom space.

Shower shoes

Since you’re showering in a space with multiple people who are not members of your family, it’s smart to bring shower shoes. $10.00 rubber flip flops from Old Navy are a popular choice. You wear them from your dorm room, right into the shower stall, and back!

Trash can

This one seems like a no brainer! A small trash can for your bedroom will help you keep things tidy.

Small fan

Most dorms don’t have air conditioners (though some do; check your school’s policy!), and so one way to stay cool is to bring a small fan. Fans also help provide some white noise, which can be a big must when living with a roommate.

Laptop computer or other device as directed by your school

This is an obvious one, you’ll need a computer or tablet that you can use to do your work. Check with your school to see if there are required devices or recommended devices. If you’re an international student, you may want to purchase your device from the country where you’ll be studying to ensure that it’s fully compatible with your school and to make it easier for your technology department to provide you with help.

Desk lamp

Sometimes, overhead lights aren’t ideal for doing homework at night, and a desk lamp will help. Plus, on those nights when your roommate goes to bed early, you can turn off the room lights and still work at your desk.

Alarm clock

Boarding school teaches you time management skills and as part of that, you are responsible for making sure that you wake up on time. While you may have an alarm on your phone, it’s always a good idea to have a battery-powered alarm clock as a backup option. Many schools have penalties for repeated absences and tardies, so this one is super important.

Surge protector power strip

Protect your devices from a power surge and power multiple devices at once using a power strip. Outlets in dorm rooms can be limited, and these handy tools can make a huge difference.

If you’re traveling a distance to get to your new boarding school, you might want to make a list of items you need and do your shopping locally after you arrive. Often, boarding schools offer shuttles to area stores to help you get everything you need to set up your dorm room. Remember that not all boarding schools have the same rules on what to bring and what to leave at home, so if you have any questions, the student life office at your school can clarify.


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Stacy Jagodowski

Written by Stacy Jagodowski

Ms. Jago joined the Cheshire Academy community in August 2013 as the director of strategic marketing and communications. Prior to coming to Cheshire Academy, she spent six years working in communications offices at both colleges and private school, as well as five years in admission at both boarding schools and day schools.

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