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What not to bring to your dorm room at boarding school

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It can be tough to decide what to bring to your dorm room at boarding school, and earlier this week, we offered some helpful advice on 10 things to bring to boarding school. On the flip-side of this discussion, there are also several things that your boarding school likely does NOT allow students to have in their dorm rooms:

1. Toaster ovens & toasters

These appliances can be fire hazards if not monitored and used properly, and as such, are banned from most boarding school dorm rooms. Fortunately, schools like Cheshire Academy offer daily meals, including DIY toast, with both toasters and bread (as well as bagels and English muffins) provided.


2. Coffee pots & water heaters

If you need your daily dose of java, head to the dining hall or student center. Most schools provide coffee and tea for both students and faculty, so you don’t have to make your own. If you’re lucky, your school might even offer hot chocolate and cappuccino on a daily basis, too!  


3. Hot plates & microwave ovens

Yep, another fire hazard for dorm rooms. However, most dorms have a common room where you can heat up food if you’re having a snack outside of dining hall hours.



4. Rice cookers

Noticing a trend here, and not just fire hazards? That’s right, most food preparation items are unnecessary and often banned from dorm rooms. With a full service dining hall at boarding school that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, there’s very little need to be making food in your dorm room.


5. Mini fridge

This one may vary by school, but many boarding schools do not allow students to have mini fridges in their rooms. The potential for leaks, funky smells, and spoiled food can be a recipe for disaster. Most likely, your dorm has a community fridge in a common area where you can store the few things you need to refrigerate.


6. Electric heaters

This may be an item you think you need at New England boarding schools in particular, but these toasty appliances are yet another example of fire hazards. A towel or t-shirt too close, a tipped over heater, or even simply forgetting to turn it off could potentially leave you and your dorm-mates homeless. These are best left at home. Remember, you do have heat in your dorm room, and you can always bring an extra blanket or use thermal curtains to help block out the cold if you’re concerned.


7. Extension cords

Surge protectors are great and usually a must-have, but extension cords are not. Leave these cords behind. Keep in mind that surge protectors come in a variety of cord lengths, giving you the flexibility of the extension cord without the potential hazards.


8. Video game systems & televisions

You’re at school to work and learn, and TVs and video games can be a major distraction. There’s always an opportunity to relax with a game on the weekend at the student center or watch television in the common rooms when you have free time. Plus, gathering in these public areas gives you a chance to socialize with your classmates.


9. Candles, incense, plug-in air fresheners

While you want your room always smelling fresh and clean, these fragrant accessories are banned at most schools. Open flames are fire hazards, and your room likely doesn’t have many extra outlets; save your outlets for your surge protector and desk lamp!


10. Christmas Lights

Christmas lights are not intended for year-round use, and are often banned from dorm rooms for insurance reasons, including them being a fire hazard. Check with your student life office to see what is allowed before setting up these twinkly lights.


So basically, don’t bring food-making appliances, things that might catch on fire, and things that could potentially harbor stinky, spoiled food. And while we’re at it, we recommend washing your laundry regularly to avoid funky smells in your dorm room.

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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