Parent to Parent June 2021
Congratulations on your child’s acceptance into the Dickinson College class of 2025!
We are Andrew and Lori Flame, chairpersons of the Parents Leadership Council. Our daughter, Rachel, is a rising senior in the class of 2022. It seems like just yesterday that we were excited (and nervous) about her upcoming first year as a Red Devil. Three years later, Rachel is a biochemistry and molecular biology major and has served as a teaching assistant and BioChem Buddy. She is a member of both the women’s tennis team and the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority and is representing Dickinson as a Presidential Fellow this summer. Rachel’s college experience has been incredibly positive, and we attribute her personal growth to the numerous opportunities she pursued as a member of the Dickinson community.
From our own time as first-year parents preparing to move Rachel into Drayer Hall, and as invited contributing members to the class of 2024’s Facebook page, we realize that many of the questions and topics that made us anxious a few years ago are the same questions and concerns as those of parents of each incoming first-year class. While most answers can be found on the Dickinson website, it is our hope that this and future Parent-to-Parent newsletters will help you prepare for your student’s arrival on campus and their first year.
As summer approaches and many of you are beginning to plan for the move into the residence halls in August, we decided to focus this first newsletter on parents’ most commonly asked questions about housing and move-in day. As a reminder, like other areas of college life at Dickinson, answers to most questions regarding housing can be found on Dickinson’s website and, more particularly, on the Residential Living Guidelines & Policies page.
The Most Commonly Asked Questions About First-Year Student Move-In at Dickinson
So, here are the most commonly asked questions about housing and move-in, and answers based on our experience as Dickinson parents.
When are residence hall rooms and roommates assigned?
First-year students will be contacted by Residence Life during the summer. Historically, first-year students are assigned housing in residence halls located on Morgan Field (e.g., Drayer and Adams halls) or the Quads. Information on each residence hall—including room-specific dimensions, included furniture, laundry facilities and more—can be found here. If your first-year student has met someone they would like to room with, both students must request the other on their respective Personal Preferences form, which you should receive from the college. Otherwise, Dickinson will assign a roommate for your child.Residence hall or apartment selection beginning sophomore year is done by lottery.
What if my student requires special housing accommodations?
If your student needs special housing accommodations due to medical, psychological or other health-related reasons, you should immediately review the Access and Disability Services website and submit the request and supporting documentation before the deadline, which typically is late spring or very early summer.
How do the beds work?
All the beds take twin XL sheets. The height of the beds can be adjusted by maintenance staffers, who are usually around during move-in. However, if you bring a rubber mallet, you can make the adjustment quickly with the help of your student! When the beds are raised to full height, most plastic three-drawer storage units can fit underneath. Our daughter used two units measuring 22 x 24 inches, available at Target, Walmart, etc. Remember, if your student expects to raise the bed to its full height, bring a step stool to make climbing into bed at night easier—the bed’s highest setting is quite high!
Do we need to bring our own refrigerator/microwave?
Microfridge (combination refrigerator, freezer and microwave) rentals are available through Dickinson’s bookstore, under “Dorm Essentials” on the bookstore website, usually starting at the beginning of August. There are a limited number available, so keep checking the website for opening of rental requests—they go fast! Ordering a rental through the school is really easy, because the microfridge is delivered to your student’s residence hall room before students arrive on campus and is left there when students move out at the end of the semester, for the bookstore to later retrieve—no small thing because not all residence halls have elevators. No loading, unloading and moving required!
What additional supplies should I bring for the room?
Some additional supplies we bring for move-in are a trashcan (the college does not provide a trashcan in each room), foldable handtruck, sliders to move furniture, a rubber mallet to adjust the bed, multi-outlets and extension cords and self-adhesive and removable strips for hanging those inspirational signs, posters and similar hooks for towels and coats. Antiseptic wipes and other cleaning supplies, including paper towels and glass cleaner, will be useful for a quick cleaning before your student (and most likely you!) begins to unpack. Pack a reasonable amount of cleaning supplies to leave with your student. They may just surprise you and actually clean the room! Dickinson makes vacuum cleaners available, but your student will find an inexpensive (really inexpensive) electric, stick-style vacuum very handy for that occasional cleaning.
Where do parents park to unload?
To unload on move-in day, pull up directly to your student’s residence hall. Under normal circumstances (which may be subject to change due to COVID), orientation leaders and residence hall advisors will greet you upon your arrival. Athletes and other volunteers helped us by quickly unloading our car and putting everything outside our daughter’s room. We were quite amazed how quickly a few members of the football team can empty a car (OK, two cars)! When your car is empty, you will then be directed where to park for the remainder of the day. Relocate your car as soon as it is empty to allow others to unload. An important tip: Mark each box and other items with your student’s name, residence hall name, room number and cell phone number in case something gets misplaced during the move-in. This can be done with preprinted stickers or masking tape and a permanent marker. That way any item that gets mislocated amidst the activity of hundreds of arriving students can easily be identified as belonging to your student and returned.
When will my child meet his/her resident advisor?
RAs will usually be floating around during move-in and may stop in to say hello. Floor meetings with first-year students take place fairly soon upon arrival and typically are used to provide information on bathrooms, laundry (and the Speed Queen app used to pay for laundry), use of common areas, recycling and trash. Be sure to look for the welcome information that will almost certainly be in your student’s room upon arrival.
We hope we have anticipated and answered at least some of your questions about moving your first-year student into Dickinson. We remember how anxious we were about what residence hall Rachel would be in, collecting and packing everything she would need (or want), making her room her “home,” not knowing exactly what to expect that first day and, yes, kissing her goodbye and driving off, just the two of us. Just remember:
- Everything you are feeling and will feel as your student’s first year approaches, we and other parents have also felt.
- If your student needs something, most everything is available on campus or in nearby stores in Carlisle—Dickinson is not at the North Pole! And if all else fails, there’s Amazon Prime!
- Almost everything you need to know as a parent about move-in and your student’s first year can be found on the Dickinson website.
- You will be amazed at and proud of (as Lori and I are with Rachel) how much your student will mature and grow at Dickinson.
Congratulations on your student’s upcoming first year at Dickinson College. We wish you all as amazing a Dickinson experience as we—and most important, Rachel—have had. Go, Red Devils!!
Andrew and Lori Flame P’22
Parents Leadership Council Chairs
Future Editions of This Newsletter
In future editions of this newsletter we plan to cover additional items we think you will find helpful, including:
Where to Go for What You Need to Know – Particular Dickinson webpages of interest to new students and their parents, including information on such things as mail and package deliveries, meal plans, dietary needs, housing for sophomore year, and Disability Services.
Things We Never Thought Of – Things that other parents with kids in college told us (and we would never have thought of), such as Medical Release forms, Amazon Prime student membership rates, book rentals and how to celebrate your student’s birthday while they are on campus.
When Your Child Wants You to Visit! – Information on Family Weekend, such as where to stay, things to eat and what to do. FIRST TIP: Make your hotel reservation now for Family Weekend.
The Top Things I Learned From My Daughter About Being Successful at Dickinson