First off, less is more. Especially in the beginning. Less stuff means less clutter.
Dormitory rooms tend to be very small. They usually have a small dresser, a small desk, a small closet and maybe a small bookshelf. There simply isn't a lot of room for unimportant stuff.
Plus, you'll need to figure out how to transport your belongings to the United States. Colleges don't usually allow you to ship your boxes before you arrive. And most airlines have strict limits as to how much you can carry on the plane. Usually you are only permitted one small carry-on bag and two pieces of checked luggage.
Your best bet may be to buy a lot of what you need once you get here.
Still want to ship over more stuff? Once you have a permanent address, you can arrange for boxes to be mailed over. Using a shipping agent is the least expensive way to mail these items. Consider one of these companies:
- Airborne Express
- Federal Express
Clothes: Bring only what you think you'll wear. College life tends to be casual. But you may want to bring a few dressier outfits for special occasions or important school events. Study the climate of your future home. Will you need cold weather clothing or rain gear? Other good tips: waterproof slippers and a bathrobe for running down to the dorm bathrooms at all hours.
Grooming Items: A lot of college kids like to use lightweight, plastic shower baskets to carry toiletries from the dorm room to the bathroom. Most grooming items can be bought inexpensively in this country. But you'll want to have at least small supplies of the following items when you first arrive: shampoo, soap, toothbrush, skin cream, etc.
Linens: Bring towels as well as pillow cases, sheets and a comforter for your bed. Check with the school on the actual bed size. If you're going to be near the ocean, pack a beach towel.
Desk Supplies: Don't forget a dictionary, paper, pens, staple, ruler, highlighter, calculator, tape, scissors and calendar. To get you up for those classes, bring a reliable alarm clock!
Important Paperwork: Keep somewhere safe the following items: your passport, plane tickets, I-20 form, medical records, prescriptions, eyeglasses, insurance records, official academic transcripts and international driver's license.
Other Good Items: You'll also be glad to have a camera, sewing kit, first-aid kit, bottle/can openers, and spare batteries.
Personal Touch: To make your dorm room feel like home, consider bringing a few photos of your family, friends or pets. You can always buy plants and more decorative items over here.