Orientation and Move-In

We asked parents of rising sophomores, juniors, and seniors to think back to their student’s freshmen year and what they wish they had known.  Their advice is below.


Expect to wait in a long line of cars on move-in day; be patient and know that you WILL make it to the front of the line in time to get everything moved-in (with the help of the excellent move-in team).

It’s a very hectic weekend, especially trying to shop to get those last items and pick-up online orders.   Some people, who live far away, flew into Charlotte a few days early and shopped/picked up items there before getting to Winston-Salem.

Don’t overpack, even if you live far away.  The rooms are small and too much stuff can be overwhelming.  Boys rooms are NEVER clean and send a lot of room sanitizer spray.

Consult the information Wake Forest provides and listen to the staff charged to usher you around the campus.  Wake Forest does an outstanding job providing logistical information so use the resources and plan in advance.

Go to the Parent Orientation program offered by the Counselling group on campus!! You will sit there and think you know your child, and they are talking about someone else’s student. Until you get the exact call that they are talking about!! and you will be equipped, able to understand the campus resources so you can direct your student or reach out yourself. In case you don’t go….they tell you NOT to move around or change the student’s room at home during their freshman year.  And when they call you crying and stressed and empty their hearts…they feel better! You will stay up all night worrying, and they will already be off to the next thing and feel great because you listened. I coined it “stress transfer”!! It gets much better after freshman year.

On move in day, be in line early, like 7:30 early. It give you more time to get moved in, set up room and take advantage of the orientation programs and requirements Wake plans for that day.

Enjoy the move-in process — don’t stress.  You don’t want to leave your student with a negative first memory of college due to nagging or parental stress.  Let them lead the way.  Unless they ask for help.  They are pioneering, follow them.

Be prepared to go slow and be patient during the move in day.  Accept that your son/daughter will be a vacillating mix of super excited and anxious/scared.  Put on your happiest parent face and work hard not to be as emotional as YOU feel.  Remind yourself that this is actually not at all about you 🙂

The Orientation sessions for parents are not only worthwhile but fun and informative. If you are far away, like us, it helps to see and hear and meet these folks who will have so much influence on your child. They are so invested and such good communicators; go to every session you can. And don’t plan on meals with your student, after they move in you’ll see them but they are busy and it’s a good thing.


[Editorial note:  The comments have been minimally edited and grouped together for coherence.  In come cases, comments were combined with others.  When we had parents responding with the same advice, we repeated it for emphasis.  In the event a parent offered advice that ran counter to what Wake Forest advises, it was not included.  These comments represent the views of the parent commentators, not the views of the Office of Family Engagement (formerly Parent Programs office) or Wake Forest. ]