So here's a thread to help our BU newbies out. I'll start - our DD finished her freshman year in May. Here's a few tips - other people chip in!
1. Be aware that if you come to Orientation with your parents, you won't see them at all during the orientation time - you are both busy all day and night with separate activities. Basically, you are separated at registration, and don't see each other again until the closing ceremony. We were very glad that we stayed an extra day in StuVi afterward - you will never be able to stay in Boston that cheaply again, and it was great to have some time to decompress and talk about plans and thoughts before the business of home.
2. Wear good walking shoes!!! Both the parents and the students walked a LOT.
3. If you come early or stay late, consider signing up for a checking account if you plan to open a new one in Boston. There is a B of A and another bank in GSU, but they only have one person setting up accounts so the wait can be BAD at other times. Don't forget your Social Security number like we did! You won't have time unless you come early or stay late.
4. Bring an eggcrate mattress pad if you are local. StuVi is beautiful, but the beds are hard. The students stayed in West last year - bring a fan if it will be hot!
5. Your hometown Bed Bath and Beyond is the place to go for what you need for the dorm. You can pick out everything at home and they send the list to the Fenway Park BBB. Fenway Park boxes it up at that moment, and keeps it for you until you arrive. We simply took the T to the BBB, went through our boxes keeping and eliminating as we went, added some extras, and ordered a taxi to get back to the condo where we were staying. Took 2 hours total door to door. The only other separate trip we made was Target. This also took two hours, but is not near a T. I don't believe there is one by a T stop. If I had to do it again, I would go to a different one than the one south of Fenway. It looked closer, but the traffic was really bad, and it was tough to find a taxi to go home.
6. Consider NOT renting a car for movein if you are coming by plane. We stayed next to a T stop, and saved a bucket of money by paying taxis for these two trips instead of renting a car. When it came time to move everything into the dorm, we used an airport shuttle service. For $40, they packed everything in the back of their van, drove me to the movein area, and unloaded it on to the sidewalk where my daughter was waiting with a huge rolling bin. My daughter took the T to the school and got the key before she called me to come with her stuff. When we were finished unpacking, I took the T to the hotel and she stayed at the dorm. Very easy.
7. We found BU movein to be easy and quick. Really. They are extremely well organized. Don't stress.
8. We rented a condo instead of a hotel - this made it easier to wash her new sheets and towels, get rid of unneeded packaging, etc.
9. The other great tip was to pack all the bedding into two or three garbage bags in reverse order (e.g. pillows on the bottom, egg crates and mattress pads on top.) If you make the bed before anything else, you can pile everything else on top of the bed and out of your roommates way. Having all the bedding together makes the rest of your stuff much more manageable.
10. DO FYSOP - it is the BEST way of making new friends, seeing the city, and doing good all at the same time. Apply early - the spots fill fast.
Several people have emailed me re the condo. there are several by owner rental sites on the Internet. we have used vrbo dot com with great success. I would recommend you search by date and then email about ten at once. All the owners are very nice I the times that we and our friends have used them.
Re: shoot4moon. The only caution I'd have about not renting a car if you are coming from far away is that, while Bed, Bath and Beyond is only a subway stop or two away, Target, Costco and such are not accessible by T. And I know that both freshman and sophomore year, my parents took me on a target run before we moved in for basics, and it was helpful.
If you have time, try hitting a Red Sox game during your time in Boston. If you're from far away, I would say you need to experience Red Sox nation and you can walk to Fenway from anywhere on campus. It's about three blocks from the Marsh Chapel.
There are A TON of events during orientation, move-in and the first week of school. Just let your kid go and have fun. They'll make friends and acclimate, and you'll get a taste of letting them go.
Get your student a CharlieCard first thing, and if you're a nice parent, put ten or twenty dollars on it. The T runs right through campus, and all BU kids take it. Plus, the first few weeks of school are the best time to go and explore the city, and it'll be nice to not have to wait in line to put money on your card right when a Red Sox game is letting out.
That brings me to my next point. Around 6-7 p.m. for the first few weeks (or months if all goes well for the Sox), Kenmore Square will be packed. Don't let it fluster you!
And don't forget to sign up for FYSOP (if it is not too late). It fills up every year, and is a great way to get to know Boston, meet terrific people who have agreed to volunteer in their new community for a week, and have a lot of fun. Highly recommended by 99% of students who do it!
Don't bother getting the semester T pass, it only pays off if you take the T around twice a day for most of the semester, and the T isn't really worth taking just on campus, its generally easier just to walk. Do get the regular charlie card though.
Any advice on must haves for dorm rooms? What things are really helpful to have and what are not worth buying. I am going dorm shopping with D soon and don't want to buy things not needed. Also, what about the walls? I'm assuming we can't nail or tack anything on, but what's the best way to hang things? Are the lights in the room sufficient or do you need a desk lamp too?
I don't know what dorm she is in, Westie, but in West the walls are cinder block (is that what that painted brick stuff is called?) with a tiny piece of moulding partway up the wall. The only way to stick things up is with those 3M stickies strips or to hang them from the "ledge." I think all three dorms in West are now refurbished - Sleeper was done last summer so it was brand new for last year's class. The closets were bigger than I had thought with nice high shelves. I think most of the residents put the beds up high and nested their dresser etc underneath. I didn't see any bed risers in Sleeper in the rooms that I peeked in. Both DD and roomie used those hanging organizers (e.g. the shoe ones) to hold misc junk like scarves and mittens in their closet. Most of them got the BU fridge/microwave - they told us at orientation they don't allow any appliances with a plug.
I don't think she ever used her second set of sheets (lots of washers, so she just put the clean sheets back on the bed). A Quirky and long extension cords were really handy so she could wrap the power strip around the leg of the desk out of the way and fit all the big adapters in one strip.
We did buy a desk lamp. There was a debate last year on personal printers - she brought one with the smallest footprint she could find and was very glad she didn't have to go down the hall to see the newest draft of a paper. Don't forget the shower basket and shoes. Be sure you look at the packing tips on the parents site - very helpful.
Thanks shoot4moon! So the beds are adjustable then? That is good to know. D got assigned the Towers but will be doing a direct swap into Sleeper once school starts. How and when do you go about renting fridge/micro? And is there room at the end of the bed for a foot locker?
You actually can buy your own minifridge if you want to - just not a microwave, like the rented one comes with. If you don't think you'll use the microwave that often, definitely don't rent, you can borrow other people's pretty easily in the big dorms.
It's also a rediculous price, I think it's $230 to rent for the year. For reference, I bought a fridge of comparable size to the rented one (but with no freezer/microwave) for $60.
If you really want the microwave, you can rent it on the studentlink, under the Food and Shelter menu, and they should have it in your room when you move in.
We used Greyline Shuttles - Daryl Deluca recommended them and they were very nice. If they aren't available, I am sure any airport shuttle service will work. We were told that in Massachusetts, it is illegal for taxicabs to take items out of the trunk for you - I never had an issue, but the rules are different for shuttles and they have more space.
And I would say no to the Footlocker in Sleeper - the distance from the wall to the closet in my daughter's room was barely far enough to fit the bed plus desk and not hit the closet. She and her roommate lofted their beds, and put their dresser and one of those Rubbermaid drawer sets facing out into the room. The printer went on top of the Rubbermaid drawers I think, and then the fridge was between the beds. She did have space behind them to put suitcases, etc, but it was only accessible by pulling out the Rubbermaid drawers. By the way, the rooms on her floor of Sleeper didn't have closet doors, but rather curtains. The curtains were very industrial, so we bought matching shower curtains for both closets. Plain white with a nice design - they looked much better. I think you can buy them in the bookstore - I ordered on Amazon. One of those hard footstools with storage inside came in handy for getting up on her bunk and for a guest to sit on periodically.
Does anyone know when we should be getting information about move in day and/or FYSOP? I feel like it's getting really close (3 weeks now!) and we haven't heard anything yet. Should we be getting something in the mail soon?