Thought I would list some things that may help with navigating the months ahead. Check with VT dept. staff just to see if anything has changed (they have always been helpful in my experience).
Hotels (Hokie Focus, Orientation, Move In, Parent’s Weekend, etc.)
- On any special event date or weekend, hotel rates will be increased. In some cases 2x normal rates.
- It’s a good idea to book early once dates/signups are available. We encountered multiple families who had to stay in Roanoke for orientation or move in because they waited until the last minute.
- Hotels may have family/student clubs so sign up for certain perks. Do it, especially if you stay at the Inn (Parents Club) because a major bennie is being eligible for advance graduation booking opportunities. Inn at VT sends their members info on advance signup 18 months before grad date.
Hokie Focus, Parent’s Weekend
- Have heard mixed reviews over the years as to whether add’l programming at HF vs. regular open house visit was worth the travel/hotel expense.
- Consider whether activities for PW are anything that you can’t pretty much do on another weekend with your student when hotel rates aren’t as high.
- Matriculation date ties into when the window for selecting housing will open up.
- There may be a Discord group for kids to chat with potential roommates if they don’t already have their roomie selected.
- Once desired roomie is confirmed, the student with earliest matriculation generally creates the “roommate group”, then sends invite to other roomie to join group.
- Creator of roommate group then will select res hall and room and “pull” other roomie in.
- Only 2 students per roommate group. Can’t select suite style res hall and expect to room with 3 other friends.
- GitHub has floorplan info for all the res halls except the new one that opened last year. Dimensions aren’t shown, but you can get an idea of what rooms might be a little bigger as well as prime or not-so-prime locations. If they want they can use that to make a priority list for when room selection opens up.
- Bring their HS official transcript with you. Even though deadline for submitting is before orientation, the data may not make it’s way to advising right away. This will help if advising has them signed up for any courses that they have “placed out of” via AP/IB/DE credits.
- There’s tons of info available all over VT’s site that covers virtually 100% of what you’ll hear at orientation. Pack your patience - there may be really poorly informed people in attendance, like the person who asked “what do we do with all the dorm furniture after we move our daughter’s furniture in?”. True story.
- Most of your kid’s schedule will already be plugged in with 1st year requirements when they have their advising appointment. Have them get familiar with the Timetable of Classes when course registration opens up for returning students this spring (it’s online and publicly accessible) - they can see prime course times and have that info in hand if advising puts them in 8:30 AM’s 5 days a week.
Don’t sweat buying before move in. Syllabus week offers plenty of time for kids to get books.
A good portion of any of the plans goes to facility maintenance, etc. Suggest going minimal and seeing how it goes - you can always add “flex additions” money which can be spent 100% on dining afterwards.
Things Dorm Rooms Need but You Might Not Have Thought Of
- No A/C? - 2 box fans for window (1 pulling in, 1 pushing out), oscillating desktop fan, tower fan as a full setup will keep it as cool as needed.
- Extra long USB cord - wifi at VT is super fast, but plug in direct can add some speed. Outlet could be opposite side of the room from your kid’s bed though.
- Extra long phone charger cord - same issue as above re: wall outlet location. Or get a lamp with wireless charger on it.
- Extra long surge protector extension cord - the 2 kids in DS’s room used 2 of them with like 6 outlets each.
- Noise cancelling headphones.
- Air fresheners.
- CollegeSavers is a local company that does hutches, bookshelfs, etc. and has them on campus at move in.
- Forgot company name, but we ordered a doorm rug ahead of time and it was waiting for us in the room at move in.
- Most of the “dorm package” companies out there use shoddy material. Get bedding, etc. from Bed Bath and Beyond.
- Controlled chaos. Do it early in the week if possible - gives kids more free time to meet others, etc. before classes start.
- Don’t linger! Move in, go get something to eat, and head home. Hold off crying until you get to 460/81 interchange if you can.
- Tell your kid to buy season tickets. They are cheap, games are fun, and by sophomore year they will probably be comfortable telling you about Center Street (football games).
- Get to a game or two yourself if you can. Great atmosphere for both. Head’s up re: hotels - all require 2 night stay for football games and prices get jacked way up for prime matchups.
Food - in no particular order
Cabo Fish Taco