Tips After You Accept Your Offer

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.

Housing/Roommate

  • 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.

Orientation/Class Schedule

  • 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.

Books
Don’t sweat buying before move in. Syllabus week offers plenty of time for kids to get books.

Dining Plan
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.

Move In

  • 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.

Football/Basketball Games

  • 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). :grinning:
  • 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
Blacksburg Tavern
622 North
WineLab
Mellow Mushroom
Cellar

Good luck!

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Great list @ShenVal18!

Welcome to Virginia Tech! With ShenVal’s blessing, I wanted to share some additional “freshman mom” thoughts/experiences:

Not sure if VT always does move in this way, but last year because of Covid, they did a staggered move in where we had to pick a time/day. This worked out great because although there was still a lot of people moving in, it allowed the roommates to move in at separate times. I can’t imagine how we would have navigated the move in at the same time. They provide large wheeled bins but you may have to hunt them down during busy move in times. Early morning time slots are best!

The dorm rooms are smaller than you think. Resist the urge to over-buy. We ended up bringing home about 30% of what we brought because it just wouldn’t fit in the room. Start with less and then supplement if needed. There is a Target & Walmart in Christiansburg.

Depending on the dorm and whether or not they loft their beds, there may be limited wall space, so don’t go overboard on wall decor (I brought almost all of the wall decor back home). Some dorms have wardrobes as closets. Not a lot of room in these so just bring clothes/shoes for a couple of seasons, not the whole year.

Mail: for the first few weeks in Aug/Sept, notification of mail and particularly packages will be very slow, as VT mail services works through the huge volume that goes along with 6,000 new students being away from home for the first time. It gets better. There are a few ways to bypass VT mail if you need to get something to your student quickly:

~Send it via UPS to the UPS store on Main St. in Blacksburg (a pretty reasonable walk from campus). I’ve did this several times. You can call them and they’ll take your child’s contact info and they’ll call or email your child when it arrives. They will have to pay a $5 fee.

~if ordering from Amazon, have the packages delivered to an Amazon locker. There are several in Blacksburg and some in Christiansburg. We used this numerous times and works well. Note that while many of us are spoiled with same day or next day Amazon deliveries, it takes a day or two more for Amazon to be delivered to Blacksburg (I’m guessing they aren’t near a distribution center?)

~Sending medications - VT’s mail webpage has a form to fill out if you’re sending meds to your Hokie. Along with their contact info, you provide the tracking number and they pull the package when it comes in and it gets put in a priority pile. I never tried this during the busy weeks of Fall semester, but I did it a few weeks ago and worked great!

Bringing cars: my daughter brought hers. We had no problem getting a parking permit and several of her friends who brought their cars back after Thanksgiving & Christmas, also had no problems getting parking permits. There are designated lots for resident parking, which aren’t horribly far from the dorms closest to the athletic fields. They are required to relocate their cars to alternate lots for home football game weekends (I think they have to move them by 5pm on Thursday before a game). Parking services sends out reminder notices to students with cars. My daughter likes having her car but obviously it’s a personal decision for each family. A car is certainly not needed.

As ShenVal said, definitely get the football game package (they’ll send an email to your student over the summer, once they are available to purchase). Game days are awesome - Hokie fans are a welcoming, fun bunch and they come in big numbers to cheer on their team!

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100%. There is every big-box retailer in C-burg so there’s lots you can backfill once you see what’s missing.

Loft them and tuck the desk underneath. If lofting, get a clip on lamp and there are also “night trays” that are available that create a little ledge/table on the lofted bed.

A couple things I forgot in my post:

  • Command Hooks
  • Over door shoe organizer (works great for all kind of stuff if the room has a closet setup like there are in Pritchard.
  • Zip ties or velcro ties - tame those cables and cords!
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