It’s about that time of year! As high school seniors graduate, the next major calendar event is coming upon them. With high hopes and a packed car, freshmen head out to what some describe as the most hectic day of the year. Move-in day. But who says move-in day has to be hectic?

When it comes to planning move-in, a dynamic piece of media is a must. An interactive map with move-in features is the best way to direct freshmen and their families. If you don’t have a customizable map, your second-best option is a dynamic webpage that links to google maps. The more information you present and the more you repeat vital information, the fewer questions you will need to answer. Now for the planning.

The best way to start planning is to visualize. Draw out the flow of traffic and label each location necessary for move-in. If you want freshmen to park in a lot before going to the dorms – label parking lot number 1 and draw the path to the next location. Note any cross-traffic areas and try to avoid them. The last thing you want is entirely avoidable traffic. Remember to keep it simple. If your map has jagged back and forth directions and goes throughout campus, consider a change to a more simplified approach.

By this point, you should have the flow of traffic down and a list of locations in the order students need to appear. Now you need to present the information. As long as the information is consistent, there is no such thing as too much information. I would suggest creating a page on your website for move-in information and sending out an email. The web page could be a catch-all for information, whereas the email can be more targeted to that specific person. If you have multiple dorms, an email for each dorm will come in handy. 

Pre Move-In Day Guide

Even though we are talking about move-in, a pre-move-in day guide will help your future students feel more confident. List what is included in the dorm rooms and give them a checksheet for what they should bring. A list of what NOT to pack is also smart to provide. Whether or not you have moving equipment available, dollies, carts, etc., should also be included in the pre move-in day guide. Be honest with this. Misleading the public about how many resources you have for move-in will only lead to frustration.

The Move-In Day Guide

Create an accessible webpage specifically for move-in. Set up an agenda with clearly defined locations in the order that you want the students to appear. An agenda will keep your page concise and easy to read. If the viewer feels like they are reading a book, they likely won’t read at all; or they will skim. Answer the following questions when creating the agenda: Where do I go? How do I get there? What happens if it is too busy? When do I need to be there? 

*Pro Tip*

If you aren’t using an interactive map, hyperlink your locations with a google maps destination so the locations can be found easily. Some people have a hard time reading static maps, so directions that are easily searchable are game-changing. Likewise, the opposite is true and some people prefer static maps. Having both will make everyone happy! 

It may sound silly, but a numbered system can help readability and confidence in understanding the agenda. The more confident the end-user is in your agenda, the fewer questions your support staff will have to answer. 

Give information on close-by dining, convenience stores, supermarkets, etc. Not everyone will use it, but everyone will appreciate that you included it. 

Move-In Day Guide Email 

This email should be sent a few weeks prior, and then a follow-up a few days before. The first email will act as a reminder that it’s coming up. The second email is more urgent and relevant, plus it’s easier for them to find since you sent it more recently! Emails should be focused on that individual’s case, so only send information relevant to them. Don’t include other dorm’s information or they WILL get confused. Other than that, the information should be laid out the same way it was on the website. Numerically and able to answer the 5 questions talked about earlier, and hyperlinked locations. 

With all the digital information available, it’s still comforting having traditions of move-in day. So if you are used to putting up huge banners over the dorms or having spirit tunnels of people, you should continue to do that. If nothing else, it makes a generally hectic experience more fun and memorable. 

If you have any questions or would like our input on how you are communicating your move-in day, send us an email at We would love to help!