The process of managing move-in day is challenging for everyone involved. For families of incoming students, it’s a stressful situation that marks a major life milestone. For colleges and universities, it’s one of the most complex logistical processes and events all year.
Fortunately, a few best practices can help to simplify the experience for everyone involved. With summer in full swing, now is the perfect time to start the process of planning for move-in, getting ready for incoming students, and simplifying their experience as much as possible before they start their next big adventure.
1. Communicate Early and Often
The first step of managing move-in day is simple. It’s all about communication.
As soon as students submit their tuition deposit, begin to let them know basic information about the date of move-in and when they can expect more details. Then, send a continuous trickle of information that keep students involved.
That information can include anything from a packing list and an outline of what students and families can expect to a specific drop-off location, directions, and individual time slots. In addition to trickling that information, it also helps create an informational hub where students and families can find everything they need to know at a glance and without much research.
2. Streamline the Necessary Processes
Next, it’s time to look at your institution’s processes required during move-in day. Map out everything your incoming students have to do, from picking up their keys and dropping off their belongings to attending the first mandatory hall meeting.
Take a look at these processes from the perspective of your audience.
- Are they simple and easy to understand?
- Is the key pickup located close to the drop-off spot?
- Does the timeline make sense, and are there any activities that could be combined?
The easier it is for your students to move through the process, the more smoothly they will transition to college life.
3. Minimize Confusion at Every Step
Even as you streamline your processes, you will likely encounter some confusion. It’s crucial to approach that confusion with both grace and a willingness to improve. After all, even processes that might seem natural to you might be overwhelming for families who have never gone through them before.
That’s why at least part of managing move-in day has to be about managing confusion. Make staff available during and before the big day to answer questions and provide guidance. Take common pain points, and communicate about them more proactively. Use wayfinding to guide audiences from one step to the next.
4. Involve Campus Volunteers
Don’t be afraid to tap into your campus community. Move-in day is likely managed by residence life and facilities staff, but it doesn’t have to end there.
Instead, solicit volunteers for the process. Get staff at all levels to help with anything from moving items between drop-off points and individual rooms to being stationed at various campus points to offer directions.
In addition to the tangible help these volunteers can provide, they also send a crucial message: everyone on campus cares about your students and is willing to go the extra mile to help them succeed.
5. Leverage the Power of Digital Tools
Move-in day is a largely physical event, but that doesn’t mean digital tools can’t come in handy when managing move-in day. We already mentioned a digital hub where you share all vital information. Your virtual campus map can also help.
For example, it can provide directions not only to the individual drop-off point but all required steps. You can even build a map layer that acts as the above-mentioned hub.
It’s all possible with the right digital solution, and that’s where we come in. Concept3D has extensive experience helping colleges manage their move-in day experience, and we’re ready to help you as well. Contact us to learn about our digital map and calendar solutions, all designed to help you and your students build a smooth transition to college life.