How to Start Your Dorm Life Like a Boss

Living in a dorm is a huge part of the college freshman experience. Here are 11 ways to help you adjust to college and dorm life like a pro.

It’s finally time! You’re on your own: in college and ready to start a new life. With a new life comes a lot of new responsibilities. If you’re not sure where to start to rock this new college life, check out these tips and tricks to get everything on track!

1. Make yourself at home right away

The first step to feeling more comfortable at college is to make yourself at home. Unpack the minute you arrive. It’s one less thing to worry about later on, and it helps you feel chill straight away. This place will be home for the next year, after all! Take some time to decorate your room and choose dorm-friendly items like fun storage solutions and cozy bean bag chairs.

Related: 5 Easy Ways to Have the Best Dorm Room

2. Get to know your campus

The next important step in integrating into campus life is to actually get to know your campus. Obviously, you want to learn where your classes are and how far apart they are for the tough days. But it’s essential to go beyond that. Get to know your financial aid office and career center—they could be links to important opportunities later on. Learn the popular hangouts and where most campus events are held. Get to know your professors’ office hours and where you can find student services for when you need help.

3. Treat school like a job

Organizational skills are a big part of your college success. To make the best of your school years, treat it like a full-time job. Class schedules can be tough to manage. Waking up and going to sleep at the same time every day can give you some extra time to study. Most of the time, you’ll be given a full assignment schedule at the beginning of term in your course syllabi, which makes it easy to schedule time to study or do homework. Schedule your study hours along with your classes and show up for them just as you would for class.

4. Find ways to make or save some extra cash

Any way you can take the pressure off student loans will help you in the long run. If you’re struggling to find work that fits with your schedule, check for a job on campus. Campus jobs are usually great at working around class schedules and can even help you build your résumé. Failing that, set yourself up as a freelancer. If your grades are good, working as a tutor may be an option. Writing résumés and helping edit term papers is another great way to earn money on campus.

The flipside of this is to be smart with the money you have and save as much on your expenses as you can. This can range from saving on groceries by smart meal prepping and bringing your own coffee to sharing textbooks with fellow students. And be careful with the few costly things you have that are vital to your study success. For instance, protect your phone with a solid case and your laptop with a sturdy, waterproof backpack. Breaking expensive gadgets and appliances you need on a daily basis can seriously bring a painful blow to your fun college life.

5. More saving: Embrace those student discounts

You’d be amazed at how many student discounts you qualify for! You can save money on everything from textbooks and school supplies to nights out and even on groceries. Get to know your neighborhood and what discounts you’re entitled to. It can save you a bundle.

Related: The Best Student Discounts: Food, Clothes, and More

6. Find a study style that works for you

Different people retain information in different ways, so try different methods. Study with friends and alone. Take pen and paper notes for a week then try it with the laptop or record your lectures (if you can). Within a week or two, you should naturally gravitate toward your most natural way to learn. If you’re struggling to find the right study style, talk to a student advisor or tutor for help.

7. Get involved in campus life

Studying is important, but it’s not everything about college life. Get involved with life on campus. Join clubs. Go to mixers and events. Get to know your roommates with fun nights in. You might also choose to work as a student council member, get a job on campus, or freelance as a tutor. However you decide to get involved with campus life, it’ll make the next four years a lot more fun!

Related: Quick Guide to Getting Involved at College

8. Let Mom fuss

Your Mom’s worried about you—it’s the first time her baby’s away from home! And it’s a lot of new things for you to handle on your own. Let your parents help where they can and take some of the stress away, whether it’s with a few extra meals, dollars, or a quick laundry trip home.

9. Make good use of your space

Living in a tiny dorm room isn’t easy, and the last thing you want is to look up from your desk on finals week to find your room is a disaster! Keep yourself organized by making use of the vertical space in your room. Hang things up. Use closet organizers. And take time to put things together! Fifteen minutes of organizing your study space at the end of every day could mean the difference between a desk comfortable enough to spend hours at and finding any excuse to avoid studying in your room.

10. Learn the ins and outs of dorm life

Speaking of dorm life, living with others has its challenges. Make yourself a bathroom tote to quickly jump in and out of your shared bathroom. Create a chore schedule to help you and your roommate(s) decide who is responsible for what. And if you’re in a dorm, get to know the RA on your floor so you’ll always know where to go if there’s a problem.

Related: Strangers or Squad? How to Live With Your College Roommate

11. Remember everyone else is nervous too!

Meeting new people is always a little scary. But in your college life, you’re likely to be surrounded by other freshmen. Keep in mind that everyone is as nervous as you are. Don’t be afraid to try new things and do something a little different. College is all about experimentation and meeting new people. Pay attention to your studies, but don’t let the new environment get the better of you.

Related: The First Day of College

College comes with a lot of work and responsibility. But it’s a lot of fun too! Going into it with the right attitude makes a huge difference. Stay organized and embrace dorm life, and you’re sure to make the next four years a fantastic journey!

What’s your favorite part of dorm life? Tweet us what you love @CollegeXpress.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

campus life college life decorating dorm life dorms feeling at home getting involved saving money space

About Alex Avery

Once a serial student, now an online nomad, Alex leaves blog posts in every place that peaks his interest. When he’s not devouring obscure French graphic novels, he’s hunting yard sales for quirky teacups and learning to play the ukulele from YouTube vids.  


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
Kyla McClain

Kyla McClain

High School Class of 2024

I found CollegeXpress when you partnered with for a scholarship. I found your website, put my information in, and got connected. I only wanted to stay in North Carolina [for college] and not move far from home, but you all opened a door up for me. I started researching colleges you suggested for me. On your social media platforms, you also give really good test-taking tips that I used and suggested others to do the same. It helped me a lot on my exams, so thank you.

Yuhlani Patterson

Yuhlani Patterson

High School Student

CollegeXpress has helped me find so many scholarships that fit me. They match me to colleges I have specific interest in to make searching for colleges way easier and more efficient. CollegeXpress refers me to schools that have my major of interest and backup schools if I want to change my mind. CollegeXpress also gives out their own scholarships, so you have even more of a chance at gaining multiple scholarships. This website has helped me de-stress from the pressure of not being able to afford college, [of finding] what schools are right for me, and how to find easy access to scholarships that most people never knew existed.



High School Class of 2019

CollegeXpress has helped me by opening my eyes to new opportunities. I learned about such easy ways to get financial help to achieve my dreams while also learning about myself and who I truly am. I know this isn't a very long explanation of what CollegeXpress has done for me, but nonetheless, I believe it's crucial to how I developed as a person throughout my time as a college student.



High School Class of 2021

For a long time, I've been searching everywhere to find the perfect website I can get scholarships and information from. Needless to say, I could never find the right one. That was, until I found CollegeXpress. Through my journey of finding the right scholarships for me, I was able to find articles about different things. They've all been helpful, especially in times like this! I was even able to connect with some of my favorite colleges! I love CollegeXpress. Thank you!

Abhishek Kumar

Abhishek Kumar

High School Class of 2022

As a high schooler, I know how hard it is to plan for college. You have to consider a lot of factors: SAT/ACT scores, college searches, scholarships, and more. CollegeXpress has been a helpful resource that solves all these problems. One can easily create a free account and search away. They help you search for scholarships and colleges, they have graduate program search, they have lists and rankings, and so much more. CX also has a lot of articles and advice to read—whether it’s financial aid, test prep, campus visits, internships/careers, or anything. Not only that, CX gives out free scholarship money to students who sign up and create a free CX account. I love CX and will continue to use it! Thank you CollegeXpress for making my college journey easier!

College Matches

Colleges You May Be Interested In

Holy Family University

Philadelphia, PA

Barry University

Miami Shores, FL

Asbury University

Wilmore, KY

Samford University

Birmingham, AL