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Move-In Ready: Student Checklist
You are almost there! But there a few critical last-minute to-dos and conversations that need to take place before you move in.
If you check off anything on this page, this is the one thing that is a MUST-DO:
- Always carry two epinephrine auto-injectors on your person! No excuses!
- Even if you need to strap them to your ankle or carry them in a cross-body bag, you must ALWAYS carry your rescue medications with you, whether or not you plan to eat or drink something. They are called life-saving medications for a good reason.
Download FAACT's Move-In Ready: Student Checklist.
Pre-Planning for Move-In Day
Re-Confirm Accommodations (2-3 weeks before arrival)
- Check all emails and documents from your college to confirm you have answered any requests and completed all required forms. Send a quick email or call to your school contact to confirm that your accommodations are in place for housing preferences and dining services plans.
- Do a quick check-in with dining services staff to let them know what day you will arrive on campus.
- NOTE: Athletes often arrive a few weeks earlier than the regular move-in dates. If you are an athlete, ask when you need to move in and what food services will be offered at that time. Some colleges will not have their full food services up and running when athletes arrive on campus.
Book Hotel Rooms ASAP
- If your parents/caregivers plan to get you to campus before move-in day, make sure they book your hotel room(s) early. Hotels close to colleges book up quickly. Rates at these hotels are often higher on high-traffic dates, so check accommodations a few minutes farther away from campus, which may be more affordable and may offer a kitchen or kitchenette.
- Reduce stress by pre-planning your meals. Local restaurants might be packed; make a reservation if possible!
- Research safe restaurants and a few local grocery stores.
Medical Needs and Epinephrine Auto-injectors
- Fill all prescriptions for rescue meds and other mediations.
- Ensure you know how to refill your medications and that you have your medical insurance card handy (Tip: keep a front/back photo of your insurance card on your phone).
- Make sure your local pharmacy or campus pharmacy has up to date prescriptions on file for you.
- Pack a small “medicine cabinet” to take to college containing backup rescue medications, maintenance medications, and over-the-counter medications your parents keep at home for colds, flu, fevers, and stomach issues. Do not forget items for cuts or accidents.
- Talk with your parent/caregiver about where in your dorm room you should store your epinephrine auto-injectors.
- Many students hang their medicine bag on a hook by the door and carry two epinephrine auto-injectors in their backpacks. It is critical to have one set visible or known to others in your dorm who can quickly locate your rescue medications during an emergency.
- Always carry two epinephrine auto-injectors on you when you leave your dorm room – even if you are just going down the hall.
- Consider wearing medical identification jewelry or keeping a summary of your medical condition on a card in your wallet or purse (see below).
- Keep a printed Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan in your bag and with the dorm room rescue medications in case of emergency.
- Ask your close friends and/or roommate if they would also be willing to carry a copy.
- Discuss how you will carry your epinephrine auto-injectors around campus (especially when you are not carrying a backpack).
- Do you need help from your parent/caregiver to research carriers?
- Studies have shown that adolescents and young adults participate in risk-taking behaviors, including not carrying epinephrine with them at all times (39% in one study). Thirty-eight percent did not have epinephrine with them during their most recent anaphylactic reactions. Do not be a statistic! Always carry your rescue medications!
- Medical Identification jewelry speaks for you in the event you are not able to communicate. Emergency responders are trained to look for medical IDs. Various ID products offer contact data that helps EMS learn about your health, gain access to your medical information, and contact your loved ones.
- Although wearing a medical bracelet or necklace may not have crossed your mind, you will be grateful for the support in the event of a medical emergency.
- There are many varieties and styles available. Medic Alert has partnered with FAACT to offer a 20% discount for new subscriptions. Use code FAACT20.
Dining Services and Eating
- Before you arrive, set up for a safe-eating zone in your dorm room.
- Stock up on shelf-stable bars, snacks, and proteins to store in your dorm room.
- Pack a microwavable plate with a lid/cover and small cooking-related supplies for reheating or eating in your dorm room.
- If you have a roommate, talk with them about what snacks are safe to have in your room.
- After you arrive, introduce yourself to the dining services staff who will be helping to manage your food allergies.
- Review the How To Talk to Dining Hall Staff section of this toolkit.
- When you arrive on campus, drop by the dining facilities you plan to use – before mealtime, if possible – for introductions to management and staff.
- Walk through the process for ordering foods that are allergen-free.
- Ask about emergency procedures and what you should do if you find yourself having an allergic reaction at the dining facility.
- Confirm your room and roommate assignments as soon as possible.
- If you are sharing a room, talk to your future roommate immediately after you have been assigned to each other to discuss allergens, refrigerators, etc.
- Some students will request to maintain two refrigerators in their dorms (if there is room) to minimize cross-contact.
- Pack a few containers of cleaning wipes and allergen-friendly cleaning supplies.
- Review the How To Tell Potential Roommates About Your Food Allergies and the How To Talk to Your Resident Advisor sections of this toolkit.
IMPORTANT NOTE: As you make new friends, the opportunity to eat a meal together, hang out, or go to parties may arise. After speaking with students who do not have food allergies, we learned that they WANT to know about your food allergies, where rescue meds are stored, and what to do! Please do not assume you are a burden; it is the opposite of what you might think.
- Research local restaurants that are safe for you to enjoy with new friends.
- Let new friends know about your food allergy and where you carry emergency epinephrine auto-injectors – on you and in your dorm room – along with your Allergy & Anaphylaxis Emergency Plan.
- Show your friends how to administer an epinephrine auto-injector using a trainer so that they can act swiftly in the event of an emergency.
- Get comfortable and ready to explain cross-contact, how you stay safe, signs you are having an allergic reaction, and what you need during an allergic reaction.
- Do you have a “sign” if you need epinephrine? (You might be too far away for someone to hear you clearly, and anaphylaxis can make it difficult to speak.) Learn FAACT’s Fist to Thigh “Sign” and share it with your friends!
Many students use apps to help them manage their lives (and just for fun). Families rely on apps to help them stay connected and manage health conditions, including food allergies. Explore apps to help you keep track of epinephrine expiration dates, manage your health, or find potentially safe eateries.
NOTE: FAACT does not endorse these apps, but we are sharing them to provide you with examples of what some FAACT families are using right now.
- AllerTrain™/FAACT: Map of colleges/universities food service departments that have been trained.
- MenuTrinfo® Kitchens with Confidence™ Program: which certifies food service locations that have been assessed through rigorous audits on methods, standards, policies, and understanding to serve persons with special dietary needs, specifically food allergies. A map of certified locations available on the AllerTrain™ website is a useful tool for students going to college with food allergies.
- The Alan App: Food Allergy Management
- Allergy Force: Food Allergy Management
- Alerje: Food Allergy Management
- Allergy Eats: Food Allergy Friendly Restaurant Guide
- Headspace: Meditation and Sleep App (family subscription)
- AirNow: Air Quality App
- Life360: Family Safety App
- American Automobile Association (AAA): Mobile Roadside Assistance Service and Travel Discounts
This is a tough day for your parents/caregivers.
- They might be nervous and require a little grace and love.
- Have extra hugs and patience ready for today.
- Make sure you have a list of local people you can call if you need anything. Is there a family member or food allergy friend who can run over with safe chicken soup if you get sick? Someone who can drive you to doctor’s appointments or shopping?
- Eat a good breakfast.
- If you are eating out, research safe restaurants and wait times during move-in weekends. Local restaurants get packed early and serving times can be longer than usual.
- Make sure you have allergen-friendly snacks and lots of water to keep everyone energized while you move in.
The first few months at college can feel stressful. Hang in there! Everyone is feeling the same way. College feels unfamiliar at first, but within weeks, you will get your new routine down as you meet new friends.
- Check out the Behavioral Health Resources section of this toolkit to discover some great tools along with FAACT’s Self-care tips.
- Colleges usually offer mental health resources, coping skills, and support to students. Find your school’s mental health center and drop by to see what they offer. Some colleges will offer yoga classes, therapy, or other activities to help you find balance and calm.
- Talk to family and friends if you are feeling stressed. They are there for you!
- Want to connect with peers? Follow @faact_teens or @faact.bipoc.teens on Instagram to connect with other students.