Moving In: A Guide for Parents and Families


How will my student be assigned to a room?
Inside the Tribe Guide are instructions  to complete a questionnaire designed to provide our office with information about your student in order to match them with a compatible roommate. This is an opportunity for your student to take a personal inventory of their lifestyle preferences and will get them thinking about their future home at W&M. It is important that your student answers this questionnaire truthfully and in a timely manner. Students who do not complete the questionnaire by the stated deadline will be randomly assigned.

How will my student get their room assignment?
In late July your student will receive instruction as to how to access their room and roommate assignment  information through their myWM account. Room dimensions, building and community information, and other helpful resources can be found on the Residence Life website.

How will my student be able to contact their roommate(s)?
Your student will be able to contact their roommate through the housing portal if both roommates have answered yes to the FERPA question within the housing application. We encourage your student to contact their roommate(s) prior to arriving on campus. Early communication will help them get to know a new roommate(s), and also allow them to make joint decisions about their new shared living space. For example, your student most likely will not need two televisions in the room. Roommates can decide in advance what items they would like to be shared possessions and who is to bring each. Some items they may want to share include a compact refrigerator, television, fan, carpet/area rug etc. We recommend your student also view our Tips for Developing Successful Roommate Relationships. and filling out a Shared Living Expectations worksheet. While Facebook and texting are the most common methods of communication, please encourage your students to actually talk to one another.  Online profiles and pictures do not always represent students accurately and a lot can get lost in electronic communication.

What things should my student bring to school?
There is a natural tendency for incoming students to want to bring all of their favorite belongings to their new home. While it is nice to have these items, it is important to remind your student that space in the residence hall is limited and packing too many non-essentials will only make their room more crowded. For a list of recommended items to bring visit our checklist page.

It is also important for your student to keep in mind that there may not be room for all of their clothes in the closets/wardrobes/dressers in their room. If you know your student will make a trip home or you will be visiting before the seasons change, leave non-seasonal clothing at home for a later date. Consider using stackable/collapsible storage products to maximize space.

Remember, the room is shared space. Each roommate receives an equal portion of the room, regardless of how much each brings.

Are students allowed to build bed lofts?
Yes.  See the Housing Contract Lofts for guidelines. Residents can also choose to rent a loft for the academic year. The loft will be set-up in the room prior to check-in and removed after check-out in May by the supplying vendor. For additional information, contact Dorms Direct

Are there any other items my student can rent for the year?
Yes. Residents can rent carpets, TVs, futons, safes and microfridges from Dorms Direct. These items are set-up in the room prior to check-in and removed after check-out in May by the supplying vendor.

Are there any tips for packing my student’s belongings?
Move-in can be a really simple process if your student packs efficiently. It is a good idea to label containers with the student's name, building and room number to which they belong because volunteers help first year students with the move-in process. Plastic storage/stackable containers and collapsible bags are recommended and can be easily labeled by writing on a piece of masking tape stuck on the item.

Can students smoke in the residence halls?
All residence halls are smoke-free. All students and their guests agree to refrain from smoking at any time they are physically present in the residence hall, including in private residence rooms. Smoking is prohibited within 25 feet of all entries and exists from university facilities, outdoor intakes and operable windows. This prohibition includes all partially enclosed areas such as covered walkways, breezeways, walkways between sections of buildings and bus-stop shelters, and exterior stairways, balconies and landings. This includes e-cigarettes.

Is there anything my student can’t bring to school?
Yes, there are a number of items not permitted in the residence halls. For a full list review the prohibited items clause of the Student Housing Contract. Some examples of items not permitted in the halls include, but are not limited to, animals (excluding fish in bowls or aquariums no larger than 20 gallons and service animals), non-fused extension cords, incense, explosives, firearms, gasoline and other combustible liquids, torchiere-style (pole) halogen lamps, and weapons.

Refer to the Student Housing Contract for a complete list of our safety guidelines. Pay particular attention to the electrical safety guidelines. Multi-plug adapters (the type that are affixed directly to the wall outlet), cube adapters, un-fused plug strips, non-fused extension cords, flexible cords, and items such as air fresheners that include an “extra” outlet on them are strictly prohibited. Grounded (fused) re-locatable power taps or "surge protector strips" with heavy duty cords will be the only allowable receptacle extensions from wall outlets. Please note that the popular "Power Squid" often does not offer true surge protection, read the specifications carefully and look for the words re-locatable power tap. Each power tap must be connected directly into a wall receptacle and they may not be plugged into one another. Students found in possession of regular extension cords or other prohibited items will be held responsible for a fire safety violation. The State Fire Marshall conducts inspections each fall and every year students face student conduct action for violating these policies. Help your student avoid this.

Can my student move in early?
We are unable to accommodate early arrivals as we are still preparing the halls for your student's arrival. Individuals who need to arrive early may find it beneficial to make arrangements with the Williamsburg Hotel/Motel Association for accommodations (1-800-999-4485).

Are my student’s belongings covered if damaged or lost?
The university is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage to property resulting from fire, theft, casualty or any cause, or for personal injury occurring within the leased premises, except as may be required by Virginia law. It is strongly recommended that personal property insurance be obtained by each student for his or her belongings. Renter's insurance is offered by most major insurance companies; some companies actually offer the option of a rider on a homeowner's policy to cover the belongings of students away at university. We recommend that you contact your current insurance provider or visit these informational websites quotes, guide, reviews, to examine your options.

Are safes provided in my student's room?
The university does not provide individual safes in student's rooms. We recommend that your student lock their door anytime the room is empty. There are also a handful of companies, including Dorms Direct, that specifically cater to university students for the purchase or rental of room safes.

How does my student receive mail or packages?
Every undergraduate is required to have a mailbox unit to receive mail. Your student will have the same assignment as long as they are actively enrolled as an undergraduate student at W&M. More information about sending and receiving mail is detailed on the Postal Service webpage. For more information, contact W&M Postal Services

How will my student be able to get to a local store?

The Williamsburg Area Transport (WAT) provides the bus system for William & Mary and provides daily transportation throughout the campus for students. The buses run approximately every half hour. Additionally, the bus system provides service throughout Williamsburg. Details about the bus schedule can be found here. A student may ride the bus for free upon showing his/her student ID. There is also a ZipCar program on campus.

Can my student get their student ID prior to the move-in day?
Yes, your student can avoid long lines in the fall by getting their ID card in the summer. Any time your student is near Williamsburg in the summer would be a good time to stop by and have their ID processed. Tribe Card Services office hours are Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. The ID Office is located on the first floor of the Campus Center.


What should we expect in terms of traffic and parking on move-in day?
Expect traffic on move-in day. After all, there are over 1500 freshman and transfer students moving in between 8am and 12pm. The W&M Police Department will direct traffic allowing vehicles access to the freshman halls for a short time to quickly and efficiently unload student belongings onto the sidewalk/ground. Once unloaded, vehicles will be directed away from the buildings to a campus parking lot. More information can be found here.

Will there be anyone to assist my student move in to their room?
Volunteers from a variety of student organizations are available all morning to help with freshmen move-in. These upperclassmen wear recognizable brightly-colored t-shirts and are easy to spot. Items are unloaded from your vehicle to the sidewalk, and time permitting, are brought up to your student's room by these volunteers.

How will the weather conditions affect move-in?
Check the weather before your arrival to Williamsburg. Move-in will happen rain or shine. If it looks like rain, consider weather proofing items with trash bags and/or use plastic containers since it is a certainty that items will be exposed to the elements for a short period of time before they are moved to your student's room. Williamsburg is typically hot and humid during August, so be prepared for warm conditions. Also know that the buildings will be quite warm because of the number of people present, a lack of air circulation and open doors. Make sure to wear appropriate clothing and check to determine if your student's building is air-conditioned.

What happens when my student gets to their residence hall? How do they get into their room?
The actual check-in process is a little more involved than just receiving a room key. Resident Assistants (RAs) will help with this process by verifying your student's paperwork, explaining the room condition report (an inventory of your student's room), issuing keys, collecting community dues payable by cash or check (the price of which varies from hall to hall but is approximately $25-$30), and answering any other questions you or your student may have at the time of check-in. Due to the number of students arriving, the lines can get long, so having patience is important.

How are the residence halls staffed during move-in?
In addition to the Resident Assistants (RAs), Hall Directors, Head Residents, Area Directors and Orientation Aides (OAs) are available throughout the check-in process. Maintenance staff is also available to assist with installing approved air-conditioning units or any other small maintenance issues or cleaning that may need attention. Staff will be visible throughout the buildings and at all times should have a William & Mary staff identification card. Please don't hesitate to ask for help if you need assistance.

What should my student bring on move-in day to make the move easier?
There are limited supplies available on check-in day. Bringing a few essentials will make your move to William & Mary a much easier one. Consider bringing scissors/box cutter, tape measure, hand-truck, a small first aid kit, and some basic tools including a screwdriver, hammer, rubber mallet, pliers, etc.  While your student's room will be cleaned by our building services staff before they checks-in, a few cleaning supplies may be helpful for inadvertent spills or from tracking dirt into the room. These supplies can then be left with your student for their use throughout the year. Only common use hall bathrooms are cleaned by our custodial staff during the academic year, so bathroom cleaning supplies will also be needed for those with suite or private bathrooms. Bring plenty to drink! 


What is provided in my student’s room?
Living in a residence hall community is one of the most memorable experiences your student can have at university. However, moving to a shared space can be quite a shock. It's almost impossible to imagine how two or three students and all their stuff are expected to live in a small room and in some cases share a bathroom with their community. If you plan ahead and limit what your student brings, it is very manageable.

Each room is furnished with a bed and mattress (typically 36” x 80”, extra long twin), desk, chair, dresser per student, closets/wardrobes, and a recycling receptacle (for more information, view our FAQs). With the exceptions of the desk carrel and desk chair, the furniture cannot be removed from the room. Bringing additional, bulky furniture will only make the room more cramped. If your student must have some additional pieces, consider items that break down, like foldable chairs. Consider using storage containers that can double as a seat or small table and/or storage bags that compress to store items that are not used very often.

How will everything fit in the room?
If your student limits what they bring and packs wisely, all necessary items will fit. If you and your student are the first to arrive in the room, try to wait for the other roommate(s) to arrive and allow the students to make room decisions together. Remember the day is stressful and time is very limited. While everyone wants to be settled as soon as possible, final room arrangements do not need to be decided on move-in day.

What if something in your student’s room needs repair?
A resident must utilize the online service request system to request repairs be made in his/her room. Once a request has been made, it is prioritized and typically responded to in several days. At peak times, at the beginning and end of each semester, the timeline may take a bit longer. A student concerned about the response time is encouraged to contact their Area Director or Resident Assistant.

Can my student decorate their room?
We encourage students to personalize their living spaces. Refer to the Resource Guide for full details. When hanging items on the walls and other surfaces, avoid using strong tape (clear packing, duct) as these can cause damage and leave residue. Your student will be held responsible for any damage they do to the room.

Are there window coverings?
All rooms on campus have mini-blinds. Curtains are not required or necessary for privacy; however, many students use curtains for decorative purposes. Curtains are permitted, but must carry a recognized fire rating and be constructed of fire retardant material. According to Virginia Fire Prevention code 807.1 all curtains must be fire retardant either in manufacture or by treatment with an aftermarket product.  If your curtains are not labeled as fire retardant you must show proof that they were manufactured as such (by the original packaging) or by producing the product used to treat the curtains.  This year the Virginia State Fire Marshal's Office has placed a renewed emphasis on this requirement.

Approximate window measurements can be found by clicking directly on the room number within the residence hall floor plans. Curtains may only be hung with a tension or spring loaded rod.

Are Microfridges or carpets provided in the room?
No. However carpets, futons and microfridges can be rented from  Dorms Direct. These items are set-up in the room prior to check-in and removed after check-out in May by the supplying vendor.

Is air-conditioning available in all of the residence halls? What if my student has a medical condition requiring an air-conditioned environment? Not all of the residence halls are equipped with air conditioning.  A request for air conditioning is a request for an accommodation due to a disability that can be processed only through Student Accessibility Services.  Students who need to request air conditioning as an accommodation must register with Student Accessibility Services.  If approved, and depending on individual need, the university will assign a student either to a chilled-air system residence hall, or the university will provide and install a window air conditioning unit at no cost to the student.  Any student is permitted to bring an air purifier for their room if needed. 

Additional information about air conditioning in the residence halls can be found here  

What should my student do with their trash and recycling?
Once your student unpacks, they will have a lot of trash and recycling. These items must be removed to the appropriate receptacles outside the building. Please do not leave these items in the hallways or stairwells as this creates a fire hazard and makes maneuvering in the halls difficult and your student could be charged for the removal of the debris.

How will my student access the university computer network?
Students also have the option of utilizing the wireless network available in all of the residence halls or connecting directly to the network via the data port in their rooms.

If your student wants to connect to the wireless network, follow the steps outlined on the Information Technology's website. Students wishing to use the network via the data port will need to have an Ethernet card installed and supply a network cable (25 feet usually will reach from any spot in the room to the network jack). Once the card is installed, connect the cable from the Ethernet port on the computer to the computer port on your telephone/network jack.

After arriving on campus, each student is required to authenticate their computer on the network. Authenticating just takes a few easy steps: When your student uses their computer for the first time, they will log on as usual. After they log on, they must open a web browser and they will be presented with a W&M authentication page. After they enters their WMuserid and password, the computer's network connection will be available.

How much will get done before my student goes to Orientation?
Everything is now in the room. It's time to figure out where not only all of your student's belongings will go but their roommate has just as much stuff as your student. Orientation begins in a couple of hours; how is it all going to get done? Setting up the room does take some time. Therefore you should realize that your student will have limited time to get settled on move-in day and getting the room set up may take more than a couple of hours. Have patience and enjoy letting your student and their roommate be creative with their room configuration.

Now that my student is settled, how do I say good-bye?
Of course saying good-bye is the hard part. How you go about this is up to you. However, we recommend you start this good-bye process before you arrive. Your student will be whisked off to orientation rather quickly on Friday afternoon. They will be concerned about getting to know their roommate(s) and hall mates as well as a million other things that seem to happen at once on move-in day. We tell you this in advance so you have adequate time to say “good-bye.”

What is available in the local Williamsburg community?
Forget something? Need something? Target, Wal-mart, Staples, Office Depot, Lowe's, Home Depot, ACE Hardware, the university Bookstore, and various grocery stores are all nearby. We recommend you print out the directions you might need before your arrival to campus. If you have any questions, please ask a staff member.

  • Directions from Brown Hall, Monroe Hall, Bryan Complex, Old Dominion, Sorority Court
  • Directions from Yates Hall, Randolph Complex, DuPont Hall, Spotswood Hall, Nicholson Hall, Fauquier Hall, Gooch Hall, Dinwiddie Hall, the Units
  • Directions from Barrett Hall, Taliaferro Hall, Hunt Hall, Reves Hall, Jefferson Hall, Landrum Hall, Chandler Hall, Lemon Hall, and Hardy Hall.


During the first week of school, your student and their roommate(s) will be asked to negotiate a Shared Living Expectations worksheet. This worksheet will help them discuss and agree on important items such as study/sleep habits, guests, room security, borrowing or sharing items, noise levels, private time, room clutter, phone messages, etc. Their RA can assist them with this process. Encourage your student to take time during the summer and at the beginning of the year to invest in their roommate relationship. It will make sharing the space much more enjoyable! It is also important to remember that as your student and his/her roommate get into the routine of the semester, their room expectations may change. The worksheet should be a living document that helps the roommates negotiate room expectations throughout the year. We suggest reviewing the Tips for Developing Successful Roommate Relationships.

What staff is available in the residence halls?
Resident Assistants (RAs) are assigned a hall, wing, section of a building, or a cluster of apartments. They live on the hall with the residents and work to develop community within their area. They are responsible for planning events and activities and assisting the Head Resident/Hall Director/Area Director/Assistant DIrectors with tasks to ensure a positive experience to students while living in the residence halls. These folks are well trained and great people for your student to get to know.

What safety provisions are made in the residence halls?
Residents are responsible for their personal security and that of their belongings within university facilities. There are several measures your student can take to assist with protecting their safety. When leaving their room, even for a few minutes they should lock their room door. A student should also carry their student ID with them at all times. The student ID card serves as a “key” for access to the residence halls equipped with ID card readers and exterior doors should be kept closed at all times.

What can my student do to be safe on campus?
Student safety is a priority. The university of William & Mary and the Williamsburg area are, for the most part, a wonderful community. However, we are not immune to crime. It is important that your student takes appropriate measures to protect themselves and their belongings. Your student should carry their student ID at all times. The student ID card serves as a “key” for access to the residence halls, academic buildings, meals, vending machines, Swem Library, Recreation Center, Student Health Center and the W&M Express Account. In addition to the ID, your student should always carry their room key. Your student should get in the habit of locking their room door every time they leave, even if only for a few minutes. Exterior doors should never be propped open. Finally, when walking on campus, the buddy system is always recommended, especially at night. Student escort services are available and free of charge.

What can my student do if they are not getting along with their roommate?
When two people begin to room together, they often need some time to adjust to their differing expectations about living together. Roommates are encouraged to complete a Shared Living Expectations worksheet and spend some time negotiating room expectations. Residence Life staff are a great resource if the roommate situation is not working. However, if a resident determines that their living situation is not working, written consent from Residence Life must be granted prior to anyone moving. Requests for room changes are not accepted until one week after the first day of classes at the beginning of each semester. Changes are typically approved on a first-come, first-served basis, but may be made based on the individual circumstances involved. Once a change has been granted, students should complete the move within 48 hours. We suggest reviewing the Tips for Developing Successful Roommate Relationships.

What are hall council dues and how are they used?
Hall council dues are an optional fee used to plan events and activities in the halls. The funds are also used for the purchase of vacuums, DVD players, TVs, and microwaves along with other hall improvements determined by the hall council. Most halls limit the use of purchased items by residents who have elected to pay dues. The dues are collected at check-in and can only be paid by cash or check.

Who do I contact if I have further questions?
For questions related to your student's housing, contact Residence Life at [[living]] or 757.221.4314. For questions related to William & Mary, Student Affairs at [[studentaffairs]] or 757.221.1236 or check out the Parents & Families resource page.