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Parents and Families

Move-in Tips for New Parents and Families

We’re excited to welcome your student to Carthage during New Student Arrival. Here are some move-in tips from parents of current and former students to help you prepare for your student’s arrival on campus.

Please note: Students can bring two individuals with them to assist with move-in. All individuals are required to wear masks and students are encouraged to bring their own cleaning supplies for move-in.

Parking and Unloading

Move-in 2016

“Bring a dolly or wagon to transport heavy boxes or your student’s mini-fridge. This way, you can avoid carrying it yourself and avoid making multiple trips. Oh, and IKEA has the BEST shopping bags!” — Jackie E.

“I found move-in (and move-out) to be very well organized. Prepare to use the stairs, though! My daughter was on the fourth floor in Denhart last year and the elevator gets busy.”  — Jamie S.

“We had one parent help for move-in. Emotions are all over the place and more people in a small room definitely makes it harder for everyone, especially if the roommate and their family are there at the same time. Give your freshman all the space and latitude they need. They are trying to figure it out too. Just keep asking what to do. Your student might just have a plan.” — Trudi F.

Tips and information from Carthage:

  • Consider bringing a dolly, cart, or wagon to assist you in moving items in and out of the facilities. Carthage does not have these available. 
  • Make sure your student labels their belongings with masking tape, writing down their building name and room number.
  • Always leave one person with the vehicle to help move-in run smoothly.


What to bring

Move-in 2016

“Coordinate with the roommate on who has what. I’d recommend buying clip-on lights for their bed for extra lighting. Depending on the room set up, bed risers were a godsend.” — Colleen S.

“Walmart, Aldi, and Target are only a few miles away, so don’t worry about forgetting anything. A dolly works great in lugging heavy boxes. Bring cleaning products for the room — they need a little clean up before everything gets moved in.” — Jane M.

“Bring something to clean the floor (like a Swiffer Wetjet). If you’re moving into The Oaks, it helps to have Clorox wipes to freshen up the bathroom. Also, I remember we had to borrow a screwdriver from someone else, so bring some regular tools for any just-in-case needs.” — Pamela K.

“Buy your box fan ahead of time! Everywhere we went was sold out.”  — Jessie L.

“My son lived in Madrigrano and one thing that helped him in the bathrooms was having a hook to hang up his towel up while he showered. Bring flip flops for shower shoes. Get a shower caddy. Bring a box fan — son had a clip-on fan on his bed too. Having a drying rack for clothes also helped.” — Shelly G.

“Invest in a small tool kit to keep in the room. I cannot tell you how often my kids had others borrow screwdrivers, measuring tape, and a hammer. You can get them on Amazon.” — Jennifer J.

“Bring lots of Command Hooks — students use them! We bought an over-the-door, plastic shoe organizer that our daughter used to store things like her hairbrush, perfume, and a lint roller. Be sure you have a couple of power-strips that have long cords. There are not many outlets in the dorms. Also, make sure they keep an overnight bag at school in case they go away for the weekend with friends.” — Holly P.

What not to bring

Move-in 2016

“Don’t buy too much for the room. A lot of it comes back unused.” — Jackie E.

“If you are coming from out of state, things like bedding can be ordered and stored at the local Bed, Bath & Beyond. Then you can pick up when you are in Racine/Kenosha.” — Trudi F.

“Only buy the minimum and get the rest if they need it. We bought so much stuff that he never used.” — Schaya H.

Saying goodbye

Move-in 2016

“Enjoy it! Take it all in and don’t let them see the tears.” — Jane M.

“I wrote my son a note of all the things I wished for him as he moved through his four years of college. I hid it in his laptop on his desk because I figured he would not use that until the day before classes started. He opened it, read it, and called me. He told me he’s got this and he met some great people. He is a junior now. Your student will grow leaps and bounds in the first month.” — Beth A.

“We left a note of encouragement letting our son know we were proud of him and knew he would have a fantastic college experience! He really liked that! I think that was more important than any material item we may have forgotten.” — Sue T. 

“Let your student take the lead in his/her journey to Carthage. Let your student find out all the who, what, where, when, and hows they can. My son graduated in May and is flourishing as a young adult now — with a job and a move to another state. They can do it if you let them! Hope all the new families enjoy Carthage as much as we did the past four years.” — Julie W.

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2021), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • The Tower, Carthage’s newest residence hall, provides some of the best views on campus — if not in the Midwest! In addition to #carthageviews of the lake from seven stories up, residents enjoy suite-style living and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about all housing options.

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wings, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • More than 90% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit The Aspire Center.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. More than 90% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • Carthage has ranked as a top Fulbright producer for four of the past five years. Read about Carthage Fulbright winners.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our science center, student union, athletic and recreation center, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 15 years.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors, and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from marketing to neuroscience, nursing to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our more than 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of students receive financial aid. Carthage awards more than $20 million in scholarship and grant assistance. That includes $5.5 million in competitive scholarships in business, mathematics, science, languages, the fine arts, leadership, and overall academic strength. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” recalls biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 35 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from $25,000 up to full tuition. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about Intellectual Foundations.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 13:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 130 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Fencing to Frisbee, Chem Club to Stand Up Comedy. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked in the Top 5 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …