Making the transition back to school can be difficult, especially if you have been out in the work force for a few years before you embark upon grad school. Adding a long distance relocation for school into the mix can make it even more stressful. The following guide can help you manage the relocation with a minimum of hassles, and without blowing through your savings or meager grad school stipend.
Tip #1: Apply for Housing Immediately
If you want to save money by staying in on-campus housing, you will need to begin the application process as soon as you are accepted. Most universities have only limited grad school housing, and it is usually first assigned to international students, and then to those relocating from out-of-state. Housing may be even more limited if you are married or have a family.
Applying early doesn't just make you more likely to get campus housing, it also gives you more time to make alternative arrangements if the campus housing falls through.
Tip #2: Stagger Everything
Grad school will likely start with three important events – moving day, first day of school, and first day of work. To lower your stress level, make sure you move in at least one week before school begins, or on the first available day for move-ins if you get campus housing. Give yourself several days to get settled and unpacked before the first day of school or work. Also, don't plan to start work and school on the same day, or even during the same week, if at all possible. Give yourself some time to adjust to new responsibilities and workloads so you don't become overwhelmed.
Tip #3: Simplify the Move
It can be tempting to rent a truck and move everything yourself just so you can save a few dollars. This may not work out as planned, especially for long distance moves. Rental trucks typically cost more for one-way moves, plus you will have to pay the gas and mileage. As a reward for these minimal savings, you also get all the hassle of packing up everything and then unloading it at your destination.
Look into moving companies that specialize in long-distance moves. Professionals are especially necessary if you have any specialty items to move, such as a piano. You can save some money by boxing your belongings yourself, and then just using the movers for transportation and loading. Shop around early and place a reservation with the moving company like Wheaton World Wide Moving at least a month in advance, especially if you plan to move during the late summer, which is often a busy time for movers.