The real trick to living off campus is being more organized than ever before. You're going to have bills and other responsibilities outside of school, but you still have to get your school work done too. Keeping your house put together and all your ducks in a row is going to help moving in go much smoother, and help you and your roommates stay ready for any surprise visits from family.
Set up all of your utilities.
This may seem like common sense, but you should really get these checked off your list at least two weeks before moving in. It'll take time for the account to be prepared and there may not be anyone available to come out for a while after you set it up. The earlier you set it up, the less you have to worry about showering in cold water your first few days in. HINT: If it's your first time setting up electricity with a company, do that first because they might be able to hook you up with a special 12-month offer on internet that will get you more bang for your buck.
Discuss who is bringing what.
In a world where college kids all move in together, there is bound to be a lot of overbuying - especially if you don't communicate about who is getting what. For instance, my household has three Swiffers for our small place because we didn't talk as much as we should have about who was bringing what. HINT: If you're in college, you probably all have Google Doc accounts. Create a shared document with lists of supplies you'll need for different areas of the house. As you buy things - as long as everyone keeps up with crossing things off of the list - you shouldn't have too many repeat items by the time you move in.
File maintenance requests your first day there.
The quicker you file your requests, the sooner someone will be there to fix it. There will be a lot of people moving into places close to you that are owned by the same company. That means there will be dozens of requests coming through their doors, so try to make sure yours is close to the top of their list. HINT: To avoid BS charges at the end of your lease agreement, take photos of every room in the house in the condition they were when you showed up - if there is preexisting damage and they try to charge you, you now have a way to defend yourself. Lot's of places will even give you a form to fill out that allows you to write down any damage you see in the place, be specific with your input.
Homesickness can strike fast if you aren't comfortable in your new place. Decorating and getting things organized within the first few days will help with this. As soon as your house looks like a home, it will start to feel like one. Put pillows on the couch, have decorations on the wall - make it as personal as you can. HINT: The best way to feel right at home, is to have a piece of home with you. I brought some blankets from my place and organized them in a basket in the living room. Being able to snuggle up with my piece of home makes my place that much more cozy.
Get ready to cook.
Most often living off campus means losing your meal plan. No more quick runs to the dining hall for a hot meal, you've got to cook it yourself. Look up recipes, bring the ones you've made before, and make cooking fun. Get all your roommates together at least once a week and try to cook a new recipe as a way to destress and also catch up about your weeks. HINT: If you do start to get tired of cooking, there are so many precooked options you can grab at the store, or you can meal prep by cooking a lot of one thing at the beginning of the week, so all you have to do is warm it up when you need it.
Make your bed each day.
This may seem extra, but I'm telling you that if you get up and make your bed each morning, your day will be more productive. Starting the day with one small task will kick start your motivation - and keep your room looking nice. If you start your day with a small cleaning task, you should be able to keep everything else pretty tidy because after a while it will become habit to pick something up when you're done with it. This is a hard skill for lots of college students to grasp because we are all so willing to fall into our beds at any given moment, but soon we will be transitioning into actual careers, and becoming an adult means staying a little more tidy. HINT: If you keep picking up little things throughout the day, you won't have to waste a whole day every week on cleaning up trash all around the house.