From Dorm to Home: A Guide to Transitioning to a Home-Based College Lifestyle

Moving back home after a semester in a dorm can be a great decision if you’re struggling to adapt to college life. Moving out of a dorm can save you up to $12,000 per year and help you reconnect with your family.  

However, leaving the dorms to return home can be a difficult transition. You’re no longer a high school student and must create an environment supporting your studies. 

Returning home after living in the dorms for a semester can be emotionally straining. You’re used to living independently as an adult and may struggle to fit in with your family’s schedule after you’ve experienced the freedom of dorm life. 

Make the transition a success by communicating with your parents. This can minimize stress and help you create a home environment that supports your studies. 

Preparing for the Transition

Your folks will probably be excited for you to return home after a semester or two away. However, before you move home, you need to set time aside to plan the transition together. Clear planning and open communication ensure that everyone has the space they need to feel comfortable at home and will alleviate any fears you may have about losing your freedom. 

If you’re planning to drive across the state, get your car serviced to move back in with your folks. If you’re driving during the colder months, consider investing in winter tires for the trip, as 54% of drivers who live in colder regions have lost control of their car due to inclement weather. Winter tires can keep you on the road when driving through snow and ice on your way back home. 

Consider bringing a few essential items with you from your dorm room. Keeping your dorm desk or note organizer can give you a sense of continuity and will be helpful when you’re trying to set up a study space at home. Do not overlook forgettable items, either, as you’ll still need your laptop charger and ink cartridges when you return home after a busy semester. 

Moving back home can be emotionally taxing. Minimize conflict and continue to grow as a person by contributing to your family. You may not have to pay rent, but you should proactively take care of things like dirty dishes and laundry. This can help you maintain your independence and make surviving the move home much easier. 

Study Spaces

Your bedroom may have served you well during your high school years. However, college represents a serious step up in your academic career. This means you need a space to support your academic progress and help you focus on upcoming finals. 

Speak to your folks about converting a room in your home into a study space. Even unusual spaces, like garages, can make for a perfect home office during your college years. You can convert a garage into a home office by:

  • Decluttering: Your parents have probably accumulated a lot of unused “stuff” over the years. Help them out by cleaning up the junk and storing items that hold sentimental value in the attic where they belong. 
  • Heating/Cooling: You can’t study in searing heat or negative temperature. Install some insulation and look into an HVAC that can heat and cool small spaces. 
  • Power: You’ll need a reliable electricity source to charge your laptop and power your printer. Pick up a few extension plugs to make the most of existing outlets. 
  • Personalization: You’ll study best when you feel at home in a space. Make the most of your time at home by picking up house plants and prints that help you relax. 

These modifications will serve you well throughout your college years and can double as a home office for your folks if they work remotely. 


Transitioning home after living in the dorms can be daunting. Get ahead of potential issues by creating a plan with your parents. This will help you maintain your independence and can minimize the risk of conflict. Remember to contribute by doing household chores and try to keep your study space as clean as possible. 

Author: Sam Bowman