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Two options to help high school seniors shop for college

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Fitting everything into Mom or Dad's car can often require puzzle master-like skills. A Pack and Hold could be the answer to this problem when leaving for school.

 As a general rule, the month of June brings with it the bombardment of Graduation parties. Whether it’s from eighth grade, high school or college mass quantities of food and cake are rolled out to celebrate life’s accomplishments. Right now, there are high school seniors across the country preparing for what’s to come in August, college. For those wondering what is necessary when entering as a freshman there are lists everywhere for guidance, but be aware that every item on any list is not always necessary.

I recently came across something I found interesting and rather helpful for incoming college freshmen, something that didn’t exist when I was packing up and shopping for school. For the last couple of years Bed Bath and Beyond has been offering college students two different options in preparing for school in the fall. The first is the College Gift Registry. Bed Bath and Beyond gives students the opportunity to come into the store and create a wish list of anything and everything they might need for school. This option comes in handy for those having a graduation party and trying to let guests know what they’ll be needing in the fall.

The second option the store offers is what it calls “Pack and Hold.” With a Pack and Hold, a student enters the store and is given a scanner to create a list of everything he or she would like to have at school. However, unlike the registry a Pack and Hold is not a list that can be shopped off of. The list is then sent to the Bed Bath and Beyond location nearest the student’s college or university where the items are then pulled off of the floor and held until the student arrives in the fall. The Pack and Hold option is an extremely good idea for those that will be attending school out-of-state. With the Pack and Hold option the list cannot be paid for in advance. It must be paid for upon pick-up. For parents not escorting their child to school, I suggest a gift card to give to the student to cover the expense. A rough total can be calculated from the store in which the Pack and Hold list is created and a Bed Bath and Beyond gift card can have any amount applied to it up to $1,000.

Before choosing either of these options be sure to check housing regulations with the college or university you will be attending. There are certain items that are not allowed in residential halls and some require Twin-XL sheets and some do not. Another good way to get a feel for what to bring is to ask friends or family members that have already attended or are currently attending a college or university. Sometimes, those are the people that come up with things that you would never think of bringing along. For example, a friend of mine was going to be attending the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a close friend that had already attended the university suggested a full-length mirror that could be hung on the door because the residential halls didn’t have them in the rooms. We got lucky and found one in blue and orange.

Also, if creating a College Registry keep in mind that additional items can be added later. If you’ve spent hours in the store and can’t think of anything else that’s fine. With a registry you can always go back and add things. This is not the case for a Pack and Hold. Because a Pack and Hold requires action relatively quickly by employees, it becomes a one-time trip. However, another Pack and Hold can be created if a lot of things were missed in the first trip.

For more info: Bed Bath and Beyond has created a special Store Locator on its website to help students find the closest store to their college or university's location. You can also call your local Bed Bath and Beyond for more detailed information on either option. Always check regulations from your college or university before making purchases, it really is a pain to get to school and find out some things have to be sent home.

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