Before we sent our youngest off to college–and before she even graduated from high school–we decided to sign her up for the Target college dorm registry. Why? Well, one, we needed to buy supplies for her college dorm. And, two, if friends and family wanted an easy way to buy graduation gifts or going away to college gifts, we could point them to the Target college dorm registry.
This is an important consideration if, like our family, members of your family may be a bit out of touch with what today’s college students need. For example, one grandmother asked if our daughter needed a hot plate. (Do they even make those anymore?)
Another relative wanted to know if she needed rolls of quarters for taking the bus, since my older daughter was going to college in New York City. We had to explain to her the concept of today’s Metro Card.
Why we chose the Target college dorm registry
Why did we choose to sign her up for the Target dorm registry, which is part of the Target gift registry program? Because when we were getting ready to send her older sister to college two years earlier, we found that we did most of our shopping at Target.
For one thing we believe that Target has the best selection of twin XL or extra long bed sheets. If you don’t know what they are and are sending a child to college, you soon will.
Also, Target stores are pretty ubiquitous, meaning they’re everywhere. So, shopping at a Target is always easy and convenient.
Plus, there’s always the option for shopping online at Target.com. It was our last resort when we realized we’d forgotten pillows to pack for her older sister to go to college.
Finally, there is the Target app (previously Cartwheel) where you can earn and cash in rewards. And when you register at Target, you get a Target college registry discount promo code to spend on anything that remains on your registry.
One last thing: Normally, I’d advocate handing down items from one daughter to the next. However, when Annie was going to college, her sister Jane was still in college. Also, stuff at college gets pretty beat up pretty quickly. Those college washers and dryers are brutal on linens. So starting fresh for Annie made the most sense.
Preparing to register for college dorm supplies
At some point in the summer before orientation, your child will likely receive a welcome packet from their college or university. If they’re going to be living on campus in university housing, you will also probably receive a packing list or what to bring–and not to bring–to campus housing.
However, having already sent another child to college, I knew that you could find that list online and months before those welcome packets are sent. It took a little bit of sleuthing but I finally found the list for Annie’s college. I printed it out and kept it with us as we set up her college dorm registry. It was easiest for us to start her Target college dorm registry at home by going online.
The Target college dorm registry
Even though starting the registry online was a good first step, actually finding the Target gift registry section on the Target website was not easy. After looking through categories and even scrolling all the way to the bottom of the homepage, I finally just typed in “college registry” in the search box and got to the page. Note to Target: maybe make a link to the gift registry in your category section so they’re easier to find.
To make your life easier, here is a direct link to the start page for the Target gift registry. You can get to the college dorm registry here, too.
When you get to the registry page, you’ll notice it is for all of Target’s registry programs. At top is the prompt to find someone else’s registry, for shoppers. And from there you get a dropdown list of all the registry options. This includes:
- kids wish list
However, in order to set up the Target college dorm registry, you need to scroll down a bit farther until you see “create a college registry.” On the day we registered, I just want to shout out kudos to Target for featuring a body positive, female as the college student in the image. Nice going with your inclusivity.
How to set up a Target college dorm registry
When you first click through for “create a college registry,” you’ll come to a landing page that includes all the benefits of registering with Target. Some of those benefits include:
- 15% off anything that remains on your registry (you’ll get that promo discount code emailed to you)
- the option for a universal registry (meaning adding products from other stores)
- gift tracking (so you can send thank you notes)
- the ability to personalize your page
- setting up group gifting options
- Target registry app (this will allow you to scan items in store and add them to your college dorm registry)
After reading through the benefits, we clicked the red “Create Registry” button on the top of the page. Luckily, the header “floated” down with us as we scrolled the page. So that was easy.
Answering Target dorm registry questions
To set up Annie’s registry, we needed to answer a couple of questions. Things like “When does school start?” and “What is the name of the school?” The site also wanted to know what shipping address we should list–we’re doing our home address for now–and if we want to make the registry publicly searchable. Also, because we already have an account on Target.com, our address was saved in the system. So that reduced what we had to type in.
Once we filled in that information, we had one last button to click. It said “Create My College Registry.” On the next page we saw a link so we could share the Target registry with family and friends. But first we needed to add items to the registry.
So, Annie started shopping. I reminded her to keep her “What to bring to college” list from her school nearby. I wanted to make sure she was adding items she would really need, not the “nice to haves” that I know my shopping girl probably saw on Pinterest.
I suggested she start with bedding, since we knew we’d need those aforementioned twin XL sheets. Boring, I know, but might as well get those necessities out of the way. I noticed that when she clicked through to the “dorm bedding” page, it looked just like shopping on the regular Target.com site. However, instead of “add to cart,” the button said “add to registry.”
Target college dorm registry benefits
Here was a benefit I didn’t expect. About a week after we created Annie’s Target dorm registry, Target sent us a follow-up email. It was a 15% off promo code valid for one Target.com order. This was great. I only expected the 15% off discount code at the other end of the Target registry.
Also, we learned that Annie’s registry would stay active for 18 months after her “event” date. I’m assuming that’s the day we said college starts. This 18-month timeline is also true with baby and wedding registries, FYI.
The etiquette of gift registries
Now you may find the notion of a college dorm registry offensive. Back in the day I wrote about wedding registries and the etiquette of sharing registry information. I’ll go with the advice I gave years ago, with regard to communicating information about the registry. That is, only share it when people ask.
If you hear, “What can I get [your son or daughter] for graduation/to go to college?” go for it. If you’re having a party, do not include the registry information in the invitation. Again, only give it if people ask for advice on a gift to give. Do not put a link on Facebook or Twitter to the registry. Only share a link if someone asks.
What not to bring to college
As a parent you may be surprised to learn that “what to bring to college” lists also include items to leave at home. Many of these have to do with fire safety. Others are due to space restrictions.
For example, with my older daughter, her college list included surge protectors with flat head only. That is, they would sit flush to the wall as opposed to sticking out. I’m not sure if this was for space saving or to prevent a tripping hazard.
With Annie’s college some of the “leave at home” items that are banned in the dorm included:
- electric cooking appliances (they make a point to say that Keurig machines are ok!)
- halogen lamps and bulbs
- incandescent light bulbs (old fashioned ones, that is)
- microwave ovens
- over the door hangers
- portable heaters or air conditioners
Now that you know what not to bring, here is my article on college dorm must haves. In other words, what you should most definitely bring to your college dorm.
Also, here is a post on a dorm packing checklist. I’m sure you’ll find it super helpful.
Finally, for when your student gets to campus, here are some of the best ways to save money as a college student.