Dorm life gives students a bit of home on campus, but not all items you use at home should make the trek to college. The housing department at your future college sets the standards for items that are allowed and prohibited in the dorms. Most of the restrictions are based on the protection of all students living in communal housing. Reviewing the specific restrictions for your college helps you avoid breaking any rules.
With so many people living in one building, colleges need to ban items that present a fire hazard. Incense, candles and any other items with open flames are not allowed in dormitories. Smoking cigarettes or cigars is another activity banned in and around dorms. Halogen lamps are generally considered a fire hazard and are not allowed on campus. Some colleges prohibit certain types of curtains because they may not meet fire safety requirements.
Many appliances are banned in dorm rooms due the potential for overloaded circuits or fires. A small dorm refrigerator and microwave are usually allowed, but other cooking implements are prohibited. Leave appliances such as hot plates, toasters, electric skillets, toaster ovens and indoor grills at home. Window air conditioners and space heaters are also commonly found on prohibited item lists. These appliances use a lot of power and can overwork the electrical system. Check on the use of extension cords, as colleges often ban them as another way to prevent a heavy load on the circuits.
Pets are generally not allowed in college dorms. Animals make messes and often cause damage that colleges don't want to deal with. Pets also make noises that may disrupt your dorm neighbors. It's tough to leave a favorite pet behind, but college students are often too busy to take care of pets anyway. Some colleges do allow small fish tanks in the dorms. You still have pet-care responsibilities with fish, including remembering to feed the fish and cleaning the tank. Decide if you want that responsibility before setting up an aquarium in your room.
Colleges vary on the furniture allowed in the dorms. Some colleges provide all of the furniture necessary for you and don't want additional furniture in the rooms. Most dormitories lack excess space, so a full-sized couch or other large furniture may not fit even if they aren't prohibited by the college. Loft beds are also restricted by some colleges. You may need to purchase the lofting kit from the college or meet requirements on the maximum height. Homemade lofts are sometimes prohibited to reduce the risk of a falling bed.
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