How to Pack for College

How to Pack for College

How to Pack for College


It's coming! That day filled with excitement, anxiety, dread, tears, fun, and sweat – that day you finally climb in the car and drive your child to his new temporary home – a college dormitory. You've spent the summer going over the College Dorm Room Checklist and meticulously checked off the items. But before you hit the road, you need some College Packing Tips. Let's talk about How to Pack for College!

And, don't forget your Parent Survival Kit for College Drop Off!

More Back to College Posts:

25 Dorm Room Ideas

Back to College: The Essential Guide

The Complete Guide to Paying for College

12 Bible Verses for College Students


how to pack for college

How to Pack for College with these College Packing Tips

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive (at no additional cost to you) a small commission, which helps pay for this blog. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


College Packing Tip #1

Gather these supplies:

  • Banker's boxes (can be purchased in multi-packs at Sams, office supply stores, or online). These are just the right size for small collections of items, are easy to carry (handles), and stack in the car or on a dolly.
  • Ikea Bags: People swear by these Ikea Bags. We have used them along with a lot of duffles we already own. (Get them now. They tend to sell out!)  They are inexpensive and are great for packing clothes, linens, towels, really anything… Like banker's boxes, they can be easily collapsed after the move for storage.
  • Depending on your items, a few larger boxes
  • Drawer units, storage boxes, laundry baskets, etc. (Any dorm room item that will hold other items.) You will never be sorry you purchased good, quality drawer units that will last through college and beyond.
  • Mover's stretch plastic wrap
  • a system for labeling
  • trash bags
  • Wheeled duffles or suitcases
  • The Parent's Survival Kit for College Move In


how to pack for college

College Packing Tip # 2:

How to pack your clothes for the move to college

Make a small hole in the middle of the non-open end of several trash bags. Slip the trash bags over clothes on hangers. We have learned over many moves to Zip tie the hangers together to keep individual hangers from falling.

Place other clothing in wheeled suitcases or in your drawer units.



how to pack for college box labeled with students name and dorm room

College Packing Tip #3:

Packing school supplies and other small collections of items for the move to college:

Small items like desk supplies that will not stay neat in a duffle fit perfectly into banker's boxes. These boxes have handles are are very easy to label. They can be collapsed and put back in the car for the drive home or easily stored in a dorm room.


College Packing Tip #4:

Packing large and oddly shaped items for the move to college:

Some items will not fit in boxes and will have to be placed in the car “as is.” Wrap anything that might get dirty or has loose parts with plastic stretch wrap. The plastic wrap can also be used to hold drawers closed and contain items in a laundry basket or trash can.

How to Pack for College 1

College Packing Tip #5:

Label, label, label EVERYTHING for the move to college:

Label every box with your child's dorm name, room number, and name. Hopefully you will be met at the curb by some smiling upper classmen who will empty your car and have everything to the dorm room in less than 10 minutes. However, you want these willing souls to bring your stuff to the correct room!


Pile all of your stuff by the door and prepare to load it in the car. 

Using these College Packing Tips for your Move to College will save time and headaches once you arrive at your school. The more you can compact the items into containers that are easily carried and stacked, the better it will fit in your car and the easier it will be to get to the dorm room.

If you are a veteran parent of the college move or have other how to pack for college hints, please share them in the comments, then head over to the Parent Survival Kit for College Drop-Off for tips for the move-in day.

The Scholarship System

The Scholarship System

The Scholarship System Review and Interview


Paying for college with scholarships is the dream of many college bound students, but actually winning them requires a plan. I interviewed Jocelyn, who won over $126,000 to completely pay for her college education. She answered  questions and gave us some college scholarship tips including telling me about her Scholarship System. She uses The Scholarship System to coach high school students through the process of researching, applying for, and winning scholarships and has saved families over $720,000 in college costs.

I was also given brief access to the Scholarship System so I could do a full Scholarship System review.

Check out The Scholarship System!

the scholarship system review

The Scholarship System Review and Interview


This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may (at no additional cost to you) receive a small commission. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar. Your support pays for the maintenance and free materials available on Almost Empty Nest. Thank you!! 


Tell me a little about yourself and about The Scholarship System

I am the oldest of 5 and my parents told us, “We love you guys, however, unfortunately there is no way we can afford five kids going to college.”

We were like most families, kind of stuck in the middle. We wouldn't just get a free ride to college because of being low income. Yet, my parents did not have enough to cut a check and pay for school. That was my junior year in high school and I was like, oh my gosh, what am I going to do? I don't want to take out debt and I was pretty certain and bullheaded about not taking out debt. So I went on the hunt for scholarships and that is really where it all began.

But the first year was awful. It was so painful. I got sucked into scams. The email that I used back then now has over 20,000 messages and it is all marketing from scam scholarships. And a whole year of what I thought was applying, but in reality I was basically just wasting an entire year because I did not know what I was doing. And then towards the end of my junior year I finally got a $500 scholarship from a small local one. And that's when I realized, “Hey, wait a minute. Maybe these are the kinds of scholarships I should be going after.”

So I started tweaking what kinds of scholarships I was going after, tweaking my essays so that I could get them really fine-tuned, and then slowly, but surely, I got to a free ride. My university only offered me $2000 a year, but yet, I was able to get six figures in scholarships because of going for all of those low hanging fruit, smaller dollar, external scholarships that could still add up to a free ride. In the end I got over $126,000 in scholarships.




What does the ideal scholarship candidate look like?

There are a lot of myths around scholarships where people think that they have to have the perfect GPA, be a National Merit Finalist, (…) or they have to be low income, have to be the next Tim Tebow, and what I found is that wasn't the case. There are scholarships out there for so many different things. It's a matter of finding them.

So, believe it or not, I think a lot of people when they think, “What's the perfect scholarship candidate?” They are going to hear 4.0, perfect SATs, and they are involved in a million things, have a million community service hours, or are captain of the football team, but that is actually not the case because scholarship committees are people just like us, right? And they are looking for someone that is going to succeed, and so really the idea candidate is someone who is going to succeed in college and beyond.

So now, we can say that stats normally indicate that or community service really indicate that, but if we can share the right story to show that whatever we have done actually does prove that we can succeed, then there aren't any really high bars as far as stats and figures, but it's more so character based.

So with students, it's not that they have to fit a certain box. It's that we have to find what it is in your experience that proves that you can take that experience and succeed in college and beyond. We had one student that got scholarships for loving horses. We found 6 scholarships that she could apply to.

It's just a matter of finding specific criteria that they are passionate about and going for scholarships that relate to them rather than trying to fit a cookie cutter because there is no cookie cutter student that will win a scholarship. That's the beauty of it. Students like me – my SATs these days would be below average. This is good news for that average student.




What is the number one thing you would tell a student or their parent about applying for scholarships?

The first is to start early and the reason I say that is because a lot of times we can find scholarships, especially local scholarships, that your student will be eligible for way in advance. A lot of times the deadlines are the same year after year. So say, you start researching in your sophomore or junior year… You can compile a list of all the scholarships that our student can apply to and start prepping for it.

Seniors are so caught up in admissions that they miss out on a lot of money. But if we can start doing that research a head of time, then they just have to focus on the applications, not the research and finding them and potentially missing deadlines. So I highly recommend starting early and documenting and even if the deadline has passed, so they can apply the following year. Start creating a list.



Are scholarships more competitive than they used to be because there are more and more kids applying for scholarships as people have become more aware of them?

You would think that was the case with debt increasing, with headlines all over the place about the scary student debt situation, you would think students would start applying. Unfortunately, a lot of students think they are going to apply and they don't. They start the process and they get overwhelmed and they quit. That is why, in my opinion, The Scholarship System has been so successful so far. It gives them clear steps to follow.

When you say to your kid, “You need to get scholarships because we can't afford this,” they are going to google “scholarships” and come back with 90,000 pages of scholarships that don't pertain to them, scams, and they are just going to get overwhelmed. With a clear system to follow, breaking it down into bite-sized chunks, it increases the chances that they are going to actually apply in the first place. So even though students know they need to be applying for scholarships, I don't think that a lot of them really are doing it because they get so overwhelmed with all of the junk out there.

To go off that – someone recently contacted us. It was a $1000 scholarship with a little essay and it had zero applicants. He said, “I have a million blog readers a month and I have zero applicants.”



What is your advice for the kid who is so busy being awesome – good grades, officer in clubs, athletics, community service, that they have no time to apply for scholarships?

We talk about in our facebook group a concept called “Scholarship Saturdays” or “Scholarship Sundays.” I highly recommend families setting aside a time where “this is scholarship time.” There is no arguing about it. You only need an hour or two. We will sit down and start researching scholarships for you and you start doing the applications. The families that have done that, I see the most success with.

The challenge when we say, “Did you apply?” “Did you apply?” “Did you apply?” it just sounds like nagging. Instead when we have that Scholarship Saturday or Sunday, we don't have to nag them Monday through Friday because we know our dedicate time.

The other thing to keep in mind is that you have to do admission essays and a lot of that can be reused. Once you get some solid application materials ready, you can reuse them over and over and over like I did. That is when you really start cutting down the time it takes. It does take some time to get started which is  why I recommend choosing a consistent time for the family to get together. Bake cookies, whatever… But once you get going, it get's easier because you can reuse stuff.


What can a parent ethically do to help their child with their applications?

I love this question! One thing we talk about a LOT is DO NOT DO THEM FOR YOUR STUDENT! In the course, we have an interview with a scholarship committee member who has given out a half a million dollars every year for a long time. He says when a parent does the application, they can tell. They see it all the time and those students are automatically disqualified.

Even though you cannot do it for them, there are areas where a parent can be involved. First, researching them, so finding scholarships they can apply to. I have parents who do the research and print them out – just stack them in a folder and their student goes through them.

Also some parents who have the experience can proofread essays. I only recommend that for parents who are confident in their writing skills and we have to be honest with ourselves about whether we are the right person. Most of the time an English teacher or English professor would be better, but parents can help with that.

Sitting down and brainstorm with your student about what they can talk about. A lot of times parents find it easier to toot their kids horn than they do. Parents can remind the student of an achievement they have that actually is impressive.


I understand that you now have a Scholarship System App. Is that just available to The Scholarship System members or is it available to everyone?

Yes! Earlier I said you can start building your list now. You can do that right in the app and the scholarship system app will actually send an alert two weeks before the deadline that you put in there. We tell our students that if you find a scholarship, but you have missed the deadline and will still be eligible next year, you can save it in the app and set the deadline a month out. It automatically populates the link, the dollar amount, the due date.

Start building your own personal data base. People log in and say, “It's empty.” That is the point. We purposely left it empty so that you can create your own personal data base of scholarships. The only scholarships that will be in there will be the ones that you personally added.

The App is completely free to anyone.


Anything that you would like to add?

With the course we have had a lot of success. A mother recently emailed me and her daughter got over $90,000 and she said that The Scholarship System was the best investment they have ever made for her education. It's so rewarding to see these families that now can completely avoid debt or having to borrow way less. This student was able to go to a school that was not even on the table unless she got scholarships. So that is what we offer the opportunity for: to completely eliminate or debt or at the very least reducing it if they just got $5000 a year, which is $20,000 over 4 years.


My Scholarship System Review

Is the scholarship system worth it? I thoroughly enjoyed interviewing Jocelyn. She is upbeat and fun. I was also allowed to review The Scholarship System. It is chock full of information, tips, worksheets, and timetables. It is a complete guide to winning scholarships. The Scholarship System also includes access to a private facebook group where you can interact with Jocelyn, her employees, and other families for even more help winning scholarships. She offers a FREE Webinar where she shares some of her most important college scholarship tips.

You can try going it alone with websites like fastweb, but the odds are not in your favor. If you join the Scholarship System, you will have a guide and support system to help you through the process.

I hope this post, The Scholarship System Review, has been helpful as you pursue scholarships. Jocelyn also has a great blog with other valuable information about college and paying for it.

You can also check out my post: The Complete Guide to Paying for College.


College Dorm Room Checklist

College Dorm Room Checklist

College Dorm Room Checklist



Getting ready to move to college can be scary and stressful, but shopping for the dorm room shouldn't be. I have compiled a complete College Dorm Room Checklist to assist you as you navigate the aisles of the super store or order online.

I have stocked three kids with items to go to college and each one (especially my daughter as compared to my sons) has ended up with slightly different items at school depending on their tastes and desires

Your student most likely won't need or want every item on the list, but the list will help you think about what they should bring.

And best of all, the list is printable!! The list is available in the Printables Library. You may sign up to access it below.


Also check out:

25 Dorm Room Ideas and Shopping Tips

Back to College: The Essential Guide

10 Dorm Room Items They Will Actually Use

Parent Survival Kit for College Move In

ultimate college dorm room checklist

College Dorm Room Checklist


This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar.  

Dorm Room Bed

Your bed is the most important part of your room. You will spend a lot of time there. It is not only where you will sleep, but most likely the most comfortable place to sit and hang out. It will be worth putting a good quality mattress topper and pad and good quality sheets on your college dorm room checklist.  I also recommend a headboard especially one with plug-ins to give you an easy place to charge your phone. 


dorm room ideas

Long Bedskirt for Lofted Beds

A long bedskirt hides the items you store under your bed and gives the room a more finished look. Dormify carries them in many different colors.

dorm headboard

Dorm Headboard

Headboards are a nice thing to have because they give you something soft to lean on. A powered headboard is even better because it gives you a place to plug in your phone at night.

Dorm Bathroom

The most important bathroom items for your college dorm room checklist are your towels and a shower caddy. Monogramming your towels is a nice way to know which ones are yours. You can also choose a favorite color or a color that matches your room. 

For your caddy, make sure it has holes in the bottom. You do not want it to fill with water while you are showering.

casabella shower caddy

Casabella Shower Tote

This Casabella Shower Tote is only $10.99. It is made from a flexible plastic, has holes in the bottom, and an integrated divider inside to help organize your toiletries.

Graduation gifts under $10

Clear Grid Shower Tote

One of my sons used this clear grid shower tote for more than 4 years – even after he moved into an apartment. It has holes in the bottom and is a good size for taking to the shower or storing toiletries on the counter or in a cabinet.


You closet is another super important part of your dorm room. It will help if you can get the measurements of the closet. Most have a shelf in the top above the closet rod. I used to include a double closet rod on my college dorm room checklist, but the feedback I hear is that they fall and clothes end up on the floor. 



hanging 60 pocket jewelry organizer

Hanging Jewelry Organizer

A hanging jewelry organizer is perfect if you have a LOT of jewelry. You can store tons of earrings, necklaces, bracelets and more in a super small amount of space with this hanging jewelry organizer.

shoe rack

Shoe Storage

You need to figure out how to store your shoes. This rack is one option. My daughter chose a large basket for her everyday shoes and a few shoe cubbies for her nicer shoes.

hanging organizer

Hanging Storage

A canvas storage hanger can be used for sweaters, purses, or other items.

acrylic desk set

Desk Top Organizers

Fun desk top organizers like this Russell + Hazel Acrylic Bloc Collection keep your desk clean and make it a peaceful place to study.


metal desk drawer organizers

Desk Drawer Organizers

Desk drawer space is at a premium. I love this set! I have it in my own desk.

Cleaning Supplies


Food Area

Fridge Cart

Fridge Cart

These Elfa Rolling Carts with Drawers are the best place to put a fridge. It hold the rented microfridge just fine. When we set up my daughter's room we initially did not have a cart, but went back to the Container Store to get one so she would have a place for her food. It saves floor space to have the micro fridge on top of a cart.

dorm room ideas

Coffee Station

Set up a coffee station with a coffee maker and pods. Bring a cute container and other accessories to make it a welcoming spot each morning.

Laundry backpack

Laundry Bag

This standup laundry bag is also a backpack so you can easily carry it down the hall to the washers or to the laundromat.

best gifts for college students 2019


A Steamer is a space saving option. This Rowenta steamer (which I use all the time instead of an iron) has a delicate and high setting. A steamer does not require a laundry board or an ironing pad.


  • Shelving unit
  • Underbed storage
  • Storage trunk
  • Storage Furniture (These Poppin box seats support 275 pounds and can be collapsed when not in use. Our daughter used hers as a step stool for her lofted bed.)
  • Drawer organizers
  • Makeup organizers
  • Over the door hooks (Great for jackets and coats)
  • Stacking drawers (I LOVE these modular drawers that can be configured to meet your exact storage needs.)
  • Elfa drawers (These are amazing, come in many sizes, can be customized and will last forever. We have had some of our Elfa units for over 20 years. They will go from your child's dorm room to their first apartment to their first place after graduation and beyond. They are also great for packing in.)
Poppin Seat

Poppin Storage Box

The Poppin Storage Box is another item we went BACK to the the Container Store to get after moving my daughter into the dorm. Why? She needed a step to get onto her lofted bed and if you are going to get a step, you may as well store something in it. (Those beds are up there…. She is 5'8″ and still needed a step stool.)

modular drawers

Modular Stacking Drawers

You will not be sorry you invested in these Modular Stacking Drawers. They are sturdy. The drawers slide well and they can be reconfigured for your apartment closet or any space you need them in. 

best gifts for teens 2019

Acrylic Makeup Organizer

Sadly, you will not have use of the entire bathroom counter and drawers in which to store your makeup. Real Acrylic (as opposed to cheap plastic) makeup organizers will last forever and give you a spot for your entire collection of makeup.

Health and Safety

  • The Best First Aid Kit
  • Prescription medications
  • Health Insurance card
  • Room safe (For jewelry, some prescription drugs, laptops, and other electronics that are easily stolen.)
  • Computer lock (There is a tremendous amount of “opportunity theft” on college campuses. No fun to walk away from a laptop for a second and turn around and it is gone.)
  • Surge protector (Fried electronics are not any fun either.)

To Make the Room Comfortable and Personal


Other Practical items

Absolute Must-Haves


dry erase board

Magnetic Dry Erase Board

Make sure you have a magnetic dry erase board and some fun markers!

foldy lock

Bike Lock

Get a sturdy steel bike lock like the Foldy Lock. One of our sons had a Foldy Lock. Someone tried to cut through it and GAVE UP!

The first goal of dorm shopping is to purchase just enough items to comfortably set up a dorm room, but not more than you need. The second goal is to purchase just enough storage items to organize the above items, but not more than you need. Print the College Dorm Room Checklist. Take it with you to the store or use it as you order online.

Some college websites give the exact dimensions of dorm rooms, closets, and any other furniture in the room. If you have this information, take advantage of it, and plan out the room. If not, work with whatever information you have knowing that you can always go to the store or order additional items after you arrive.

If you have taken a child to college, share your advice about what to take, what to leave at home, and how to store it all in the comment section below.

New Apartment Checklist

New Apartment Checklist

New Apartment Checklist



It's time to move out of the dorm and get an apartment!!! I have compiled a complete New Apartment Checklist to assist you as you navigate the aisles of IKEA, Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and order online. And best of all, the list is printable!! I have gone through stocking apartments with my sons and now my daughter will move into her first apartment this fall. They have lived in both furnished and unfurnished apartments. When we needed to furnish the apartments, we bought furniture from IKEA, Craig's List listings, Amazon, and the Container Store.

The New Apartment Checklist pdf is part of the Almost Empty Nest Member's Library. Sign up below!


Also check out:

College Apartment Kitchen Ideas

Back to College: The Essential Guide

First Apartment Care Package – A kitchen care package with recipes

New Apartment Care Package – A cleaning bucket with supplies and printable cleaning checklist

College Apartment Recipes

Adulting: 7 Expenses to Consider When You Enter the Real World

New Apartment Checklist 2

New Apartment Checklist

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive (at no additional cost to you) a small commission, which helps pay for this blog. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.


Here are some items to consider as you shop and gather items for your apartment. You will not necessarily need everything on this list, but the list will help you answer: What do you absolutely need for a new apartment?

New Apartment Checklist – Furniture

Some apartments will be completely furnished, some partially furnished, and some will not have any furniture all. IKEA and Craig's List are great places to get reasonably priced furniture.

  • Mattress: We have bought 2 of these mattresses. They are easy to ship, a great price, and are very comfortable.
  • Bedframe
  • Nightstand
  • Dresser
  • Desk
  • Desk Chair
  • Armoire (if there is not a closet)
  • Dining table and chairs and/or barstools
  • Couch
  • Chairs
  • TV
  • TV stand
  • Coffee table/end tables


New Apartment Checklist – Kitchen

  • Skillet
  • Sauce Pan
  • Mulitpot
  • Crockpot
  • Indoor Grill:  My sons have used their indoor grills more than any other appliance. It is an easy and quick way to grill chicken breasts, cook hamburgers, make grilled cheese sandwiches, etc.)
  • Airfryer: A great apartment cooking gadget. Great for heating frozen food to crispy perfection. It is also an easy place to cook one chicken breast. We love ours and my daughter wants one for her apartment.
  • A Cookbook like How to Cook Everything: The Basics
  • Mixing Bowls
  • Cutting Board
  • Measuring Cups and Spoons
  • Chef's Knife
  • Paring Knife
  • Cooking Utensil Set
  • Can Opener
  • Pot Holders or Mits
  • Cookie Sheet
  • Pizza Pan
  • Silverware
  • Drinking Glasses
  • Mugs
  • Plates
  • Bowls
  • Coffee Maker
  • Toaster
  • Microwave (Check to see if the apartment provides one.)
  • Paper Towel Holder
  • Strainer
  • Dish Soap
  • Dish brush or sponge
  • Dishwasher Detergent
  • Food Storage
  • Trash Can
  • Trash Bags

New Apartment Checklist – Living Room

  • Streaming device and/or antenna. What is this antenna thing you ask? Back in the dark ages, it was all we had. Now you can use one to watch network television without cable or a paid streaming service.
  • Lamps
  • Rug

New Apartment Checklist – Bedroom

(***Check the size of the bed if the apartment is furnished. Some are twin XL and some are full-size)

Ideas from the Container Store

New Apartment Checklist 3

These modular drawers can be used under sinks, under beds, or to create a drawer unit

New Apartment Checklist 4

This Turn-It Organizer is also great in a bathroom cabinet. It is a lazy susan, so you can access items easier.

New Apartment Checklist 5

My daughter and I love our real acrylic makeup organizers. They can be configured to exactly fit your needs.

New Apartment Checklist – Closet (If the closet is dorm sized….)

Ideas from the Container Store

New Apartment Checklist 8

Hanging Storage for sweaters, purses, and other items

New Apartment Checklist – Desk

Ideas from the Container Store

New Apartment Checklist 9
New Apartment Checklist 10
New Apartment Checklist 11

New Apartment Checklist – Cleaning Supplies

  • Vacuum
  • Bucket with cleaners and rags or sponges
  • Broom and dustpan
  • Swiffer


New Apartment Checklist – Storage Ideas

  • Shelving unit
  • Underbed storage
  • Storage Furniture (These Poppin box seats support 275 pounds and can be collapsed when not in use.)
  • Drawer organizers
  • Stacking drawers (I LOVE these modular drawers that can be configured to meet your exact storage needs. See 25 Dorm Room Ideas and Shopping Tips for a picture of my daughter's modular drawer set.)
  • Elfa drawers (These are amazing, come in many sizes, can be customized and will last forever. We have had some of our Elfa units for over 20 years. They will go from your child's dorm room to their first apartment to their first place after graduation and beyond. They are also great for packing in.)

Ideas from the Container Store

New Apartment Checklist 12
New Apartment Checklist 13
New Apartment Checklist 14

New Apartment Checklist – Health and Safety

New Apartment Checklist – To Make the Apartment Comfortable and Personal and other things you need for an apartment that you wouldn't think of


New Apartment Checklist – Other Practical items

New Apartment Checklist 15
New Apartment Checklist 16
New Apartment Checklist 17

The first goal of setting up an apartment is to purchase just enough items to make the apartment comfortable and functional, but not more than you need. The New Apartment Checklist. It is available in the Printables Library. Take it with you to the store or use it as you order online.

It can be helpful to have the dimensions of apartment rooms, closets, cabinets, and any furniture provided. If you have this information, take advantage of it, and plan out the room. If not, work with whatever information you have knowing that you can always go to the store or order additional items after you move in.


Best wishes as you and your child use the New Apartment Checklist and take on the adventure of a New Apartment.


New Apartment Checklist 18

Free Printable Apartment Checklist available in the Printables Library.

Sign up Below!

Graduation Brunch Ideas

Graduation Brunch Ideas

Graduation Brunch Ideas

Why have a graduation brunch? When we were planning a party for my daughter and her friend we realized the kids literally had parties scheduled all day long and evening for several weekends and days in a row. You need to coordinate all of these events so that they do not overlap (or don't overlap by much). A graduation brunch is a great idea because there are usually fewer graduates vying for this time. A brunch also gives opportunities for many fun graduation brunch menu ideas!

Read on for Graduation Brunch Ideas!

Graduation Brunch Ideas

Graduation Brunch Ideas 

This post contains affiliate links. If you click on a link and make a purchase, I will receive (at no additional cost to you) a small commission, which helps pay for this blog. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

minted graduation party invitation


The first thing you will need for a graduation brunch is invitations. These amazing invitations are from Minted. If you are giving a party for more than one graduate, have a picture taken of the honorees before creating the invitations or use a picture of them from their high school years.


clear frame with picture of girl on table at graduation brunch


We rented bistro tables for the kids to stand at while they ate their food. Use simple table decorations that do not take up the whole table. We chose pictures of the graduate in acrylic frames surrounded by confetti. Confetti is inexpensive and the frames can be reused. You can get a set of 5 acrylic frames for $39.95 on Amazon.

mother daughter in front of picture backdrop at graduation brunch


One of the best graduation brunch ideas is to have a fun photo backdrop. We ordered this beautiful backdrop on Etsy. You can find any style you would like and have it customized here. And yes, my daughter is really that much taller than I am!

graduation brunch buffet


The honorees celebrated their new schools with donuts decorated in the school colors – green and yellow for Baylor and red and white for Oklahoma. These were a HUGE hit. A friend of ours made the donut board, which we have loaned out on several occasions. If you live in Tulsa, feel free to come and borrow it 😉

We also had a virgin mimosa bar. Make cute tags and tie them on with twine. Our bottles came from Target, but you can order these pretty bottles on Amazon.

graduation brunch buffet


Fruit, breakfast burritos, pigs in a blanket, and mini yogurt cups and granola and other toppings rounded out the menu. We ordered the cute little yougurt cups from Amazon. 

jar with notes from attendees at a graduation brunch


We set out a jar and paper for the kids to write notes to the graduates. Also do not forget a gift table!!

corn hole game


Corn hole in the back yard was also a hit. We ordered corn hole bean bags in the girls' school colors.

A Graduation Brunch can be a wonderful solution to overlapping parties and other graduation festivities. I hope these Graduation Brunch Ideas help you in your planning. Be sure to savor the day and take lots of pictures!!

Top 5 College Preparation Books

Top 5 College Preparation Books

Top 5 College Preparation Books

Preparing for College is an exciting and sometimes anxiety inducing endeavor. There are tests to take and applications to complete, then there are dorm items to buy and roommates to find. It is comforting to know that others have tread these same paths and have taken the time to write about their experiences. Read my Top 5 College Preparation Books. 


For more College Preparation Help:

How to Complete Your FAFSA

College Preparation Checklist for High School Seniors

7 Summer Musts Before Senior Year

College Preparation Checklist for High School Juniors

The Planning for College Planner

10 College Application Tips

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Top 5 College Preparation Books

This post contains affiliate links, which means if you click on a link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. For more information, see the full disclosure in the foot bar. 

College Preparation Planner


College Preparation is hard enough without having to keep up with thousands of pieces of paper. The Planning for College Planner is one of the absolute best college preparation books. It gives the rising college student one place to record all of their high school information, research and evaluate colleges, and keep up with deadlines, applications, and letters of recommendation. This is the one book you need to take you from your freshman year of high school to your freshman year of college.

how to win scholarships


By: Monica Matthews

When Monica Matthews’s son was a senior in high school, she wondered if she would have to go back to work full time to pay for his college education. But before sending out her resume, she decided she would do everything in her power to help her son win enough scholarship money to pay for college.

She partnered with her son in the research and application process and he was awarded so much scholarship money that she and her husband paid NOTHING for his education. She has compiled her knowledge and experience into her book How to Win College Scholarships: A Guide for Parents in 10 Easy Steps.


College Bound by Melanie Studer


By: Melanie Studer

Melanie Studer is a teacher and mom who knows how to talk to teens. She knows that it is tough to get their attention and tough to keep them focused. In her book College Bound she breaks down the difficult topics into easy bite-sized conversations to have with your teen as they are going through high school. These conversations will help you and teen decide how to approach the college search and application process, as well as decide if college is the best option. Don't leave this college preparation book off your list!


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By Harlan Cohen

This book and it's companion, “For Parent's Only,” was first recommended to me by the Assistant Dean of my son's college. It is a hilarious and realistic look at college life. According to Amazon, it has been the #1 go-to guide for college life for over 10 years. This book makes a great graduation gift.

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fiske guide to colleges


While there is no shortage of online college search possibilities, sometimes there is no substitue for a book with the information all in one place. A College guide book gives you a place to highlight and put sticky tabs and easily compare information. The Fiske Guide to Colleges is another dog-eared, underlined, and highlighted book at our house. A new addition is released every July.

I now have two sons in college and my daughter is a junior in high school. These Top 5 College Preparation Books are the books we have used to help us navigate through the choppy waters of college prep.