Don't forget the electronics and organizers.
Beyond the obvious bed and bath basics, what are the real necessities that 2011 college freshmen can't live without?
Electronics: Bring power strips, surge protectors, extension cords, headphones, flash drives, laptop sleeves and docking stations. But having your own laptop computer is probably the only critical item. Most students either share a printer with their roommate or have printing accounts that provide them with more than enough copies for the year.
Organizers: You can buy bed lifts that attach to the legs of the bed to raise it 5 inches, enough for under-bed storage boxes. Storage carts on wheels are easier to move into the dorm and offer flexibility to redecorate the room as needed. Hanging shelf organizers in the closet for shoes and sweaters minimize clutter. Over-the-door hooks and decorative wall hooks are a great way to clean up a room. A bedside caddy can keep a drink, headphones and tissues nearby.
Security: Miniature safes are designed for dormitory use. Since so many students wander around their floors and frequently don't lock or close their doors, having a safe to store valuables is a smart idea. A nightlight will come in handy, too.
Health: Don't forget medications, and make arrangements to transfer prescriptions to a pharmacy near the dorm. Keep the room clean and smelling nice with a hand vacuum, air fresheners, wipes, hand sanitizer and more.
CHARLOTTE OBSERVERCoping with copycats
Your 10-year-old is becoming a clone of her BFF -- same clothing, same mannerisms, same hobbies. Is this normal?
Yes, says clinical psychologis Roni Cohen-Sandler, author of "Trust Me, Mom -- Everyone Else Is Going!" It's simply an "extremely normal, extremely common" part of growing up, she says.
"One of the ways young people, especially girls, try to figure out who they are is by comparing themselves and trying to be like other people, especially their closest friends," she adds.
It doesn't mean your daughter won't find -- and honor -- her own path.
"You try on their personality, their hobbies, their point of view, their interests and only by adopting them as your own can you figure out if they resonate with you or not," Cohen-Sandler says.