Welcome To The Dorm IQ Learning Series | Start Here!

May 12, 2024

I only recommend products I do or would use myself and all opinions expressed are my own. I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you, for purchases made through the links in this post. PSA’s full privacy policy is here.

Dorm IQ Welcome Page start here index to all of Dorm IQ series

Welcome to Dorm IQ!

Dorm IQ is an exclusive educational series focused on dorm comfort, wellness, safety, and savings. This is a free learning series to help parents and students prepare for dorm life and dorm shopping while saving money and headaches along the way.

With 3 years of research, hands-on product testing, trend watching, price watching, and asking manufacturers endless questions, we’ve condensed our learnings and experiences into the Dorm IQ series.

Another great information source is the very active Dorm Shopping Facebook Group where members have been an incredible source of product feedback, design inspiration, and valuable insight into the VAST rules and regulations at colleges nationwide.

The objectives of this series are to:

  1. Proactively educate dorm shoppers
  2. Answer the most popular FAQ’s asked in the Facebook group
  3. Ensure you can find the best dorm products at the best prices

With college applications underway and decisions coming in, now is the time to start learning and planning for dorm shopping. The more you understand in advance, the less overwhelming AND expensive the dorm shopping process will be for you.

You are reading the welcome “module”.. As you reach the end of this page, you’ll see a link to go to the next topic. New topics will be released regularly throughout November and December until all 20+ topics have been covered.

First Things First: General Dorm Shopping Guidelines

Just reading the next few paragraphs will save you headaches, money and time, and each of the series’ topics will continue to add your Dorm IQ.

Don’t Start Too Early!

Every dorm is different these days. Different setups, layouts, bed sizes, bathroom types, laundry facilities, rules, restrictions and allowances. Until you know your dorm assignment, please hold off on shopping except for a subset of items that are useful and most likely allowed in any situation.

Also consider roommates and timing before shopping. You might decide with your roommate(s) to have a certain color scheme or find out that the roommate already has a great rug or mini-fridge.

Beware Products Marketed As “Dorm Room Essentials”

There is an unfortunate amount of low quality “dorm essentials” on the market, and a majority of these products are marketed by less reputable international manufacturers.

Common business practices of these overseas manufacturers with the funny names:

  • Heavily advertise to get their products to the top of the pile.
  • Buy positive reviews.
  • Put claims of certifications in their graphics rather than in the text of a listing. This is to avoid being caught by text readers trying to validate content. The good news is that validation technology can read graphics now, but it is a red flag if that is the only place you see it. More on the important certifications in future topics.
  • Hike up the ‘usual list price’ and then put a big SALE tag on it that looks exciting, but really just brings the price close to where it usually is.

In addition to these individual low-quality items, you’ll also encounter dorm bundles and dorm value sets. You may even get an email or a flyer from your college about these.

Sure these seem easy and less expensive, but the quality is LOW. The bedding is thin and not certified toxin-free. It’s all made overseas with various levels of quality control and questionable materials. These packages also tend to come with many pieces to make them seem like a bargain, but you won’t need or use many of the items. A 75-piece set for $299 sounds great, but please do your due diligence.

Be Cautious About Retailer Marketplaces

This caution is relevant no matter your shopping list! Dorm, home, gifts, clothes, shoes, electronics, etc.

Many of the common business practices mentioned above aren’t new, but you primarily saw them only at the one big online retailer where individual sellers create their own products and product listings.

Today, many other retailers have introduced marketplaces to their online shopping experiences including Target, Walmart, Home Depot, even Kohl’s. A marketplace means that the retailer opens up their e-commerce platform to 3rd party sellers and allows them to sell direct to the consumer. We don’t love this. These sellers don’t necessarily uphold the retailer’s more generous return or replacement policies or offer much, if any, customer service as you may be accustomed to with the primary retailer.

How will you know if there is a 3rd party seller? There should be an indication near the price that says something like “Sold By <Company Name>” or “Sold And Shipped By”. In some cases, if we know a company and their reputation, we may recommend these items, but for the most part, we will avoid recommending these products. We suggest you follow a similar approach.

The Dorm IQ Curriculum

This series launched in late 2023, and new topics will go live every few days.

Some of the topics you can expect are:

How Can I Follow The Dorm IQ Series?

While we intend to cover each topic comprehensively here on the website, you will no doubt have questions as you learn and as you start shopping! You can bring those questions to the Dorm Shopping Recommendations & Deal Alerts Facebook Community. The deal alerts will help you find the best times to buy too.

In addition to following on Facebook, we also recommend subscribing to our newsletter. You may think Facebook is enough, but their new algorithms are maddening and only show each post to a small subset of group members. To be sure you’re seeing all of the Dorm IQ content as well as key Deal Alerts, subscribe to our newsletter in the box below. You can opt out at any time, and we will never sell your data or information.

Share The Learning: Bring Your Fellow Class of 2024 FriendS Into The Know

This is the link to the main page for the Dorm IQ Series: https://positivelysquaredaway.com/category/Dorm-IQ/

Roommates! Definitely send this to your roommate(s) and have them join the Dorm Shopping group on Facebook or follow our Instagram page.

NEW in 2024! DormIQ just launched on TikTok (@dorm_IQ) with more student friendly content. Invite your friends and potential roommates to join you there.

Moms of Class of 2024 Students, you can copy this https://positivelysquaredaway.com/category/Dorm-IQ/ and

  • Send in a text message to send to friends.
  • Send in an email to friends.
  • Post it on your Facebook page.
  • Post it in a Facebook group for your high school or Class of 2024 group.
Dorm IQ an exclusive educational series focused on dorm comfort, wellness, safety, and savings.

Complete Dorm Room Essentials List
View Our Dorm Recommendations
Dorm Shopping Group Facebook Get Help Dorm Shopping
Join Our Dorm Shopping Facebook Group
Create Custom Pet Pillow All About Vibe Save 25%
Create Your Custom Pillow
The Important Legal Documents For 18 Year Olds
Be There In An Emergency
Personal Safety Alarm For Women
Carry Peace Of Mind Wherever You Go

Important Disclaimer: I am not a doctor, a lawyer or a financial advisor. Please use this content as informational only and as only one input as you consider what options are best for you and your family. This is not professional advice.

Get More PSA Helpfulness:

Complete Dorm Room Essentials List

The Complete Dorm Room Essentials Guide: A Shoppable List

Welcome to the most complete list of college dorm room essentials, must-haves and a whole bunch of nice to haves. You will find a very long list of things to consider below, but you only need a fraction of them. Because when it comes to setting up your dorm room, less...
Apple MacBook Sales and Deals 2024

MacBook Deal Tracking – Summer 2024

Rather than have multiple Facebook posts asking questions about when Macs go on sale and where this summer, I thought we could create one tracker to keep up with sales and offers. Be sure to bookmark this page so you can refer back regularly. 2 things to do before...
college apartment essentials guide with affordable highly-rated products for apartments

The Most Affordable Quality College Apartment Essentials | 2024 Guide

Welcome to the College Apartments Essentials Guide, a new addition to our family in 2024. After spending the past 2 years helping dorm shoppers find the highest-rated, non-toxic products at the best prices, we've brought our same testing and researching approaches to...
Memorial Day Deals For Dorms and College Apartments

Memorial Day Weekend 2024 | College Dorm & Apartment Deals

So many sales, it was easier to put them on a web page than try to organize in a Facebook post with no formatting! If you have your dorm assignment, here's what I'd be shopping this weekend. Please note that many deals can be set to expire after a certain number of...
Best Quick Dry Towel For Dorm and College

Dorm IQ #17 | The Best Quick Dry Towel For College and Dorm life

I see what you're doing. You're walking through Costco or Target picking up these big soft fluffy towels and imagining how much your daughter will love them at college. She probably would, but put them down! If your student is heading to a dorm or even a college...
Deciding on shared dorm items with roommates

Dorm IQ #16 | Planning Shared Dorm items With Your Roommate

As you start planning to share a room with a roommate (or more than 1), agree on a list of items that you will share. This is a list of things you will only need one of in your dorm room. Once you have that list of shared dorm items, I recommend that you split it up...


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Pin It on Pinterest