Incoming families: Drop-off day FAQ

Drop off day for most Class of 2026 students is Wednesday, August 31. Below are answers to the questions we hear most about drop-off. If you have a question that isn’t covered below, please reach out to us at

Early arrivals
Drop-off schedule
Health protocols
Insider family tips
Family orientation sessions

Early arrivals

My student is part of an athletic team. What is their drop-off schedule?

Some teams have early arrival. Your student-athlete should have all details from their coach about their specific arrival date and the schedule once they get to campus. Not all teams have early arrival, so make sure you check before heading to Bates!

I have an international student. What about their arrival?

International students have received outreach from Dean James Reese of the International Student Programs. Dean Reese is their best point of contact for arrival – which is generally August 28 for international students – and orientation as well as for questions about recesses/breaks

If you or your international student have last-minute questions about visas and arrival, please reach out to Shelley Palmer.

My student signed up to be part of the Bobcat First cohort. What is their arrival process?

Bobcat First is an opt-in cohort for first-generation-to-college students, and eligible students received outreach this summer from the Bobcat First team. For those Bobcat First members who wish to arrive early, they have received information about their August 27 arrival and orientation and should reach out to Dr. Ray Grant with questions.


My student is flying in. How do they get from the airport to campus?

This resource will help you identify options.

What is the schedule for drop-off day on Wednesday, August 31?

You can find the full day’s schedule here. Note that your student does not need to sign up for a specific arrival time; they may arrive any time between 8 am and noon. 

Check in will not begin before 8 am, so no need to rush. Savor that last breakfast together before arrival!

What should we do when we arrive?

When you get to campus, you will follow these steps:

  • Drop your new student at Commons (136 Central Avenue) where they will check in and receive their residence hall key and campus ID. Students go through this part of the process themselves.
  • While that happens, you will proceed in your vehicle to your student’s residence hall with the student’s belongings.
  • After your student gets their key and ID at Commons, they will walk to their residence to meet you.
  • At the residence, staff and returning student volunteers will help families unpack your vehicle and take student belongings to rooms. You will help by dropping items at the curb.
  • Once your car is unloaded, you will need to immediately head to a nearby parking area to make room for other arriving students. You’ll rejoin your student to help settle them into their room.
  • You can find the campus map here, and we will also have campus maps on hand that clearly show the locations of residence halls and available parking.

This process helps move-in go smoothly and quickly for everyone, so thanks for your help!

Can family members go inside residence halls?

Yes, family members are permitted inside, and we ask you to follow these protocols. Please be mindful of the fact that there will be lots of visitors and try to limit your time in the residences. 

It sounds like move-in goes quickly. What do we do after our student is set in their room?

Some families take time to walk around campus, to explore Lewiston, or to make a supply run to Walmart, the supermarket, or Target.

Schedule highlights for families in particular include: 

  • BBQ lunch for incoming students and their families/support teams in front of Commons from 10:30 am to 2:30 pm
  • Parent Giving and Engagement Welcome Table under the Library Arcade from 12:30-2:30 pm. We’d love to say hello!
  • President’s Welcome on the Historic Quad at 3 pm. This is a nice moment for new students and their families to gather at the end of drop-off day.
  • All families should plan to depart campus by 4:30 pm.

Health protocols

Does my student need to take a COVID-19 test prior to heading to Bates?

Yes! Your student has received detailed instructions about pre-arrival COVID-19 testing and about what to do in the event they test positive. Please remind your students to follow this process carefully so that the campus community can begin the year in as healthy a position as possible.

What are the current campus visitor health protocols?

You can find visitor protocols here. It’s always a good idea to check them any time you head to campus for a visit.

Insider family info

As we’ve hosted our summer virtual and in-person welcome series, we’ve gathered up some of the top hints from current families on getting ready for Bates and supporting your student. Some of the best insider info is below!

  • “I know lots of folks worry about winter coats and boots, but it’s actually nice to have a fan for the first few weeks.”
  • “Surge protectors, extra-long phone chargers, and LED lights are all really great to have on hand.”
  • “Most winter boots will work fine for your student, since the college keeps paths clear. We’ve found that the secret isn’t which boots to buy but to get some wool socks. Those have been the real key to keeping feet warm and dry.”
  • “Our student loved having a boot tray so she and her roommate could keep wet or muddy shoes, sneakers, or boots right by the door.”
  • “My student was a first-year in the first year of the pandemic. He was told to arrive only with what he would be able to easily pack up and bring home himself if the college needed to pivot. Thank goodness, they didn’t need to come home, but this packing advice meant he had exactly what he needed without any extra. He’s actually packed this same way every time he’s headed to campus.”
  • “If you need to book plane tickets for your student for school breaks, have them check their exam schedule as soon as their class schedule is set. I recently found out that those get posted to Garnet Gateway, and it really helps with planning.”

Family orientation sessions

After drop-off, what’s next for families? 

Once classes begin, we will hold a series of incoming family orientation webinars designed to help you support your students as they navigate life at Bates. These events feature panelists from across campus who will provide an overview of the many resources in place to support your students in their first year and beyond.

Academics at Bates – Thursday, Sept. 8 at 8 pm Eastern
Life Outside the Classroom – Tuesday, Sept 13 at 8 pm Eastern
Supporting Your Student’s Well-being – Tuesday, Sept. 20 at 8 pm Eastern

You will receive invitations to these webinars via email. All sessions will be recorded and shared with Class of 2026 parents/guardians via email 48-72 hours after each session concludes. 

If you have not been receiving our updates or event invitations, please check with to make sure we have your contact information so you don’t miss out on these resources.