Move-In fall 2021 primer

Penn Today offers a practical guide to undergraduates preparing to move into College Housing between Aug. 23 and 29.

unloading cars on spruce street during move-in
During Spring 2021 Move-In, rising sophomore Carmen-Kay Harrison Montoya, (right) from Houston, and her mother, Edith Harrison Montoya, wrangle suitcases before heading to Riepe College House in the historic Quadrangle.

The University of Pennsylvania is making final preparations for Fall 2021 undergraduate Move-In, which in a first, includes both a First-Year and Second-Year Move-In. Between Aug. 23 and 29, nearly 6,000 undergraduates, including 2,425 members of the Class of 2025 and 2,282 second-year students will be moving into Campus Housing.

Move-In logistics include Gateway testing and other health and safety protocols, including being vaccinated against COVID-19 and masking. More than 225 volunteers and staff working with New Student Orientation and Residential Services will be on hand to assist and there are a variety of activities to welcome students and guests. In addition to those on hand to help with logistics, families and students can enjoy live music and samples of Philly favorites such as Tastykakes, pretzels, and water ice. Visit Philadelphia will also be on hand to provide information about the City and the region and will host a selfie booth. Other activities include walking tours, College House meetings and activities, and a President and Provost Family Welcome.

While Move-In is always new to first-year students, for many second years it will also be their first time living on campus and their first fall on campus after a mostly virtual experience last spring. For all, Move-in is a busy exciting time. Penn Today has gathered a few tips to help guide students and guests through the process:

  • Before arriving on campus, students must upload proof of vaccination in their Student Health Portal (instructions for existing studentsinstructions for new students.) Any student who is not fully vaccinated or has not recorded their vaccination status in the Student Health Portal is required to participate in twice-a-week COVID-19 screening testing until fully vaccinated.
  • Students who do not submit their COVID-19 vaccine information will not be able to check into their College House. Access will be reinstated 48 hours after they submit their information. If they are not fully vaccinated upon arrival to campus, they should email Wellness at Penn ( to schedule their vaccine as soon as possible.
  • Review the University’s Public Health Guidance requirements and the College Houses & Academic Services policies.
  • Students may have guests to assist them during Move-In. These guests need to activate a guest pass via a mobile device. This person needs to be registered via Guest Pass through the Residential and Housing Services (RHS) portal before arriving on campus. Guests must have a photo ID and mobile guest pass in order to enter the College House with the student. 
  • Thirty minutes before arriving on campus, students should use Mobile check in to begin the Move-In process. Step one takes five minutes to complete. Mobile check-in will occur on the RHS Portal. The mobile check-in tool will ask students to login using their PennKey and Password and answer simple verification questions. As soon as you check in via the mobile process, you will have officially taken residency of your room assignment and our standard Terms & Conditions apply.
  • Plan ahead and be on time. If you need to change your Move-In time, you may do so via  MyHomeAtPenn.
  • For those coming by car, free street parking at the allocated Move-In time and location will offered for up to one hour as time to unload. After that hour, you can take your car to one of the designated parking garages on campus for complimentary lot parking for the remainder of the day.
  • Move-In drop off locations will have staff available to assist and answer questions. Additional staff will be available at information stations inside the College Houses. Students may also email with questions.
  • Everyone involved in Move-In must be masked indoors and practice COVID-19 public safety guidelines. Some of these guidelines include masking, getting vaccinated, testing, and taking personal precautions, like washing hands, to keep the campus community safe.
  • Upon arrival at the College House, students will check-in and pick up their PennCard.
  • Once the student has their PennCard and has moved their possessions into the College House, they should then go to their scheduled COVID-19 Gateway (or day of arrival) test. If the student has not scheduled their Gateway test, they can do so here: Guests are not permitted into the testing sites.
  • Students and guest can also find up-to-the-minute information available on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.