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Move-in day at Virginia's largest university

Thursday - 8/23/2012, 9:01pm  ET

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Parents help their kids move in at George Mason University (WTOP/Hank Silverberg)

Hank Silverberg, wtop.com

FAIRFAX, Va - Across the country this week, freshman are heading off to college. And on Thursday, it was move-in day at George Mason University in Fairfax, now Virginia's largest four year university.

Twenty-five hundred freshman are expected to move into the university's recently renovated President's Park over the weekend, with dorms named after Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy and other presidents. The school says once they have a clear count of enrolling students, this year's class could be the largest the university has ever welcomed.

Among them was Zander Bartholomew of Fredericksburg. His parents' car was stuffed with clothes, hangers, a refrigerator and what he called his most important possesion: his computer

"I'm anxious to move to the next stage of my life, get out of my parents house and all those other fun things."

Bartholomew is going to study computer engineering because he says, "that's where the money is."

Christina Bartholomew, Zander's mother and GMU alum, didn't expect to cry when she drove off and left her son.

"He left me quite a mess in his room to clean up, so I imagine I will tackle that first," she said, as her car was swarmed by upper class students and staff there to help the freshman unload.

Across the other side of President's Park was 18-year-old Melanie Hinton from Richmond.

She was philosophical about leaving her parents.

"They're my best friends, and my dad was always there with me so I'm gonna be a little sad," she said. "But I'm excited, so bye bye parents."

Her father, James Hinton, says he hopes she makes the right decisions while in school. Her mother had one piece of advice as they packed the car before leaving Richmond.

"Don't forget your absentee ballot," she said, in reference to the upcoming presidential election.

GMU now has 33,000 students, making it the largest university in Virginia's public system. Six thousand of them live on campus.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)