Here's some advice from current grads on moving options, should you prefer not to use the classic method of throwing everything you own into an aging hatchback and driving cross-country:
"When I moved, I went by Amtrak and had them haul my stuff too. You have to have everything in 50 pounds (or less) boxes, but I think it cost only $200 to move 450 pounds of stuff from Boston, MA to Seattle, WA. Once at king station, you can use one of the mini-van taxis to haul your stuff. Another option, although more expensive, is to use a shipping container like the ReloCube or the Pod. You pack the container yourself and they haul it to your destination, and charge you a nominal fee to store it until you are ready to get your stuff."
"I agree that Amtrak is awesome for shipping across country. I shipped a few hundred pounds of stuff from Boston to Seattle, and my stuff arrived within a week, all in one piece, and for very cheap. I shipped some electronics and other more breakable things through UPS, and they were very helpful as well, but much more pricey.
My other main piece of advice is on the housing search. I decided to make a trip out to Seattle to look at places in person, and had originally bought plane tickets for mid-July. However, I was surprised to find that tenants in Seattle only have to give a couple week's notice to their landlord before moving out. This means that apartment openings tend to come on the market at the last minute, so the peak rental availability for the academic calendar is actually early August. I decided to change my trip to the first week in August, and I saw many apartments and ultimately found a place. It's kind of a scramble because all the other incoming students are looking for housing too, but I think it was worth waiting for more apartments to come on the market."
"When I moved here from Boston I ended up using UPS. If you send your boxes from a UPS store directly to another UPS store the rates are cheaper. I ended up contacting the UPS store in Wallingford and they were able to store my boxes for about a week while I traveled out here. I don't remember the price being exorbitant but it wasn't super cheap either. I do remember that the folks at the Wallingford UPS store were super nice about storing my boxes though."
"If you have a car and are able to get stuff to/from an Amtrak station, you can ship things on pallets for relatively cheap. They don't take furniture, but if it is mostly books, clothes, etc it is a really good way to go. I wasn't charged any extra money for the several days of storage at the station in Seattle. Their website doesn't have much information about the program, so its best to just call your local Amtrak station. I think it cost about $250 to ship a 500lb pallet from Milwaukee to Seattle."