Are there any special tools needed to raise and lower the beds in the dorms? If so should I bring bring them with me, are they available for rent at RPI? Also, is there a best time to arrive, or does it not really matter?

You probably need to rent a loft if you want to raise the bed to a bucked bed height. If you only wants to lift it a bit for some storage, I don’t think you need any special tools. You can arrive anytime you want actually. If you want to get there before your roomates to raise the bed, you can coordinate with them.