Living on campus can be a very different experience at different universities. As a student at a smaller college, the options to choose a dorm are there, but not endless. I have roughly five dorms to choose from. Here is a surprise, just because the dorms are part of the same college does not mean they are all created equal.
Even after living in a dorm for one week, it can be easy to tell some of the quirks of it and other dorms around it. I live in a dorm that is the residential “sorority for a college without sororities”. My friend lives in one of the “old, ghost filled, party dorms” and yet another friend lives in the “all girls, quiet, friendly dorm”.
Each dorm has its negatives and, thankfully, positives too. How you feel about a dorm can also vary drastically based on the type of person you are, too. My “Sorority” dorm is definitely not my vibe. I fit in with the more dirty, musty, party dorm my friend lives in. And no, I will tell you, as I have told my mom, it is not because I love partying. It is just when I walk into the dorm to visit my friend, the smell of stains from the 1970’s and the creaking pipes bring a sense of home to me. For my friend, she believes the old dorm is perfect too.
My other friend in the all girls dorm has fallen in love with her own dorm. When I walk in? I’m filled with the fear and dread of seeing only girls, who walk around as quietly as possible, being the nicest of nice. Sounds perfect, right? It is for my friend, but it’s my worst nightmare.
This is why I tell you, sometimes it’s less about what the dorm looks like and more about your personality. Here is some ways to help make the process of choosing your dorm easier.
How To Choose A Dorm That’s Right For You
1. Co-Ed or one gender?
Co-Ed does not mean you will have a roommate of the opposite sex (even though I told my grandma I have one to give her a mild heart attack…sorry). Or that you’ll be sharing a bathroom and showers with them. But if you sign up for a co ed dorm, you have to be comfortable sharing laundry, study and common rooms with the opposite sex.
2. What amenities do you want to be next to?
Even on a campus as small as mine, where you live makes a big difference. I live on the far end of the campus, next to the gym. My friends live on the opposite side of the campus, near the food, academic halls and well, society. I struggle taking the ten minute walk every morning to my classes. If you want to be close to everything, make sure to look up a map of the school and look at dorms closest to food and classes. Or, if you’re a huge gym rat, maybe where I live would be perfect for you, just two seconds away from a treadmill or Zumba class.
3. Old or New?
No matter how hard your school tries to maintain facilities, it is easy to spot a new building from an old one. If you can live with a broken heater or an AC that blasts too much, an older dorm building could be the fit for you. If you hate anything that’s broken and can’t survive a shower that hasn’t been updated since 1653, maybe a newer building is better for you. (Be warned, the newer the building the more competitive it is to get into. Don’t get your hopes up about getting into the dorm that was built just a year ago, especially if you’re a freshman.)
4. What Atmosphere do You Want?
I know, a broad question. But it makes a huge difference. If you can’t visit each dorm hall of a college in person, go online and do some research. Is the hall known for the wild partying even after quiet hours, or for community service the hall provides each year? A hall may not completely match your personality but there may be one close enough that it will feel close to home.
Dorm halls are where many college students sleep, procrastinate, hang out with friends, and tell their moms they are “studying” in. With enough research and forethought, getting into the right one can be somewhat easy. And don’t worry, if you get there and realize it’s worse than hell on earth, the hall directors are willing to work with you. You can transfer to a new floor or even a new building and quickly too. Go out there, do your research and go wild.