Your dorm room may be the key to your college experience.
From 4-person suites with private living/study areas and bathrooms to traditional 2-person rooms with community baths down the hall, every college offers a variety of options for your freshman year. Figuring out the best option for you can be difficult, especially if you’ve never lived with a roommate.
To make things even harder, every college is different. The atmosphere is dependent upon the attitude of the students around. Every person’s experience is going to be different.
Suite Style Dorms
Suite rooms are nice.
They give students way more space and privacy than other dorm styles. Plus, sharing a private bathroom with just 1-5 other students is way better than sharing with an entire hall.
But beware, it can be very difficult to meet people in suite style residence halls. Why? Because the privacy works against you. In my experience suite rooms can get very unsociable. The doors in my hall were almost always kept shut, and students hardly ever spent time in the community study or recreational rooms.
The task of getting everyone together falls on the shoulders of the Resident Advisors. If they do their jobs well than you may actually meet everyone on your floor, but if they don’t successfully lure everyone out, closed doors and unknown neighbors may become an everyday thing.
Community Style Dorms
Single rooms with 2-4 students and a community bathroom down that hall create a very different lifestyle than suite rooms.
Meeting people is hardly ever a problem, because you’ll run into students everywhere. You’ll meet people while you stand in the hall waiting for the bathroom, and even while your just chilling in your room with the door open.
So, while you may be a lot more cramped for space and desperate for a moment alone, you will make friends in your community dorm. There’s always something to do.
Although I’ve never had experience with private rooms, like those found in Central Florida’s Tower dorms, I imagine they’re ideal for upperclassmen. Privacy when you need it, and friends when you don’t; sounds like the perfect living situation. You’re right there on campus, but you have your own apartment.
If you’re dedicated to your studies and you want to ensure every opportunity to participate in unique activities (that’ll really build-up your resume) the honors dorms are probably the best opportunity for your freshman year. They’re designed to encourage interaction with other students, and you’ll get to know a variety of students with many different interests and majors.
Every college has at least one: one dorm that is teeming with young freshman, eager to enjoy their new college lifestyle. Parties are an every day occurrence in these dorms, and there is always something to do and someone to do it with.
The majority of freshman dorms are community style dorms, and a lot of freshman dorms, like Penn State’s East Halls are rumored to be the worst on campus (especially if you like to sleep at night). But if you’re looking for the traditional college experience, the one your parents talk about and movies frequently portray, than the freshman dorms are the perfect residence hall for you. You’ll meet everyone and experience everything.
Another option is living in a dorm in which you are paired with students who share the same major or interests as you. I remember thinking this was a lame idea in high school. I thought it was silly to live only with people in my major, but experience has taught me otherwise.
Learning communities really do give students the best opportunity to meet others and make friends. You’re sure to find something in common with many of the other students in your dorm and you may even share several classes. Which makes it easier for you to fit in.