College Housing Options
Learn About Your Housing Options
Most likely, you'll live in a dorm your first year(s) of college. Many colleges require it. Even if your school allows the option of living off-campus, it's a good idea to live in the dorms for at least a year.
The dorms can help jump start your social life, ease the transition to life on your own, and introduce you to a diverse group of people. Sure, living in a dorm can have its drawbacks -- no privacy, crowded bathrooms, weird roommates. But most people find that the rewards outweigh the frustrations.
Types of dorms
In the summer before your first year at college, you may be asked if you want to live in a special dorm or on a special floor. Every school has different housing options, but here are some of the most common:
- Single-sex dorms: Some colleges require all first-year students to live in a single-sex dorm. These types of dorms may have restrictions concerning guests of the opposite sex.
- Chemical- or substance-free dorms: These dorms prohibit smoking, drinking, and drugs. If this jibes with your lifestyle choices, you should consider living in one. The upside to substance-free dorms is that you don't have to worry about your roommate throwing a "kegger." However, be aware that the penalties for getting caught with alcohol or drugs in these dorms may be harsh.
- Special-interest or "theme" housing: At these dorms, you'll meet students who share your interests. For example, there may be a dorm for international students or music majors. One risk is that you may miss out on meeting a more diverse group of people.
Types of rooms
Most dorm housing consists of either a room off a hallway, or a suite with one or more bedrooms and a living room. In most cases, you'll be sharing a bathroom with many other people on your floor or hallway. The bathrooms may be single-sex or coed.
- Singles: It's pretty rare to get a single as a first-year student. Having a single has its obvious perks, but there are some negatives as well. A roommate can be a welcome companion, especially those first few weeks. Plus, in a single you'll have to foot all the expenses.
- Doubles: A double -- sharing a bedroom with one other person -- is by far the most common setup at most schools. You and your roommate can decide how to set up the room. Bunk beds may give you some extra space.
- Suites: This is a nice option if you can get it. Suites usually consist of a couple of bedrooms and some kind of shared living space. For instance, a quad (four people) might be made up of two double bedrooms and one common room. You get the best of both worlds with this option; you can go into your bedroom to sleep, while your roommate studies or talks on the phone in the common room.
Reprinted with the permission of White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanic Americans
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