Deciding Where to Live

category icon Posted in General

You may have already decided on housing by now, but by this time last year I didn’t even know where I was going to college, and I was very lucky to have been placed in a dorm I liked given that I applied for housing in June. Also, it’s important to think about your options for next year, which can be overwhelming to take in, so I’ve compiled a list of what are, in my humble opinion, the benefits and downfalls of each living situation. ¬†To be clear, freshmen don’t get to pick the Residence Hall, but do get to pick the living learning community they live in. ¬†However, from sophomore year onwards you can pick your dorm, so I’ve included some information about each dorm so you know for next year as well.

University Apartments
Pros: It’s a smoother transition into apartment life as opposed to off-campus housing, and if you have multiple groups of friends who want to live together it might be easier to get rooms together (but keep in mind that you can “shop and swap” rooms with other students after your first year).
Cons: University apartments are significantly more expensive than the dorms, and living in an apartment is no small task. It’s also a lottery to get into so there’s no guarantee that you’ll get the apartment or room that you want.

Cattlet Residence Hall
Pros: It’s going to have its own dining hall, fitness center, and kitchen! Since this is a brand new dorm, everything will presumably be extra nice, and it’s pretty connected to major hubs on campus, being right in between the East and West side of campus.
Cons: It will probably be the most expensive dorm since it’s so new.

Daum Residence Hall
Pros: It’s connected to the dining Hall and the Blank Honors Center. I love living in Daum because I’ve met all of by best friends here, and it’s easy for all of us to hang out in the basement. There are also a lot of cool Honors events that happen during the week, although I presume that every living learning community has some version of this (more on that later).
Cons: Daum is limited to freshmen in the Honors program.

Mayflower Residence Hall
Pros: It has its own kitchen, and it’s right next to the boat house and pretty close to Hancher, the main auditorium.
Cons: Mayflower is on the far east side of campus, and there isn’t a dining hall in it. This would be one of my last choices just because it’s so far from the rest of campus, but there is a shuttle specifically for Mayflower.

Hillcrest/Peterson/Slater Residence Hall
Pros: Generally known as nice residence halls, and in close proximity to the main rec center and the library. These halls are also the closest distance to Kinnick and Carver Stadium, the learning center for athletes, and the hospital for those of you who want to do volunteer work.
Cons: It will be a little bit of a walk to most of your classes. Also a little bit more expensive than some other dorms.

Pros: All of these options will be very close to your classes. They’re on the cheaper side as far as dorms go, and they’re right by all of the places that are connected to/near Daum. Plus, Currier has its own (small) rec center.
Cons: These are all older dorms, so they’re not as nice as some of the other ones.

Off-Campus Housing
Pros: You can find cheaper rates than University housing, and if you have an off-campus job than it could be very convenient. There are also shuttle buses that will take you to campus throughout the day in most cases.
Cons: It’s a lot of responsibility. The nice thing about dorms is that you never have to think about cleaning a toilet or doing the dishes, but you have to work all of that out with your roommates with an apartment, which can be a lot to take on when you have a busy schedule. Also, beware of sketchy landlords. Send your contract in to student legal services before signing, because you don’t want to run the risk of missing something in the fine print.

That’s all I have for now. On a side note, I mentioned living learning communities, or LLC’s earlier, and those are basically floors of halls where everyone has similar interests, like Honors or film or the environment. There supposed to put on events from time to time, but I think the important thing to keep in mind with that are the types of people you like to be with. I like living in honors because there’s a blend of STEM and humanities majors, and there are dedicated and similarly ambitious people in it.