Welcome to College Confidential!

The leading college-bound community on the web

Sign Up For Free

Join for FREE, and start talking with other members, weighing in on community polls, and more.

Also, by registering and logging in you'll see fewer ads and pesky welcome messages (like this one!)

As a CC member, you can:

PizzagirlPizzagirl Posts: 26,730Registered User Senior Member
edited August 2007 in Northwestern University
I recognize that there's a wide variety of dorms / res colls at NU, ranging from the older standbys of Bobb-McCulloch, Allison, Shepard, Sargent, Elder and Willard, to the small places like N & S Mid-Quads, to the newer places like Slivka and Kemper. However, probably excluding Slivka and Kemper from the equation and focusing on the majority of the dorms, which are older stock, how do NU dorms generally compare to peer schools? (By peer schools, I simply mean elite, selective colleges - LAC's or universities.) Since many of you have visited other colleges recently, can you give me a sense? Are NU's dorms worse than average, better than average, just average? How would you compare the furnishings and maintenance? I'm thinking about the physical plant of the dorms themselves, not the location (e.g., on the lakefront, in the middle of frat / sorority quad, etc.). Thanks.

Also, can someone who is there explain what's going on with the Sigma Nu house? It looks abandoned. What is NU going to do with it?
Post edited by Pizzagirl on

Replies to: Dorms

  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Posts: 26,730Registered User Senior Member
    Bump! (1o Char)
  • bver100bver100 Posts: 505Registered User Member
    i haven't exactly been into many other dorms (since as you said, they do range depending on how new the buildling is) but why don't you check out the college visits site? i think they have some info on dorms
  • mw05mw05 Posts: 177Registered User Junior Member
    from my perspective, the dorms are pretty average. the dorms at depaul are fabulous, but other than that, there is nothing that distinguishes the NU dorms in any direction from the other colleges i've visited friends at (granted, none of my friends go to what are probably considered Northwestern's "peer schools")
  • juliusmonkyjuliusmonky Posts: 620Registered User Member
    as someone who gives tours and deals with this issue on a daily basis, dorms are not our strong point. i can't fathom why NU, with its massive endowment and push to climb the rankings, is putting so much $$ into science buildings/athletic stuff but completely ignoring where students spend the bulk of their time: dorms/student center/library.

    with that said, they're fine. some are nicer than others, some have biggers rooms, it's all luck of the draw your freshman year. i really don't think it should be a deciding factor, unless they're unbearable, which they certainly aren't. but when you go from dorms at WashU and then come to NU, it's a bit of a disappointment.
  • kk19131kk19131 Posts: 2,233Registered User Senior Member
    "i can't fathom why NU, with its massive endowment and push to climb the rankings, is putting so much $$ into science buildings/athletic stuff but completely ignoring where students spend the bulk of their time: dorms/student center/library."

    -Endowments are often restricted, thus, if Northwestern has a lot of endowed money for science buildings and such then it pretty much has to build those things - the school can't just spend endowed funds as it sees fit.

    Also, Evanston limits how much construction Northwestern can actually do - naming certain buildings "historic", attempting to block Northwestern's buying new property, etc.

    President Bienen said that he believes one of the first tasks for the new president will be to create new res halls. This, however, brings many logistical problems for the university.

    As far as the student center goes, the school is working on that also - the lack of a real "student center" is often sighted as one of the weakest points of university life.
  • PizzagirlPizzagirl Posts: 26,730Registered User Senior Member
    Doesn't Norris qualify as a student center? I'm showing my age here. What other features should a student center have, IYO? What do other colleges do to create that central gathering place that (apparently) Norris isn't serving?
  • lilybbloomlilybbloom Posts: 986Registered User Member
    Norris *is* the student center, but most people here complain that it doesn't have a truly cohesive nature that other schools' student unions have. There aren't many dining options, for example, and not much else to do besides visit the bookstore or starbucks. Furthermore, the location sucks, because it's at the easternmost point of campus, as opposed to in the *middle*, where a student union should typically be.
  • zoomerszoomers Posts: 87Registered User Junior Member
    I did notice that dorms were left out of our tour. Not a good sign and I agree that this is not as it should be. It's kind of disrespectful to the students if you ask me.
  • juliusmonkyjuliusmonky Posts: 620Registered User Member
    Touche, kk.

    Also, Norris is just plain unattractive, with the exception of Starbucks.
  • arbiter213arbiter213 Posts: 3,572Registered User Senior Member
    zoomers- I toured almost all of the schools at NU's ranking or higher, and I must say, the only one to show dorms was Harvard (whose dorms are lovely). (As an aside, Fordham also showed their dorms, and it was at that point I left the tour group...)

    I think the reason NU doesn't show the dorms is because they vary so radically from one to the next that showing any one would be disingenuous.
  • dfleishdfleish Posts: 905Registered User Member
    I was more than satisfied living in Willard for 2 years and I had a ginormous room my sophomore year. To each his own, I guess.
  • Sam LeeSam Lee Posts: 9,449Registered User Senior Member
    Norris *is* the student center, but most people here complain that it doesn't have a truly cohesive nature that other schools' student unions have. There aren't many dining options, for example, and not much else to do besides visit the bookstore or starbucks. Furthermore, the location sucks, because it's at the easternmost point of campus, as opposed to in the *middle*, where a student union should typically be.

    Norris was nice when it's compared to Stanford's Tresidder. http://daily.stanford.edu/article/2004/1/29/remodeledTresidderGetsFourStars
    Just right after I left, Stanford renovated it but apparently, it's still not "an ideal student union". So NU isn't the worst. But I know schools like Wisconsin have better ones than NU does.
  • mw05mw05 Posts: 177Registered User Junior Member
    You can't really compare other student union's to Wisconsin's, it's just not fair. Their alumni association (I believe) owns the building, and thus it is able to contain what is said to be one of the country's largest beer gardens. On weekend nights, there are bands playing and a dance floor. It's quite a spectacle to behold.

    Northwestern's student union could benefit from an upgrade, but that being said, it's not all that bad. There are some pretty good meal options--a decent sushi bar, a crepe place, a Sbarro Pizza, a stir-fry, salads, a grill, a sandwich counter, a Starbucks, etc. There aren't a lot of chains, if that's what you're looking for. I think the main problem is the awkward location, but honestly, I don't think I'd be spending a whole lot of time in a student center no matter where I went to school. It's a lot more natural to hang out in your dorm
Sign In or Register to comment.