I honestly think the most important thing is getting a good roommate. Pay close attention to filling out the form for potential roommates so that you hopefully find someone you are comfortable with. There are also some other common themed dorms not mentioned above (for example, the cinema floor, etc.) so that if you are looking for like minded students with common interests, you might want to aim for one of those dorms.
Yeah though the roommate thing's really a crap shoot. Hopefully you get good roomies o_O
I have pretty amazing roomies right now because they aren't here most of the time ROFL. I have a triple, lived by myself last semester. This year one of my roomates moved in but she's only here half the time and the other one still hasn't moved in (She checks her mail and leaves) her stuff isn't even here it's pretty amazing.
New/North - Most social, party dorms.
Birnkrant - Next to Leavey Library. A good balance between fun & studying. Close to EVK.
Trojan - Small and old, gets REALLY hot.
Marks Hall - Big study lounge, old.
Marks Tower - Leans a little more to fun.
Pardee - Social, but not AS social as New/North.
Parkside Arts & Humanities - Suites, common room, two bathrooms, A/C, Close to Parkside Restaurant! Far from everyone else though.
Parkside IRC - Suites, DOES NOT have a common room, a bit smaller than Arts & Humanities, in front of Parkside Restaurant. Far from everyone else though.
New information this year for Marks and Trojan Halls
Marks Hall just had all of it's bathrooms and showers redone, and has a new water heating system, so that is all much nicer. It just got new furniture for the lounges, and has a flat screen TV in the lounge. It also now has real exercise equipment in the basement- treadmills, bike machines, elliptical machines, and a weight machine. All have tvs attached.
Trojan Hall also has new lounge furniture and a flat screen TV with DVD player. Residents also have access to the Marks Hall exercise room.
In my usual defense of the Deans' Halls, they really aren't as anti-social as people portray them to be. They just aren't as social in the realm of partying while in the hall. You can almost always manage to study in your room in these buildings, while in New/North you will need to go to the library. People do tons of other social things- movies, exploring LA, etc. They just don't tend to party in the halls every night.
That would be the Honor's House meal plan (which I believe is vegetarian), not the honors halls. Different places, and the former is off campus housing typically going to Sophomores and up. All freshman housing has the same meal plan options, except for apartments.
Personally, I love Birnkrant. It's such a great mix of people and an awesome community. It's legitimately a 60 second walk to EVK or Leavey from your room, 30 seconds to Trogro, 2 minutes to EVK, 3 minutes to Taper or Annenberg (you can tell I'm constantly cutting things close...), the list goes on and on. It's a really fun atmosphere and everyone over here is social, friendly, and keeps their doors open all the time. Yeah, they don't have air conditioning, but I've found that to be a problem maybe two days this whole year.
Another note, I think the Birnkrant triples are the best kept freshman secret on campus. They're by far the biggest rooms available for the number of people you have (three people, two "doubles") and it gives everyone a bunch of space. If anyone has any questions about Birnkrant, feel free to PM me and I'll be more than happy to answer them.
Also, I have friends on the business floor and I've heard there's lots of partying. So it's kind of up to you.
I slept fine the one night I stayed in New/North for my Bacc/MD interview, but there have been Thursday nights when I've had friends sleep in my room in Birnkrant because they can't find a quiet place in New/North. That's not usually the case, though.
The most important things to figure out what is most important to you in a dorm (which will help you prioritize which dorm you want-i.e. do you want air conditioning, common interest dorm, location on campus? etc.) and then carefully think about what kind of person you would like to room with (same major? stay up late? etc.). My son is very happy at Fluor Tower. The suite arrangement is very nice-4 bedrooms which give you an easy opportunity to become friends with students in different majors. My son also likes the small, mini-kitchen facilities in their suite as well as the air conditioning.
I like socializing and am looking at new/north, but I don't think I can party all the time. Do students there get to choose what they really wanna do, or do they just give in to peer pressure most of the time (by that I mean that they can choose to be left alone to study/do their own personal stuff) whenever they wish to?