I would recommend the all-girls private dorms in a heartbeat. Every girl I know that lives at Hardin or SRD loves them, and it also gives them a wider social network than just their sorority. They have very nice rooms and all meals covered, and the cost isn't that much more than a double with community baths at UT. I would recommend SRD over Hardin just because it's closer to campus, but if you are going Greek, Hardin is more convenient for most of the sorority houses, and the girls spend a lot of time there, so that could be a consideration. Both dorms are predominately freshman sorority girls, so if that scares you, these may not be the place for you.
The coed off-campus dorms are less nice. They are more expensive than the on-campus dorms, and the amenities aren't that much nicer. They offer apartment-style living at a cost almost twice that of an apartment at UT. A one bedroom, one bath room at Towers will cost $13,000 a person. You can get a 2-2 at Jefferson 26 for $650 a month and you get a kitchen. The dining halls aren't that great, and with Austin's dining options you can dine just as well and just as cheaply.
If you want a dorm experience, I would recommend the dorms in the northeast corner of campus. I think Duren is totally overpriced. The community bathrooms are honestly nicer than the private bathrooms because the cleaning is done for you. The rooms aren't that much nicer or larger either. However, I would definitely recommend the honors quad or Whitis Court if you can get in to them. They are definitely sufficient, and they are very conveniently located to West Campus, the Drag, and most freshman classes. They are close to the liberal arts, natural sciences, comm, and engineering buildings, which is where most freshman will have classes.
The Jester area dorms are farther away from everything. The main dining hall, J2, is also really scary. You don't want to eat there. And JCL is expensive. There is a Wendy's at the Union which is also open late, so if you live on the west side of campus it's equally convenient. And you are right across the street from 24/7 Kerbey Lane Cafe, which beats the tar out of Wendy's.
If you are staying at Jester because it's a "party dorm," you need to reevaluate your social life. Real parties don't happen in dorm rooms. Check out West Campus at UT and you will soon find out that Jester parties are a joke.
Just my two cents, I think people will think differently, but each person is looking for something different in college. I honestly like my room in the honors quad, but if I could choose again I would have got a West Campus apartment near the shuttle route for this year. The quad isn't bad, but my major problem is that my roommate and I are essentially paying $12,000 for a room the size of a living room at most apartments, and I could get a more spacious room for the same price. As for the $1500 in food, honestly Kinsolving has the most inconvenient hours ever and I rarely eat there. I have run through my Bevo Bucks many times, and yet I have over $800 in dine-in dollars left.
Regarding inconvenient Kinsolving hours and extra Dining Dollars:
Depending on your class schedule, Kinsolving can be inconvenient for lunch. After 2 p.m., your Dining Dollars work at the Littlefield Patio Cafe, which is open all afternoon. My daughter lives in the honors quad, so Littlefield is convenient. She ends up eating a late lunch from there several times a week. Also, she buys breakfast foods from there and from the "stores" in Kinsolving and Jester (and brings them back to her dorm room to eat in the mornings). Those stores use Dining Dollars around the clock.
If you live on campus, you will get Dining Dollars. You might as well use them.
As long as there are freezers in the dorm rooms, buy ice cream
Hey, I live in Jester West and I really don't think it's that bad.
I'm a freshman, and a business student, so it is really convenient to just walk diagonally to the McCombs from Jester. Gregory Gym is right across the street, but it is crowded (basketball wise) so I tend to play at the Rec Sports which is by San Jac. But its good exercise to walk. The PCL (library) is right across the street too so it's a good place to study if you like to get out of your room when you study.
J2 is pretty decently priced, as its all you can eat, and people complain, but I've eaten cafeteria food since elementary school, so I think it's just a matter of how you look at that. Some people just believe they're too good for that and prefer to waste their money elsewhere. JCL is overpriced, and not worth it most of the time. Wendy's in convenient for days your out late and you'll get filled with just three things from the dollar menu so you don't have to spend a lot. Just try to be healthy more.
As for the dorm, I have a pretty nice set up thanks to signing up the earliest I could for housing, but I've heard they changed the system for this year's freshman. Earlier is better in Jester, as their are a few private bathrooms, which my roommate and I got. I have people in Dobie that are jealous of how decent this room is. It smells in the hallways at the entrances but I rarely find it loud here. The only thing I can think of is the door slamming because they close pretty fast, so you can here when people leave their rooms but it's not obnoxious. Elevators are busy in the 15 minutes before classes start but otherwise a safe bet to use. You can rent movies at Jester East with your ID. Ping pong, pool, foosball (sp?), and a kitchen in Jester West's ground floor.
If you're too lazy to walk, we have the Forty Acres bus which has stops on The Drag (Guadalupe St.), Dobie, and Dean Keeton (which is by Kinsolving), plus more so no need to walk if you'll get sweaty, but exercise is good guys. Bus stop is right in front of Jester West on the Gregory Gym side.
If you want to pay an extra 2,000 for San Jac and Duren go for it but I think Jester is fine, especially if you're a guy. Realistically, you'll get use to the smell, and this is where a lot of events happen, if you're interested in them.
I'm pretty happy with Jester. =) If anyone needs more info, I'll be glad to help.
I stayed in Jester over the summer for the Honors colloquium and found it nice. However, others at the colloquium complained about the smell (I didn't smell anything), the dinginess (I thought it was fine), and the dining area. I believe that those who don't like Jester are usually kids from really nice upbringings or are stuck-up and those who like Jester may be more down-to-earth and humble.
I guess if you are paying to stay in Jester, you may be disappointed, but as a whole, life in Jester isn't bad.
"I believe that those who don't like Jester are usually kids from really nice upbringings or are stuck-up and those who like Jester may be more down-to-earth and humble."
I find it funny that you can generalize people and then call them stuck up. And if you have only stayed there once, you really don't know the difference at all between San Jac or Duren and Jester. Not to mention the costs of all the dorms are so exorbitantly high that you won't find anybody who is really that "humble and down to earth" living on campus anyways by your standards. Jester isn't that bad, but San Jac is much nicer, especially when you stay there for an entire year and not 2 days(where nobody is going to be loud for an honors colloquium).
Every dorm room on campus has a microfridge, which is a fridge and freezer on the bottom and a microwave on top.
I learned on a tour of Ohio State that microfridges help with the wiring in dorms - it is not noticable, but when you run the microwave, the power to the fridge turns off, so you are always running either a fridge or a microwave, not both - so fuses don't blow.
I don't think you can open the windows in Jester, but I am sure someone here knows the answer for sure.
You are correct. You cannot open the windows in Jester. Dine In Dollars is your meal plan. For next year you will get $1300 Dine In Dollars and $300 Bevo Bucks. Dine In Dollars are used in all of the locations that the Division of Housing and Food Service operate. Bevo Bucks can be used at over 60 locations off campus and many locations on campus as well as in vending and laundry in the residence halls. You will use your ID card to swipe at locations to use your Dine In Dollars or Bevo Bucks. More information can be found on the website: Division of Housing and Food Service - Meal Plan
My daughter is a freshman & lives at SRD & absolutely loves it. Great food, nice pool, newly re-done bathrooms, great fitness center and really nice girls. Very friendly-not snobby. About 40-50% go greek, (which she did) unlike Hardin House where about 99% go greek.
Lots of tradition here-very genteel-Last week they put a 12 foot Christmas tree up in the "ballroom" and served high tea & the girls decorated the tree.
great place for a daughter's 1st year away from home. Good security too. Definitely happy w/her decision.
Im thinking about going to UT but the whole drinking/drug scene is seriously withdrawing me. I choose not to drink and do drugs yet i still wanna have social fun (alot of my friends said if you go to UT , your bound to be partying everyday). Does anyone suggest a good dorm/private suite/etc. thats on campus that has no partying/drinking/drug scene but its pretty decent?