I'm not quite sure why I'm doing this, but I guess I would have loved to know all this stuff before I selected my preferences for the dorms. Having been in every single dorm on campus, here is my take on some of the popular ones that I have debated on.
Everyone has heard of this one. It really does smell like p*ss. There really are parties and people do blast music and you can hear it 20 doors down (because the hallways really are that long). You have to wait for the elevator (sometimes even 5 minutes) to get to your room if you are on floor 6 or above. The beds are pull-out, so it's kinda like a couch until you want to sleep. The windows are 2 by 4 feet, and they seem like prison windows. Ironically however, everyone I know that stays in Jester loves it. My guess is they love the two dining halls (JCL and J2) located within the dorm, in addition to the Wendy's, Jesta Pizza, Freshen's smoothie, etc. It also has one of the best locations on campus. You are across the street from the library and it is a centrally located dorm for all your classes. Overall, if you are a generally sociable person, you shouldn't have any problems making the transition.
The second largest dorm. In my opinion, if you are willing to pay the extra money (because it does cost more than Jester and the other dorms), it is the best dorm. It has its own cafe, Cypress Bend, which has pretty good food. The room sizes are nice and the private baths are nice as well. There are many study lounges and people actually use them (which is a great way to meet people). It is also in a great location on campus, a short walk from the library, and a short walk to classes. All the chairs (for your desk) double as a rocking chair, which is pretty cool too. lol
The newest dorm. The Duren rooms are pretty nice and spacious (especially if you stay on the first floor, where the rooms have 15+ feet ceilings for some reason). The private baths are nice as well. The study lounge situation in San Jacinto applies here as well. The major complaint with Duren is its location. You might as well live in a west campus apartment. I take the west campus bus to go to Duren if I am tired and I am across campus (where my classes are). It is an incredibly long walk to the gym (almost a mile, and then back). I wouldnt pay the extra money to live here if I could room at San Jacinto.
Brackenridge, Prather, Roberts
These three dorms are all really similar. They are all really small and you can really get to know your neighbors. However, they are very old and its noticeable. The doors look like they are 80 years old (in all honesty they probably are) and so are the locks. Many sophomores and upperclassmen live here because it is quieter than the other dorms. The community baths arent bad because there are usually 4 or 5 rooms assigned to a bath, and you usually never encounter someone else in there. And the community bath is cleaned daily.
Dont live here.
Ive only been in here a few times, but its kind of like a more grown-up Jester. The rooms are similarly sized but they dont seem prison like. It is still sociable, but it is more quiet and tight-knit (in comparison to Jester, Moore-Hill is still a large dorm). Some rooms have a nice view of the Gregory pool.
Andrews, Blanton, Carothers
The honors quad is amazing. The people here are very social and nice. The rooms are average, but the social atmosphere makes a huge difference. I noticed this just visiting (I havent lived here), but friends that have lived in the honors dorms say its a great transition for incoming freshman to college.
Come to think of it, I havent been in a Littlefield room.
It looks like Jester as well. Not that great. The community is nice and Kinsolving dining hall is extremely convenient, but if I were a girl Id try to stay somewhere else.
Well there you go, even though I got lazy at the end. Kinsolving is better than that. May all your dorm searching go well.