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"Beauty in Ugly Dorms" (Freshman housing choices - suite-style or traditional dorms?)

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Replies to: "Beauty in Ugly Dorms" (Freshman housing choices - suite-style or traditional dorms?)

  • LucieTheLakieLucieTheLakie 3895 replies163 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,058 Senior Member
    Thanks for the feedback, everybody. Very helpful!
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  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys 16613 replies66 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16,679 Senior Member
    My kids did not want to have to get up in the middle of the night, leave their room, and get out a key to simply go to the bathroom. None of them was willing to do that. There's really no isolationism in suite style living and on many campuses the sleeping space isn't any larger than in a room with a bathroom down the hall.it's just that you share very small bathroom with 3 other kids instead of leaving your room, walking down a hallway and unlocking a very large bathroom with multiple sinks, toilets and shower facilities. It' generally comes down to whether or not the kid has a distinct preference. I think all my kids knew lots and lots of kids in their freshman dorms...with suite stye living.
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  • jeannemarjeannemar 360 replies27 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 387 Member
    My DS chose the "historic" dorm because there were sinks in the rooms. I believe they are the largest dorm rooms on campus. He could has chosen the freshman dorm or a couple different Living/learning communities but he chose the most traditional. It is right next door to a dining hall. I think he made a good choice. The dorm he stayed in for orientation was like a prison cell.
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  • momofthreeboysmomofthreeboys 16613 replies66 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 16,679 Senior Member
    Ewww having lived in a household full of males I'd worry they'd use the sink in the middle of the night, instead of finding their keys, opening their dorm room door, walking down the hall and unlocking the bathroom. I could not say whether mine would or wouldn't do that never having been in that position, but my mind can imagine it of course.
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  • beth's mombeth's mom 3256 replies110 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 3,366 Senior Member
    I lived in a traditional dorm when I was in college. It wasn't terribly old, but it wasn't new, either. I loved it. I met everyone on my floor, and most girls on other floors. Doors were often kept open and there was a great social atmosphere. There could also be a lot of drama, and it was sometimes hard to study. I wouldn't trade it, though.

    My D lived in a suite-style dorm (same school as your son, OP), and it was perfect for her. She has never shared a room in her life (I always shared with 2 sisters, so sharing a larger room with only 1 person was luxury for me), and didn't want to have to get used to that in addition to everything else that was new and different. She did not meet a lot of kids on her floor, and any time I was there and walked through the dorm, there were few kids in the hallway and no doors open. D of course knew the girls in her suite, but a lot of the kids she knew in the rest of the dorm she had met outside of the dorm. I'm not sure if D had a less social floor (there were a number of upperclassmen living there, as opposed to other dorms that had a larger percentage of freshmen) or if that's how all the suite-style dorms are. But D wouldn't have traded her suite for a room in a traditional dorm and didn't regret choosing the suite for a minute. That said, my D is pretty easy going and flexible, and had she been assigned to an older, traditional dorm, she would have handled it.
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  • collage1collage1 1670 replies69 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,739 Senior Member
    momofthreeboys, I hope my D finds you're right about the suites...she requested a double on a hall (as an entering freshman this August) and was put in a triple in a suite. Apparently too many people wanted as she did and there weren't enough to go around. Someone on CC said that the rooms are small in her particular dorm and were designed to be doubles and so I know we need to set expectations lower. She just really, really doesn't want the top bunk. Having said that, she's thrilled about starting at her dream school and I know she'll make friends wherever she lives...she may just have to try just a little harder to meet people.

    My oldest was placed in the oldest dorm for her freshman year and was dreading it. Sure, it was rather delapidated and old but she ended up making great friends and her section of 34 kids continued to get together several times a year for the following 3 years. They did have a common space and used it; they also all left their doors open.
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  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 34785 replies1076 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    Both my kids had traditional dorm rooms freshman year.
    We did look at a college that had suite style dorms, except for freshmen, which were traditional.
    Older D had a single for three years, then shared a college owned two bedroom townhouse.
    Youngest moved off campus sophomore year.
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  • Jea828Jea828 256 replies28 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 284 Junior Member
    My daughter realllyy wanted a suite. But alas, the school she chose has only traditional dorms, and most students live in them all four years. And of course she got the one of the "worst" ones; very small, drab and old-school. Meanwhile, her friends at other schools all have beautiful, shiny new suites or fancy apartments that look like 5-star resorts. At first I felt kind of bad for my daughter. But then I realized... when she finishes school and finally gets her first place on her own, no matter how small and crappy it is, it will feel like a palace!

    A couple other benefits of traditional dorms:

    In a suite, when you share a bathroom with 2-3 other people, it may be occupied when you really need it. The common bathrooms in a traditional dorm will always have a shower or toilet available.

    You have to clean your own bathroom in a suite-style dorm, whereas the common bathrooms are professionally cleaned every day.

    If you're a germaphobic neat freak and your roommates are slobs who leave your shared bathroom a mess (or vice versa), that can cause some discord in a suite arrangement.
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  • ahsmuohahsmuoh 1309 replies37 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,346 Senior Member
    I was always wondering about the social aspect of suite style dorms. My d lived in a "suite style" but it was really just a regular dome room with a "jack-n-Jill" bathroom between two rooms. She said they had their door open a lot and there were lots of common areas on every floor. Kind of the best of both worlds.
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  • mcat2mcat2 5871 replies115 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 5,986 Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    DS's dorm room in his college years has no 90-degree angle. All dorm rooms in that dorm are like this and I heard every dorm room is different from other rooms. It is difficult to put furniture in the room properly. An upside is that there are many singles. I heard that after a massive renovation, they get rid of most singles.

    Re: "My d lived in a "suite style" but it was really just a regular dome room with a "jack-n-Jill" bathroom between two rooms."

    DS's dorm room is like that. The students are responsible for cleaning the bathroom. It is often in a mess because most of these "well-sheltered" students were not trained to clean their bathroom at home before college. I bet most of them do not do this after college either.

    In one year, he lived in a "Ramada Inn" style apartment complex due to the renovation of the dorm building. I heard many students liked it (partly due to the AC - those old dorms do not have AC) even though it was not designed by a famous architect.
    edited June 2014
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  • wis75wis75 13852 replies62 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 13,914 Senior Member
    Harder decision when it is a matter of Honors College suites or cheaper regular dorm rooms. UW-Madison has an excellent Honors Program and no special housing for those students. Honors students are too diverse to want the same style or location for dorms. In general not having to clean a bathroom definitely trumps those situations where one has to. It is nice to meet "all walks of life" as a freshman.

    In this situation- do many honors students choose to not live with the other honors students? Would your son be socially isolated from those students in his classes he most likely has more in common with? If significant numbers opt out of Honors housing it's no big deal. If no others in honors will be in his dorm he may feel strange.
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  • kjcphmomkjcphmom 1066 replies37 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 1,103 Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    OP, my second son is at the same school as yours is going and one of the things that "sold" him on the school was the suite style dorms. He has always shared a room, but with his personality, having his own space was pretty important. His older bother lived in a traditional dorm for 3 years (little, bathroom down the hall) and this was fine for him. Comparing the two, I will say the traditional dorm is less isolating and the older one met alot more people, but I don't know if that is because of the type of dorm or just personality. My youngest will be a freshman at the same U as your son and he has chosen a suite style room also. Because we are paying for this child (the other one had a housing scholarship) I did wonder if we should encourage him to go with a regular dorm room, for cost and social reasons but it is hard to not treat the kids "the same" so we did not bring this up. However, if he had been assigned to a traditional dorm I think my son would have been okay with it.
    edited June 2014
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  • LucieTheLakieLucieTheLakie 3895 replies163 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 4,058 Senior Member
    Yes, there's no doubt those suite-style dorms definitely influenced his decision, but they weren't the primary reason for choosing the school. When he put in his request for reassignment he had his choice of honors, suite-style or a single, and he chose honors. He'd like to live in one of those suites, but what he mainly wants is to find a nice community of like-minded kids, especially since he's coming from out of state and won't know anybody on campus.

    It does seem like honors kids can be found all over (some are likely commuting as well) even though the official honors housing is located in suites. They do have overflow honors housing in a more traditional dorm, but not the one he's been assigned to, which is also all male, so he won't be meeting his future wife there either! ;-)

    He's pretty easy-going in general, so I'm not overly concerned, but he has terrible allergies so a newer dorm would be preferable. I wish now I'd asked to see one of the more traditional dorms when we visited, so he'd at least some idea of what they're like before he has to move in.
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  • emeraldkity4emeraldkity4 34785 replies1076 discussionsRegistered User Posts: 35,861 Senior Member
    I also dont understand the locked bathrooms.
    Why would they be locked?
    Access to the dorm is limited, not to the bathrooms.
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