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


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

  • dodgersmomdodgersmom Registered User Posts: 7,313 Senior Member
    Two observations . . .

    The first is that the kid who really, really wants his privacy may be the kid who would benefit the most from the communal living of a traditional dorm.

    The second is that relationships with roommates don’t always turn out the way one would expect. My son had a roommate his first year away at school, and all i heard were complaints about the kid - my son couldn’t wait to get away from him. Two years later, he was staying with a friend from school over spring break, but told me that he’d be traveling for a few days with another friend, Joe, and his family. “Joe,” I asked, “who’s Joe?” His response? "You know who he is, Mom - it’s Joe, my old roommate!” So you just never know how these things will turn out . . . ;)
  • YoHoYoHoYoHoYoHo Registered User Posts: 2,001 Senior Member
    edited June 2014
    D totally wanted suite housing over dorm housing as a frosh. Afterwards, d said that it would be much better for frosh to live in dorms and she will always recommend to frosh to live in dorms. Her suite situation was that there are stairs and 2 suites came off to the left and right. So you didn't meet people as you went just up and down stairs. Maybe it would be different if they could cruise down hallways.

    In suites you get more if your own space and privacy, but dorms are better because it basically forces you to meet a ton of people. Most kids in dorms and suites keep their bedroom door open. In dorms, you often just pop your head in to someone's room. In suites, you could pop your head in the common room, but that presumes that the suite mates are hanging there rather than in their bedrooms.
  • BestfriendsgirlBestfriendsgirl Registered User Posts: 935 Member
    S1 lived in a brand-new dorm freshman year with private bathrooms. He said he made most of his friends stepping out to smoke or through his major, not on his dorm floor. His roommate moved out second semester and they didn't move anyone else in, so he had a single. He liked it and had a single sophomore year - in the oldest dorm on campus and the only one with no a/c.
    S2 will be attending the same school this fall and applied late for housing, so he will be in a traditional-style building and I'm kind of glad. It's also the only dorm with its own dining hall so he has that advantage to look forward to.
  • warriordaughterwarriordaughter Registered User Posts: 399 Member
    At the school I'm going to, freshman women have two housing options. The first is much older and has tiny double rooms with traditional, communal bathrooms on each hall. The second is fairly new and has much larger double rooms with suite bathrooms shared between every two rooms (all rooms still open onto a shared hallway). Plus the second has AC and the first doesn't! All students agree that the first option is far better for creating strong community, even though it's less private and convenient.

    Not to mention there are weekly Jane Austen movie nights in the first :) The culture of the dorm seems to make a big difference.
  • LucieTheLakieLucieTheLakie Registered User Posts: 4,058 Senior Member
    edited July 2014
    OP checking in with an update:

    Just wanted to post a quick follow-up since I found the discussion here really helpful. My son, who'll be studying engineering (but is a theater geek at heart), was eventually offered the option to live with other honors students in a dormitory that primarily houses a very cool liberal arts living learning community (LLC) at his university. He's really getting the best of both worlds in that he'll be in a more traditional set-up but be housed with other honors students (all of whom are also STEM students). And it's coed to boot, has its own private bathroom that will be shared with three other guys, and is only about 15 years old, so mold and other allergens should not be an issue.

    Hoping it turns out to be the perfect match!
  • amarylandmomamarylandmom Registered User Posts: 631 Member
    @massmom‌ and @consolation, I think I lived in the same dorm as Massmom's daughter as a freshman in the eighties. Not completely sure but the description is right on the money. Honestly, I was totally happy there too!!
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,892 Senior Member
    Good news, OP. There are always tradeoffs and often many good options. It'll work fine as long as he is happy with his academics, enjoyable classes would make any living situation more tolerable.
  • movemetoomovemetoo Registered User Posts: 735 Member
    In the dorms at the college my daughter is moving into, the hallway doors are to be closed and locked at all times for safety of others in the room and their belongings. A far cry from when I went to school and everyone on the floor had their hall door open all day. I'm hoping she still meets people in the common areas.
  • icuinNmicuinNm Registered User Posts: 138 Junior Member
    My D will be in a suite as a freshman. She had the option of living in the honor's wing of a traditional older dorm, but she liked the suite better. For those that have kids who lived in a suite with a Jack and Jill bathroom, how did the bathroom cleaning and toilet paper situation work? Did everyone take turns cleaning and buying the TP or is that just wishful thinking?
  • Niquii77Niquii77 Registered User Posts: 10,104 Senior Member
    For those that have kids who lived in a suite with a Jack and Jill bathroom, how did the bathroom cleaning and toilet paper situation work? Did everyone take turns cleaning and buying the TP or is that just wishful thinking?
    My hall had housecleaning bi weekly...or weekly...it varied, but our lovely cleaning staff cleaned the shower and toilet and refilled the toilet paper when necessary. There were the occasional lock outs, but nothing a good old bang on the neighboring wall couldn't fix.

    I've lived in a traditional hall and a new suite hall. I've spent a good amount of time in the "older" halls, and they all have their perks. I'm more comfortable in four person or less suites. I feel they are the best option in terms of bathrooms versus bathroom where eight people have to a bathroom or communal bathrooms.
  • icuinNmicuinNm Registered User Posts: 138 Junior Member
    So your shared bathroom with 3 other people was cleaned by the cleaning staff? That's not how it works with the dorm D will be living in. The 4 girls will have to clean their own bathroom and provide their own toilet paper. There is a sink area with 4 sinks (I think), and separate rooms with a door on each for the bathtub/shower and the toilet. So at least someone can use the bathroom while someone else is showering.

    I was wondering how it worked with roommates buying the toilet paper and cleaning supplies when it was their turn and if a cleaning schedule was successful. I'm having a sick feeling that the toilet won't ever get a good cleaning.
  • Niquii77Niquii77 Registered User Posts: 10,104 Senior Member
    Welp, that's how suites are handled on my campus! Everything was taken care of. The only thing the requested is we take out our products from the bathroom and sink area on cleaning day.

    I've had friends who have a "No Sharing" type of policy. They buy their own toilet paper. I have other friends where all of their roommates bought a 12 pack roll or something and then when the paper was running low they drew out of a hat and established like a rotation.

    Don't have any advice about cleaning supplies as all of the bathrooms are cleaned by housekeeping.
  • KnoxpatchKnoxpatch Registered User Posts: 351 Member
    My about-to-be freshman D will be in the old '70's dorm along with all the other freshmen women at her small LAC. The idea of going down the hall to the bathroom was at first appalling. However, when she heard she didn't have to clean a bathroom, EVER, the appalling quickly morphed to sunshine and butterflies. I like the Jane Austin movie nights! Will have to suggest that to D!
  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 13,892 Senior Member
    "An old '70's dorm" My alma mater has kept up maintenance and renovations- more than half of the dorms date to before the late 1960's, with the oldest over one hundred years old! A dorm built around that time next to it was torn down after around fifty years and a tower replaced it- it was a women's dorm named after some school bigwig from the 1800's who did not want women on campus! The only other old dorm recently replaced was always a bad design built in the 1960's, the other towers of that era were of a better design and still used today. Many different locations and architecture styles- including rooms.
  • LucieTheLakieLucieTheLakie Registered User Posts: 4,058 Senior Member
    Update II:

    I should have written this a year ago, but I forgot all about it until I posted in another thread about my old (and apparently notorious!) college dorm getting a major renovation. (See here: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/1798498-dorms-you-ll-never-see-on-the-campus-tour.html) But since this is a not-uncommon issue this time of year, I want to follow up on post #50 to share that my son had a great freshman year in that liberal arts LLC. It had a wonderful mix of both STEM and liberal arts students, and while he didn't actually join the LLC (some engineers do), he still regularly attends their functions with his friends who are members.

    It really turned out to be the best of both worlds for him, and the friends he made there remain his closest friends at school today. They mostly moved off campus and scattered all around sophomore year, but they still get together regularly to socialize. One of his friends posted a group photo on FB yesterday from a spring get-together and tagged my son in it. (I never would have even known about it otherwise!) I recognized most of the kids from freshman year, and it looked like their circle had widened to include several new friends.

    That's not to say he didn't experience a fair share of travails that year. His shared bathroom was flooded when the guys in the room directly above plugged up their toilet. (Ewww!) And it was frequently freezing because the AC was blasting much of the school year, but between the money saved from getting closed out of the suites, and the wonderful friends he made, it was a net win for sure.

    In retrospect, I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. :)

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