Boys Dorms at Choate, Hotchkiss, Loomis, Taft, Deerfield, Lville, Middlesex, Andover, and Exeter

I know that what makes a school a good school is its people, not the buildings or facilities. Yet, I am still curious about the boys’ dorm conditions of Choate, Hotchkiss, Loomis, Taft, Deerfield, Lville, Middlesex, Andover, and Exeter. I appreciate input from parents and current students.

Please comment on:

  1. If dorm rooms are old/new/updated, small/large rooms. Warm/cold?
  2. Bathrooms ( kept clean, updated, how many per floor, etc.). Do showers have doors, curtains, etc.?
  3. If students can have a mini-fridge, humidifier, air purifier, etc. in their rooms.
  4. If a student wants to change the room’s furniture ( my son thinks students can decorate/change everything in dorm rooms), are they allowed to do so?
  5. Usually, how many students per room? If requested, can a student get a single room?
  6. I read in some posts that some dorms have a terrible odor. Is that so?
  7. Walking Distance from dorms to classes/dining halls?

If some questions are so obvious, please forgive me. We are brand new to boarding school process.
Thank you all in advance!

Short answer. It depends on the school. But here are some universals:

  1. No. Mini-fridge are almost universally limited to upperclassmen, and even then may be limited to proctors. Other electrical appliances are limited per school regs.

  2. No. Furniture generally stays. What furniture can be added and how the walls can be decorated are limited by school regs.

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  1. Yes. Most schools have newer/older/warmer/colder/larger/smaller dorms/rooms on the same campus. Freshman are usually assigned their first dorms/rooms. Choices come after that first year. Freshman year, our son had a tiny corner room under the eaves with a small 4-ft wardrobe. Every year thereafter was a larger room, but that cozy one was his favorite.

  2. Bathrooms are cleaned. How long they stay that way depends on users. With boys, the answer is measured in minutes. Doors/curtains can vary. You’d have to ask/check each dorm at each school. (Does it matter?)

3-4) Concur with ski.

  1. At Choate, most students opt for doubles, but our son chose a single each year. This also varies by school.

  2. Odor? Boys have odors, dorms don’t.

  3. Distance from dorms to any location will depend on the dorms. One year our son had a room at the top of the stairs to the dining hall, very convenient for eating but not so convenient to where he spent most of his time. Again, not sure this matters as dorms are where they are and kids are going to be walking somewhere all day long.


Hi, I’m a girl in my 3rd year at Exeter. I’ve been to most of the boy’s dorms so I can give you some advice.

  1. This really depends on which dorm you’re in. Some of the boy’s dorms are newly renovated and will have nicer rooms. Others are still very old. I would say that Main Street, Webster, and Cilley are the nicest boy’s dorms on campus. There is also an all-gender dorm called Will House that has the best amenities and the largest rooms on campus.
  2. There are usually two bathrooms per floor and each bathroom is shared by half of the hallway. They are usually cleaned every day by janitors and work well. The only problem is the people using the bathrooms.
  3. Students can use air purifiers and humidifiers as they please. A doctor’s note is required to have a fridge.
  4. You can bring in couches and specific desk chairs/beanbags if you would like, but I don’t think it’s possible to replace the bed. Some of the dorm rooms are kind of small and keep in mind that you might have a roommate.
  5. In prep year, most students have one roommate. In lower and upper year it really depends upon your dorm and what you want. You can choose which room to be in and who you want your roommate to be (if applicable). In senior year, you can definitely ask to have your own room.
  6. Most dorms smell fine unless you’re in the basement. I would recommend bringing Ozium or another air freshener if you’re worried.
  7. It depends on which side of campus you live on. There are dining halls on both sides, which are usually less than a 5-minute walk away on both sides of campus. However, most classrooms are on the north side which may take up to 10 minutes to reach from the south side. It’s not a big problem because most students stay on the north side for the majority of their day. What’s convenient about south side is that the library is located in the center, so it is easy to find a good study space if you don’t like working in your dorm. The gym is also closer to south side, so if you’re an athlete that’s probably the best location.
    Prep = freshman
    Lower = sophomore
    Upper = Junior
    Senior = Senior
    I hope this helps!

@prepschoolgirl33 What great and detailed answers! Thanks a lot for the insights!

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Both my daughter and son concur - boys are messy and smelly. The boys dorms and locker rooms are gross regardless of the school. If you are a super neat freak boy it might be a bumpy start while you adjust.

Even the girls dorms are a bit smelly. Remember there is rarely a mud room for wet soccer cleats or hockey gear. Sometimes it stays in the ac and sometimes your roommate leaves it in the room.

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For Lville:

No fridges until senior year (exception was made this year for all students due to covid.

No restrictions on humidifiers or air purifiers that I know of.

All furniture must remain in rooms, additional furniture is allowed if there is space.

Second Formers (freshmen) are all in one dorm and the rooms are tiny. Almost all second form rooms are singles, with the exception of 2 or 3 doubles. Sophomore/Junior/Senior rooms are available as singles, doubles, triples, and quads.

Amount of bathrooms and condition of them will vary by dorm. For second form, I believe there are two per floor (given it’s the same set up as the freshman girls dorm). The girls second form dorm was recently renovated, so I assume the boys was as well.

Students may decorate their walls with posters/ photos/ etc up to 25% of the space. Fabric/tapestries/flags etc may not be hung on the wall as they are a fire hazard, unless they are framed with glass.

Walking distance will vary based on dorm, but all are within a reasonable distance. Seniors at Lville have their own dining room which is very close to all but 2 (small) senior dorms.

Cannot comment on smell…but believe as others have said, its often the people that smell, not the dorms!! :slight_smile:

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The dorms at Hotchkiss can switch from boys to girls and vice versa depending on the school’s needs in any given year. So a better question is “what are the dorms like?”

Short answer is they are great. They vary in age. As of a couple of years ago, the Head told me he intentionally put 9th grade boys in the smallest dorms – which also happen to be the newest and most palatial – because the boys need a bit more support.

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I didn’t know that dorms get switched. Our impression is among the schools listed, Hotchkiss has more up to date dorms.

Lville is among the closest school to us but it is the worst interview our kid ever had. Usually, all interviews went good or amazing except Lville. Even though he is not an athlete recruit, the interviewer talked only about sports.

@one1ofeach Do your kids go to the schools listed? I get a feeling that no matter where it is, the dorms would be smelly!

I don’t know why this post was flagged, I cannot see why it would be.

It’s hard, but don’t think that the school is necessarily a bad fit because of the interview. Sometimes you just get a dud interviewer. I vividly remember one interview where it seemed like all the interviewer could talk about was her desire to retire. It left a really bad impression. As it happens my son attended that school, which was wonderful and a perfect fit. So you never know!

@CC_Jon @CC_Sorin remember, you want to *encourage * people to post on CC. Your goal is to increase traffic, not decrease it. If a conversation wanders a bit – we are still talking prep schools here – I cannot see what the issue is. If we were talking prep schools and then someone chimed in about something completely unrelated that would be different.

@chemsider I believe that anyone can flag a post, so we may have an overzealous fellow forum user, vs a moderator doing the flagging. I notice our earlier posts have emerged from flag purgatory. Personally I find it irritating, which is why I’m tagging admins.


I removed the posts from flag purgatory because I realized after the fact that it was the OP who drifted the thread OT. Had those posts been made by another, they would have remained deleted. I left the post questioning moderation hidden because it’s against the rules.

Out of respect for both moderators and policies, discussion of moderator actions and forum policies is welcomed via private message or e-mail; these issues are off-topic for the forums.

Current student at Andover lol
1. If dorm rooms are old/new/updated, small/large rooms. Warm/cold?
Depends on your dorm. All Andover dorms have heating, but some dorms have a more central system while older dorms have radiators. Can’t vouch for all dorms but there aren’t too many complaints. As for age, Andover dorms also vary. Most dorms (except for the knoll) have years and years and years of history. From the outside, they all have old building charm. Some of them, however, are renovated on the inside. Very nice. Others haven’t, but they hold so much charm. If it were up to me, I wouldn’t renovate either. Rooms are decently sized here. Nothing tiny but definitely rooms that are huge. I lived in a room with a closet the size of a NY apartment lower year.
2. Bathrooms ( kept clean, updated, how many per floor, etc.). Do showers have doors, curtains, etc.?
Cleanliness depends on the people tbh. Small dorms have 1 per floor. Larger may have 2 or 3 with multiple showers and stalls. Yes we have curtains and doors. 20 something boys under one roof sounds chaotic, but trust me, we still value decency.
3. If students can have a mini-fridge, humidifier, air purifier, etc. in their rooms.
This year we all got mini-fridges bc they didn’t want us using the communal one. I see that happening next year. They’re tiny though. I believe humidifiers and air purifiers are against fire code but not too sure.
4. If a student wants to change the room’s furniture ( my son thinks students can decorate/change everything in dorm rooms), are they allowed to do so?
What do you mean by decorate? Everyone’s room is really a reflection of their personality. Most people have photo walls, art, sports equipment, or a combination of the three as decoration. Normally, a few kids bring bean bags or small couches. Definitely do not bring your own desk or bed (haha do I really have to say that) You can move around your furniture as much as you’d like.
5. Usually, how many students per room? If requested, can a student get a single room?
Due to covid, it’s singles for everyone. If you have a roommate it’s in a multi-room double so each person gets their own room. Normally freshmen have either singles or doubles (doubles being the majority.) There are a considerable amount of multi-room doubles.
6. I read in some posts that some dorms have a terrible odor. Is that so?
Not that I know of.
7. Walking Distance from dorms to classes/dining halls?
Andover has the cluster system. I’ll just go through the list.
Abbot - super charming houses as dorms. Usually 10 - 25 people. Pretty far (~12 minute walk if you walk slow) from campus and commons (our dining hall). Some say it’s worth the walk. Won’t agree or disagree.
The quads - rectangular brick 2-3 story buildings. Around 30 people per dorm and a few 2 room doubles. Some are right across the street from the main campus. Others are maybe a 5 minute walk. Some have been recently renovated and are overall very desirable.
The knoll - some of these dorms actually function as nuclear fallout bunkers. Pretty cool, I know. Really great dorm structure and I’d say the most tightknit cluster. ~35 per dorm. A large amount of 3 room doubles. Right next to campus so like a 3 minute walk to most academic buildings and commons.
Flagstaff - On campus. Like dead center. 1 minute walk to commons, 30 second run if you’ve slept through your alarm. Very lively.

Good luck!


That was a greatly detailed post!Thanks!

I’m not a guy, but here’s what I know about Mem, Choate’s freshman boys’ dorm.

  1. Dorm rooms really depend, most are regular sized, but there are some really small singles.
  2. No freshmen are allowed fridges, I’m not sure about humidifiers or purifiers though.
  3. Decorating is absolutely allowed, although there are some things that are banned. They send out a list of what’s allowed each year, so don’t worry.
  4. Most rooms are singles or doubles, and I think there may be a couple triples.
  5. Like I said, I don’t live in Mem, but the odor situation is more about specific rooms. if you don’t keep your room clean and take out your trash… it’s gonna stink.
  6. Mem has one of the best locations on campus, across the street from the dining hall, student center, and library. Right next to Humanities building. And a short walk to the science/arts centers as well as the gym.

hey! would you mind describing the girls dorms? thanks!