Dorm Comparisons

Hi! New to the boards here. My son is interested in a STEM School and I would like to research a bit more and see what people are saying about the dorms and food on campus. Is there a place where these topics are reviewed? For example, the website “Niche” they gave Georgia Tech a C rating on dorms and food. I’d like to see what others are saying about it before throwing Georgia to the curb,. Thanks!

It’s a college campus, not the Four Seasons resort. Crossing a college off the list, particularly a strong academic one like GTech, because of dorms and food is not the [stupidest reason that has been expressed on this site](https://talk.collegeconfidential.com/parents-forum/705291-stupidest-reason-child-wont-look-at-a-college.html), but it sure comes close IMO

If two colleges are academically equal, but one has a much better dorm and food on campus, why wouldn’t we go with that one?

The saying is “you don’t go to Georgia Tech for the accomodations”.

Son is a freshman there now. Some dorms are reserved for freshman. They’re OK. Nothing fancy but not the worst I’ve seen. Towers is rated the best dorm but typically reserved for upperclassman. There are 2 or 3 dorms that are supposedly pretty bad. You can easily Google those. Lots of apartments but expensive although with Covid there were some bargains for subletting.

West Campus is quieter and where a lot of the Engineering/CS kids seem to live. East Campus is where most of the freshman dorms are located along with the Greek houses. It’s definitely a different vibe. S ended-up on West Campus in the Honors Housing.

Food hasn’t been great but it’s been tough with Covid. Lines have been long and scheduling has been off. Our son manages. There’s Publix nearby and they have a weekend shuttle for shopping. You can also use your Buzzcard to buy meals at some off-campus locations and there’s always Grubhub. I think they’re trying to improve. There are some food trucks too but that hasn’t always gone smoothly. I think most kids move off campus after freshman year and cook their own food or eat out.

Of course it’s been an odd fall semester with Covid but under normal conditions I think they really try to get freshman involved and acclimated. I think it’s called the “Freshman Experience Program”.

You can look here or Reddit for more info. There’s a Facebook page for potential students/parents.

I wouldn’t let the dorm/food situation deter you. I suppose you could live off-campus freshman year but you would miss a lot I think. Suck it up freshman year and then live off-campus. Fantastic school, nice campus, and amazing city. So far S seems to really be enjoying his time there. If you asked me I’d rate the dorms a B and the food a C/C+. Once you get off campus the food grade goes up.

Thank you for that detailed review. Good points about Covid and how it is affecting the dining experience. Are the classes in person or are many on-line? My son is interested in engineering so I am not sure how that might determine where he lives. Since we are OOS, he would definitely be living on campus the first year. Do they have living/learning communities or can you pick any dorm? Thanks again!

We’re OOS. We met kids from all over the country on move-in day. There are so many LLC’s to choose from but they are typically assigned to a particular dorm. If you join the LLC you’ll live in that dorm. Not sure if that’s 100% time but that’s what I’ve heard. He was assigned a freshman dorm on East Campus but joined the Honors Program at the last minute just to meet people and is living on West Campus. I think he made the right choice.

There’s a lot of ways to get involved. Son is somewhat introverted and he at least rushed Fraternities to meet people. Didn’t join but ended up doing Hall council so he’s planning some homecoming events.

He has one online class and the others are in-person but he’s in the business school. So far he likes all his classes. It seems like most of the CS classes are online this fall.

It really is a tight community. He was invited to gatherings by the local alumni club and we’re in PA. I think he made the right choice.

Cost of Attendance for starters.

And what if that was about the same?

CHMCNM - Thanks again for your helpful response. Much appreciated!

Then it’s really premature until you (or actually your son within parameters set by you) are comparing 2 (or more) offers.

The funny thing about “all other things being equal” questions is that all other things are never equal.

Well my son has been accepted to University of Arizona and Arizona State University. They are about equal in cost and both have highly rated engineering programs. All things being about equal…some would say choose ASU because they have brand new honor dorms and better food options. Just an example…

“Some would say” … is not a very convincing argument as it implies “some others” would say something else.

Is your son in the honors college at both?

He was automatically admitted to the honors college at University of Arizona because he is a National Merit Semifinalist. He will need to apply to the ASU Honors College, but should get it in.

It’s not meant to be an argument. I am looking for feedback!

Honors vs non-honors college is not equal imo.

But of course, if absolutely everything else is equal, whether in perception or reality - quality of program, cost, location, “fit” for the student, non-academic offerings etc, then a dorm and food might as well be the tiebreaker. I think the point really is that for most people, one of the above mentioned factors comes in as a tiebreaker first. Georgia Tech is not exactly equal in everything else to either of those, so for most people dorm and food would not be a critical factor. Certainly, it would not be used as the deciding criterion to throw a school like GT “to the curb” (as you put it in the first post) without any other apparent considerations.

My initial post was an inquiry to find out if people reviewed dorms or if they were rated anywhere. Apparently not! We have 13 colleges on our list and thought that maybe something like dorms/food might push one off the ledge. This is not the most important factor in deciding which college. Just another consideration.

GT’s dorms and food are average. Nothing great and nothing bad. If your son is on the picky side for those two things, I would cross GT off the list.

On the other hand, I’ve talked to a lot of GT students and the seem to genuinely love going there. Sure it’s hard, but they like it. I’ve never hear any of them talk about the food or dorms.

The student is living the campus for 4 years, I think this is quite important.

This article https://news.gatech.edu/2019/02/19/prospective-campus-dwellers-guide-nearby-neighborhoods implies about 50% more GT students live off campus than on it. If the dorms/food consideration is in practice only important for say freshman year, then it becomes even less important.

Not that the USN rankings are the end-all be-all but GT is #4 for engineering behind Berkeley and ahead of Cal Tech. CS is about the same. That’s why kids go there and dorms/food are low on the list. Visit the school and look at the facilities. See the level and amount of research. Look at the faculty and students. Talk to the alumni. You’ll see why kids go there.

I went to Pitt for undergrad but had friends at CMU which is next door. I’ve also worked for some CMU start-ups. No doubt you can get a great education at a good public school but there is a difference. The opportunities are much more. It’s a small club.