Dorms: How to Choose?

And then there’s my kid that wants a triple (he really wants a quad, but there aren’t any). There aren’t any singles at his school (at least for freshmen) and I guess his feeling is, at least if 1 is a dud, there’s someone else to talk to.

If you do put down info for a roommate, focus on how you use your space (prefer quiet, neat, early riser) and attributes that really matter (comfortable not talking, modest, etc.) That’s at least a recipe for a good roommate if not a good friend!

I know way more kids from BS who were housed with someone who became a close friend than I know who had tales of woe. (Not so with college, btw. )

But our school didn’t offer singles to freshmen or new sophomores, so maybe they were more invested in not creating problems they couldn’t solve?

@sparkatzz DS is very much an introvert, so he requested a single for III form so he had a place he could decompress and recharge when he got stressed or run down by too much interaction. He again got a single through the lottery for IV form. He has many friends in the dorm and they hang out in the common room or the larger rooms. He considered a double for next year, but changed his mind and applied for dorm prefect. Singles have worked out very well for him and have not caused his social life to suffer in the least.

Waitt… What school are you going to @sparkatzz ?

@ImWaisian Loomis Chaffee

@sparkatzz ah I see. I was wondering because Exeter hasn’t sent out surveys yet.

@ImWaisian yeah it was on our student portal

@sparkatzz That’s so early! I haven’t even gotten a portal for Choate, besides the GoChoate admissions one…

@CavsFan2003 Haha Idk why we are so early but apparently Choate never sends out emails lol. I’m already planning my classes next year since we are doing course registration in early May.

That’s wild! I’m pretty sure we don’t get housing surveys until may and course registration sheets in like June lol

@sparkatzz @cavsFan2003 In fairness, Loomis just says you have to complete the housing survey by early June. I am, of course, procrastinating and have just had the tab open on my computer for the week with absolutely nothing filled out.

Well I use this kind of things to procrastinate on my actual work at school…so I guess these are two different kinds of procrastination lol.

You think you have a choice? Just be prepared for being disappointed. But the worse off you are, most needy, most protected and most in need of accommodations, you will have priority. If you have a medical disorder be honest about your needs.

To be fair, it’s better than the questions from incoming 10th graders to Andover who ask which dorm to choose, where the answer is that they have their choice of dorms that the current 9th graders did not want. :smiley:

I’m surprised there are choices st some schools and that the quality of the rooms vary so much.

Don’t let @Golfgr8 scare you. Not all dorm rooms are terrible.

At Thacher, there is no choice, but the freshmen dorm rooms are all quite nice, especially in the girls dorm. We love the high ceilings and skylights that make the otherwise tiny single rooms feel incredibly spacious … lots of natural light, too!

At Chatham Hall, you earn room lottery points by keeping your room neat. If you want priority in picking a room sophomore year, you just to keep your room spotless.

This varies by school. But at Andover, there are about 40 dorms, built at different times, many of which are converted homes. So aside from the fact that renovations are not all done at once, many of the layouts are unique. I found the same when I went to college.

At schools where dorms are basically cookie cutters and the doubles are a standard size with halves being mirror images, it’s less of an issue (other than perhaps distance from class buildings). But then those dorms also have less character. :smiley:

My experience and my kids - in college you will look back fondly on your boarding school dorm rooms and realize how lucky you had it!

I’ve actually heard from new lowers that they tend to get slightly better dorms than the current ninth graders at Andover due to how the housing lottery works.

Depends on your school…very few of the NE schools have new dorms. Some schools have dorms dedicated for Freshmen and/or by Uppers/Lowers. In general, at least in the NE, the best dorms/rooms are not given to Freshmen. There are a few schools where students of ALL grades live in the same dorm. Keep in mind that most of the NE schools frequently mentioned on this site are OLD. Many used to be single-sex schools and had different set ups. Also, different needs of students years ago. On our revisits, Hotchkiss seemed to have the relatively newest & nicest dorm for Freshmen. The biggest rooms with walk-in closets we saw were at Miss Porter’s. Most Hogwarts themed were at Emma - some with fireplaces and gargoyles outside the windows. I hear Westover has large rooms with windows seats in some.

To the OP’s original question @ how to choose? When you do have a choice of dorm, think about the location that serves you best. Do you want to be in the middle of all the action? Do you want a dorm close to the athletic center or, instead, the library? Do you need to be close to the pool or ice rink? Some students like to be near the dining hall or chapel (if there is a morning check in). Think about which dorm you would like to be residing in when it’s January (miserable) and you’re walking in the snow.

After you thought about this, go out to your parent’s car with your sleeping bag and spend the night in the back seat. That is about how much personal space you will get in some dorm rooms (LOL). Chances are…You will have a nicer dorm Freshmen year at BS compared to your Freshman year at college.

A small counterpoint that will no doubt sound crumudgeonly…: learning to co-exist with a roommate is a really important life skill. I would recommend that, absent compelling health reasons, new BSers roll the dice and receive a randomly assigned roommate if that is an option for one’s first year.

Is that stressful? No doubt. Might there be conflicts or bad matches? Surely. Is it easier to live alone? Absolutely. But learning to peacefully, respectfully and cooperatively coexist with someone who is different than you is not only a skill that will come in handy in ways that are difficult to anticipate, but also opens up the opportunity for a unique, strong relationship in a way that is a bit different than that developed by being dormmates or classmates.