Skidmore Housing - Here's the real deal from a Soph parent

So, I feel compelled to give those considering Skidmore a heads up about the housing situation at Skidmore b/c I’m sure Admissions glosses over the problems they are having.

Freshman and Sophomores have always been in the older dorms that are dated, a bit dreary and many have heating issues (either too hot or sometimes even lack heat in the cold winters). We toured many colleges and saw equally dated dorms so I’m not saying Skidmore is really worse than many other colleges. What has happened is that the freshman classes have been bigger and Skidmore is bursting at the seams for the dorms. So, most freshman are put in forced triples. These are rooms that are not a bad size for 2 but very tight for 3. Sophomores are either in singles or doubles in the dorms. This year seems like a whole lot of sophomores didnt get singles so many (but not all) are in doubles, disappointing many b/c in past years seemed easier for sophs to get singles.

The juniors and seniors have been in the newer apartments/townhouses on the outer part of the campus that seem beautiful and spacious and in high demand. This year a lot of juniors (school hasn’t said how many) didn’t get into the apts forcing juniors either to scramble late in the summer to find off campus housing or go back to the dorms, which would mean living in a suite with mostly freshman and sophs. Many juniors were VERY disappointed. I even heard on the Facebook parents page that some seniors didn’t get into the apts but I imagine this is few.

And you should know that this year the entire housing selection lottery process was a complete nightmare. Apparently they had a new vendor software that was full of snags and snafus at every corner causing a whole lot of delays and stress for students. The communication was lacking and an overall mess. There are still sophomores that havent been placed. Emails and calls to Resi Life often go unanswered. Some parents are getting concerned that their sophs will be placed in hotels (not sure if that will happen, I certainly hope not.)

The process for freshman is all new too. Now you can choose your own roommate or let Skidmore place you. This too was a last minute thing causing freshman to scramble to find roommates and again very little communication. A whole lot of stressed freshman students and parents.

Hopefully Residential Life gets their act together but personally I have been entirely unimpressed by Resi Life. Many departments at Skidmore are wonderful but Resi Life, well, not so much. Is this a reason to pass over Skidmore?, I dont think so, and my daughter had a great freshman year and she loves Skidmore. But if you are considering Skidmore, I thought you should know!

(In all fairness I should also mention the Pres did announce this summer that Skidmore will build a new dorm but who knows when this will happen and when it will be ready.)

If you have questions I am happy to answer them!

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Do athletes get better housing?

I would hope not. Sorry, you can tell my kid is not an athlete by my answer. That being said, my sophomore son said a lot athletes lived in his dorm, McClellan, which is closer to the fields/gym. But I’m sure there are athletes scattered everywhere. The nickname for this dorm is “The Dirty Mac” if that gives you any indication of what to expect. I can vouch for the appropriateness of the name. Blech. As gross as I thought it was, he didn’t mind it.

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I agree with @Herewego2003. My non-athlete daughter told me that most athletes prefer McClellan aka Dirty Mac b/c it’s closest to the athletic facilities. I am glad my daughter didn’t end up there. But with that said all the dorms really kind of dated looking. My daughter lived in Rounds last year which is substance free but did have a/c and the room lay out is better than many other dorms. I never found the dorm to be dirty just dated and need of an update, bathrooms included.

Parent of an incoming freshman here. The dorms and food were one of the deciding factors for Skidmore. The dorms looked to be in good shape. However, Skidmore certainly does not share the full story about the lack of sufficient housing and that almost all freshman will be in triples. This is not a good living and learning situation at all.

We are encouraging our child to make the best of things…whenever they get a room assignment which may be less than a month before they move in. But already my child is talking about transferring out after the first semester IF the housing situation is too uncomfortable. Skidmore charged a lot of $ for room and board - they need to deliver better housing. Kids can get a good education elsewhere for less money and with better housing options - Skidmore needs to realize that.

Keeping my fingers crossed and praying that all goes well for my child and other first year students.

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I 100% agree and had the same mindset last summer for my incoming freshman. During his college search, Skidmore students warned him that you have to suck it up freshman year for the better housing available later. This turned out to be true in his case, as he was able to get a single for his sophomore year. I know this isn’t the case for all students. “Kids can get a good education for less money”…is true of course and it bothers me that any concerns about living conditions are just “well, all colleges have similar problems!”. My nephew’s dorm at SUNY Geneseo was 10x better than Skidmore’s. It was a newer dorm, but at least they have newer dorms. Will his education and college experience be different? I can’t say. As I’ve said in previous posts, even though I was not at all happy with the housing conditions for the price I am paying in tuition, my (very OCD) son said, in the end, it wasn’t a deal breaker for him. Speaking of past experience, the first couple of weeks of dorm life was a world away from how it ended up (for the better). I am wishing you the best possible outcome for your incoming freshman!

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I was rather concerned too when my daughter was placed in a triple last year and I agree about the lack of transparency. (In fact during her accepted student days they promised doubles only for freshman due to Covid but then went back on their word about this.) They also did a terrible job managing the housing process this year although I was glad to finally get an email from the new(ish) Dean acknowledging the problems.

But with all this being said,last year my daughter went in with a positive attitude determined to make the best of it. Her dorm in Rounds Hall I thought was better than a lot of the dorms although I was surprised how dated the dorm was. Neither of her roommates turned out to be friends but she got along with them and made a real effort to make friends which took a few weeks but she found a great group of friends and even has more friends now then she did in high school. And one of her roommates dropped out for second semester and then the triple became a double and that was so much better. (The rooms are pretty spacious for a double!)

So even with the triple situation for first semester, my daughter really had a great freshman year and told us on many occasions how much she loves Skidmore and she will happily go back in the Fall. She was fortunate to get a single for Sophomore year and she knows it and appreciates it. She is excited too b/c she seems to know several kids who will be on her floor too.

I hope it works out for your child! If you have any questions happy to answer them!

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No.

Parent of a Skidmore freshman. My kid is in a spacious double. Shares a bathroom with 3 total other people. Luck? Maybe. Definitely not an athlete. Also “Dirty Mac” was just renovated so not so dirty anymore. I was so impressed by the easy move in process with upperclassmen to carry your stuff during move in! My kid went random as a freshman so no housing issues here. So far so good!

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That’s great, sounds like your child is off to a great start! Hope they have a great year! We moved my daughter in yesterday. She got a single and is very happy with it!

For other readers contemplating Skidmore, know that both Manoah and my kids got lucky. Everything else in this thread is still true – vast majority of freshman are in tight triples in older dorms (with very dated bathrooms) and sophomores have a good shot at singles but not all get them. But if not sophomores will be in doubles, not triples. Juniors and Seniors have a good shot on the nice on campus apts but not all get in.

Most of the dorms got new vinyl flooring and new mattresses this year, yay!

My daughter is overall very happy at Skidmore. Ever school has room for improvements.

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Freshman parent here. My daughter is in one of the forced triples in the tower. The room is about 10’ x 20’ for three people and the furniture. There was not room enough to move more than one person in at a time. Nine people share a single toilet and shower (there are two sinks). For my daughter the real issue is the lack of any private space whatsoever (she is introverted and needs to recharge). I realize not all kids would find this more than an inconvenience, but for my daughter it is a nightmare. We are looking at all our options at this point. I do wish we had known about this ahead of time so that we could have prepared.

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Sorry it’s been so challenging. Mine is a sophomore and has been through the triple situation. If it’s helpful I am happy to chat more – PM me if you want.

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That sounds frustrating. My wife and I had similar housing challenges decades ago at our public college.

We’ve kept this college on the radar for youngest kid. Both older kids went to other LAC’s with fewer students than Skidmore and had great housing options. This got me curious to look at the endowment of each college, since that often plays a role in the resources they apply to students. Oldest kid’s LAC has an endowment ~8x what Skidmore has and middle kid’s LAC has an endowment roughly 4.5x what Skidmore has. Of the three, Skidmore has the highest gross costs (tuition, room and board) and net cost (after typical aid). My middle kid’s college is $8K less a year gross. Even between my two older kids, there was a noticeable difference in the student resources favoring the one with the larger endowment. I can’t imagine the financial pressure for the college with 1/8th as much, and even less on a per student basis.

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My daughter is a freshman this fall (2022) and I am sorry to say she is miserable due to the forced triple situation. She is in Jonsson tower. I would add that nine people share one toilet, one shower, and two sinks. She goes to the library across campus to use the bathroom. The description provided by KeyDad001 is 100% accurate in my observation, as an example there wasn’t room for more than one student to move into the room at a time. There is a 4 x 6 area in the center of the room where there is room to move. I am very concerned about the fire hazard aspect of such a crowded situation. Skidmore keeps accepting too many students (they said this year’s class of 788 was their “largest ever”) and has nowhere to put them, and we were unaware of this going in. My daughter is considering a transfer if she is unable to get an accommodation to improve the situation.

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I would also add they aren’t even isolating students with COVID because there is nowhere to put them. It is a bad situation all around.

I’m sorry to hear of your D’s experience so far, I am sure it’s stressful.

I don’t know of any school (of course there may be some) that is still moving covid positive students out of their rooms. Most schools aren’t testing kids either, so I’m sure many cases are going undiagnosed (because at many schools the penalty for self-testing positive is to miss classes for 5 days, which many students don’t want to do)

I hope things work out for her, good luck.

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I think most colleges are leaving Covid positive students in the dorms this year.

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My older son went to Grinnell, youngest is at Skidmore. Financial aid for both was roughly the same, despite Grinnell’s huge endowment. The only difference really is that Grinnell got rid of loans and Skidmore still has some loans.

Yup, my Skid son tested positive and had 5 days of quarantine until today. His roommate obviously has it and is just going about his business.

The only thing I can say to freshman parents is that yup have a sophomore and been there last year. Some are lucky and in the school year the room de-triples and Skidmore wont put another kid in there. One of my daughter’s roommates dropped out for the 2nd semester and the room became a double and it was so much better. This year my daughter is lucky and has a single and she loves it. Hoping next year she gets an on campus apt but those are not as easy to get as in the past. In a worst case she’ll get a dorm single. So freshman year is indeed tough with the triples but if your kid can hang on it will get better. Hoping Skidmore learned their lesson and wont over enroll so much next year.
As for Covid, get your kid boosted asap! Mine did this weekend. Also make sure they get the flu shot too. Mine skipped it last year (I didnt know!) and came down with a horrible case of the flu right at finals. Illnesses spread fast on residenital campuses.

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