Dorms vs. College Apartments

Dorms & Apartments:

Dorm Room Panorama from 1984 by greggman (CC BY 2.0)

If you’re entering college for the first time in your life, you may be asking yourself questions you’ve never had to answer before. Along with trying to decide between different universities and majors, you must also decide on where you are going to live. Dorms and college apartments carry both benefits and disadvantages. Make sure you make the right choice before you make the final decision.


Dorms & Apartments: Dorm Life by borman818 (CC BY 2.0)
Dorm Life by borman818 (CC BY 2.0)

Dorms are on-campus living centers that will house you during the regular semester. Typically, dorms will come with a roommate, and you will be sharing common areas throughout the building. Common areas include bathrooms, kitchens and living areas.

As you may expect, there is very little time for privacy. You may also have to room with a stranger if no one else is coming to college with you. Some colleges also require you to purchase a meal plan, as kitchen appliances are not allowed in the rooms. Check with the university to see their policies on what you can and cannot bring into your dorm.

Dorms are also a great way to stay connected to campus life. This choice forces you to interact with your fellow students, and gives you a chance to experience student life. Living on campus also means you have close access to student organizations, study groups and classes. You’ll be living in a pretty tight space, so organize accordingly!

College Apartments

Dorms & Apartments: Junior Year Dorm Décor by Matt Nazario-Miller (CC BY 2.0)
Junior Year Dorm Décor by Matt Nazario-Miller (CC BY 2.0)

But you really do value your privacy, and don’t really want to share a dorm with a person you just met. In that case, a college apartment is the perfect choice for you. Although a dorm may bring you closer to the student body, there are also plenty of communities surrounding the campus. Take a tour of your favorite universities to see if there are good student apartments in the area.

Along with a bit more privacy than dorms, you also have access to a kitchen and other living areas that may only be shared with a few people. This means you have the freedom to actually cook for yourself, rather than be forced into a meal plan. In addition to your new kitchen, you may also have your own bathroom.

However, having an apartment also means that you now have a host of new monetary responsibilities. You must now pay for things such as water, electric and internet. You also have to deal with roommates that may not always clean up after themselves, and may not always want to pay their part of the utility bill. If you think that living with friends is the solution to these problems, you may want to reconsider. Try living with your friends over the summer to see if you are compatible for the rest of the year.

What is your final answer: Dorm or Apartment? Let me know what and why in the comments section!