How do Dorms Work in College

Living on campus is an option that you can take advantage of at least once during your college career as a student. You may have various options while living on campus that might not be available in independent residential. Therefore, at this stage, you have finally at the point in your life where you are not under your parent’s supervision. Consequently, it is crucial to know how college dorms work.

What you need to know about how do dorms work in college

Dorm Life

Dorm rooms come in either traditional style or Suite style and apartment-style dorm. The traditional style consists of one room that you usually share with one roommate. However, some colleges allow you to have a single room at a higher cost. Traditional style rooms generally come with a twin-size bed, a desk, a closet, and a dresser accessible by each roommate. In addition, some have in-room sinks or small attached bathrooms. Suite style and apartment-style dorms are gaining popularity in most colleges over time. Similarly, you will still have 1-3 roommates when you opt for suite-style rooms. However, you will be lucky enough to have your room with various dorm amenities.

Living in a college dorm is vital because you can learn more about yourself and others. In addition, you learn how to take care of yourself and interact with other people. Nevertheless, remember that not all dorms are the same. For instance, some colleges offer private rooms or larger layouts. Consequently, the private room costs more money and might be much smaller than the shared rooms. Choosing a private room style might sound ideal because of privacy and few interruptions during personal study hours. However, sometimes the best part of collective living is sharing the experience with other learners and learning from each other.


On-campus housing is quite competitive during application and registration. However, the availability entirely depends on the number of dorms available on your campus and how early you register. Therefore, it is advisable to register in advance for on-campus housing to prevent being left out during selection. Some campuses offer all three dorm options for all learners. Therefore, as a freshman, consider that traditional dorm rooms are easier to get into than an apartment or suite-style dorm.

If you prefer an apartment or suite-style dorm, organize all of your potential roommates and sign up as soon as possible in advance. Consequently, this will improve your landing in an ideal apartment or suite-style dorm. Additionally, it is way easier to acquire a private room rather than choose to share. Many colleges and universities require fresh students to live on campuses in school. Some schools have freshman dorms and specific housing options for new students. Similarly, others won’t even provide an option to choose your roommate or residence hall.


Living in on-campus dorms is the most convenient because you can quickly get to your lecture halls. However, the above advantage entirely depends on the size of your campus. In some cases, it will take only 5-10 minutes to walk to class or less if you bike there. On-campus dorm living is a great option for students without a car or necessary resources to cater for transport costs. In addition, many dorm housing programs come with a meal plan included in the price. However, apartment and suite-style dorms may only have a limited meal plan option because most come with kitchens or kitchenettes as one of their amenities.

Privacy/Personal Space

Traditional dorm rooms have very little to no privacy and personal spaces. Therefore, you might share all of your living space with another person, which might be fun to some extent. However, it can be more difficult and tiresome if you pair up with not so much caring people. Similarly, you may have to consider or look for alternative places to study and hang out besides your room.

An apartment or suite-style dorm provides more privacy and personal space. However, that doesn’t mean that your room will necessarily be a fortress of solitude. You might end up with roommates and noisy neighbors during your study or nap time. Many people around you also mean being in the presence of noise. Some dorms have mandatory quiet hours to ensure all students get some much-needed sleep and personal study hours.


Personal responsibility will depend on which dorm style you choose. All on-campus housing options will require you to keep your room habitable. For instance, some require you to take out your trash regularly and not keep old or rotting food. In addition, others require you not to cause any permanent damage to anything that is school property and to do your laundry. Apartment or suite-style dorms give you responsibility for part of your meals and keeping all common areas clean. However, your university can hire a cleaning person to clean your bathroom on a semi-regular basis.


On-campus living can be a convenient living arrangement for various students. However, it’s crucial to note that campus housing can be expensive and demanding. Similarly, your privacy can deteriorate from one dorm to another. In terms of affordability, the dorm style is a vital determinant. Consequently, traditional dorm rooms are usually the cheapest option in most college student occupancy systems. Suite style and apartment-style dorms are a bit more expensive because of the amenities and options.

Other expenses will fall into place as well. Therefore, you can save money by excluding a meal plan from your board for an apartment or suite-style dorms. However, the more space and amenities your dorm has, the more money you pay. Remember, a few dorms will include kitchen options for you. It will be a common kitchen that you will probably share with the entire dorm if they do. Your cooking sessions can also collide with other students’.

Additionally, there is limited fridge space available unless you come with a mini-fridge in your room or suite. Not all dorms have laundry machines and services. Some will have them on a subscription basis, meaning you can’t access them unless you pay. Therefore, you will need to plan times for your laundry and may need to set a budget aside each month for Laundry services.


When going to a college in a new state or town, your biggest worry might be making new friends. Therefore, you can instantly connect when you opt for a shared dorm room. Roommates are the most influential part of your dorm life, and the quality of your dorm life depends on your roommate’s situation. The college randomly selects your first set of roommates unless you are lucky enough to know someone going to the same college dorm as you. However, you can arrange to live with new friends you make along the way in future semesters.

In addition, it’s crucial to be ready for disagreements with your roommates. Living with someone can strain and stretch your relationship to the maximum. Therefore, you can use your time in the dorms to learn how to solve problems with your fellow roommates. The privacy factor duly applies here too. Therefore, you will have to limit your options if you want plenty of privacy. Generally, you will live close to your roommate and many other college students. Other residents will also occupy the dorm’s common areas or visit your roommate because it’s unavoidable.

Resident Assistants

Every college dorm has its own rules that you must follow. Therefore, the dorm will hire a Resident Assistant to enforce the various rules. The Resident Assistants’ job is to report violations of rules and assist you with any problems you encounter during your stay at the dorm. Some RAs are very strict and engaging to protect students’ lives, while others take a more distant approach. Be ready to cope with the two approaches no matter where you live. It’s also crucial to note that your RA is likely just another student trying to survive their college stay just like you. Therefore, show them respect so that they do the same for you.

Remember, you only live in the college dorms once in your life. Therefore, treat everyone and everything as you would like the same to happen to you. Take care of personal and dorm property to ensure that you harmoniously part ways with the college. In addition, living in college dorms will teach you many valuable life lessons and survival skills once you get into the real world.

In Conclusion,

Movies often portray college dorm life as a constant party and happiness. However, most people have a very different dorm experience, with a small number of them having a fictional life. In college dorms, you will learn everything firsthand and in detail. There will be times when you feel privacy violations, but there will also be memorable moments that will stick for the rest of your life. Consequently, note that living in college dorms can get quite expensive and privacy. Therefore, consider your choices and preferences with proper scrutiny to avoid messy situations.


By Ryan

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