College dorms bring together many types of students each school year, from first-year learners leaving home for the first time to upper-level resident advisers patrolling the halls to ensure everyone behaves. On-campus housing may conjure up images of cramped spaces, long hallways, and communal bathrooms. However, living areas vary significantly depending on the college and university. Some schools use high-rise dormitories that feel corporate and uninviting, while others provide rooms in elaborate buildings and halls that feature grand architecture.
Whether one dorm room feels superior to another remains largely subjective, but variables such as room size, amenities, and access to campus resources can make college living more enjoyable. These factors contribute to a student's overall happiness when it comes to living on campus. Schools with dorms and living spaces that help students feel safe and succeed in their studies also lead to a more positive college experience. When looking at schools, students should weigh their housing options and determine if any college or university offers particularly unique and/or fun living options.
What Are America's Best College Dorm Rooms?
High Point University
|High Point, NC||
Located just southwest of Greensboro, North Carolina, High Point University offers undergraduate and graduate programs. A private institution, HPU emphasizes a holistic education through experiential learning, community service, and cooperative research. Students can take advantage of different housing tier options, including single or double rooms with full beds, built-in shelves, desks, and media centers. The university also offers some suites, and living spaces include internet access, complimentary laundry service, and cable. All residence halls offer communal areas and study spaces. Students can also choose to live in substance-free, co-ed, or gender-specific residence halls.
Students can request one of HPU's student townhomes, which feature full kitchens, dining rooms, and multiple bedrooms. Additional amenities include access to recreational facilities, swimming pools, a post office, and private bathrooms.
Washington University in St. Louis
|St. Louis, MO||
Founded in 1853, Washington University in St. Louis provides undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees to over 15,000 students annually. WU uses several campuses, totaling more than 2,000 acres.
First- and second-year students live on the South 40 -- a large swath of land reserved for student housing on the main Danforth Campus. The South 40's 24 residence halls mix traditional and contemporary buildings, providing single-, double-, and triple-occupancy rooms. Modern buildings include more suites, with shared bathrooms for up to six students, while traditional residence halls offer shared bathrooms on each floor.
Buildings also contain kitchen and laundry facilities, study spaces, computer labs, and common areas. Rooms include twin beds, desks, chairs, closets, and central air conditioning. Upper-level students living in the Northside facilities enjoy apartments or suite-style housing with access to underground parking, storage rooms, and fully-furnished living areas.
Dedicated to providing a liberal arts education based on the common good, Brunswick's Bowdoin College provides students with access to many of Maine's diverse landscapes. With proximity to lakes, rivers, coastlines, and city-life, students at Bowdoin study and live in a setting that emphasizes academic success and community involvement. First-year students at Bowdoin live in one of eight residence halls, which employ resident advisers or proctors to guide and counsel students through their first year of college.
Undergraduate rooms at Bowdoin come with twin beds, desks, dressers, closets, and bookshelves. Students can also access complimentary internet service, storage areas, and communal spaces in all residence halls, which feature secure key-card entry. Upper-level learners can live in university apartment houses or residence halls that include kitchen, laundry, and dining room facilities. Students at all levels can live in single, double, triple or quadruple rooms.
Indiana Wesleyan University, located in the city of Marion, provides undergraduate and graduate programs at its 320-acre campus and online. Affiliated with the Methodist Church, IWU's academic programs combine Christian teaching with student-centered coursework and research. First-year students choose one of eight residence halls, while sophomores, juniors, and seniors can opt to live in suites and apartment-style housing. The school does not offer co-ed residence halls.
Living quarters at IWU include twin beds, desks, and closet areas with internet and cable access and free laundry. Students can also take advantage of exercise facilities, chapels, study rooms, and communal areas that host games and social events. Suites and apartments accommodate up to eight students, with co-ed options in some apartment buildings. On-campus living spaces -- within walking distance of the Barnes Student Center -- also feature adjacent basketball and volleyball courts.
|Walla Walla, WA||
Located in Walla Walla, Washington, Whitman College offers 48 undergraduate majors and 88 off-campus programs. First-year students at Whitman live in one of four residence halls, while upper-level students can reside in residence halls or interest houses. Rooms in residence halls include beds, desks, and closets. Students in some rooms can bunk their beds. All residence halls feature kitchen and free laundry facilities, and several buildings contain large fireplaces in communal areas. The campus also provides large green spaces with volleyball courts and ponds.
Interest houses -- available to upper-level students -- bring together learners to form a community based on a shared interest, such as global awareness, writing, or environmental studies. Students living in one of these houses meet each week and present on-campus programming throughout the year.
An all-women institution in Claremont, California, Scripps College belongs to the Claremont College consortium. Founded in 1926, Scripps offers more than 50 undergraduate academic programs. Housing at Scripps varies in style and function, featuring residence halls and university houses that accommodate anywhere from 25-500 students. Living quarters at Scripps come equipped with beds, desks, and dressers, and most rooms feature large windows with scenic views of gardens or the school's Mediterranean-inspired architecture.
Residence halls include courtyards, patio areas, external staircases, and large dining rooms, while thematic communities bring together students studying similar fields. Wilbur Hall, for example, houses STEM majors, and several floors of other residence halls contain dedicated "language corridors," where students can receive language assistance. Other amenities include communal kitchens, laundry facilities, and parking.
|Bryn Mawr, PA||
Bryn Mawr College, located about 10 miles northwest of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, offers undergraduate degrees to women. The school also hosts graduate and professional programs for men and women alike. Bryn Mawr's Quaker heritage contributes to its intellectual rigor and commitment to excellence. The school's all-female on-campus population lives in one of 13 residence halls or houses. Each building features a different floor plan and various types of living spaces. All residence halls contain communal areas, laundry facilities, and vending machines.
Dorms consist of single-, double-, and triple-occupancy rooms with beds and desks for each student. Additionally, living quarters in historic buildings like Merion Hall include window seats and fireplaces, while Brecon Hall offers high ceilings and hardwood floors throughout. Beds vary from captain beds to bunk beds, and the school encourages students to embrace their creativity when adapting to each room's unique measurements and features.
|Saratoga Springs, NY||
A private school in Saratoga Springs, New York, Skidmore College offers more than 40 undergraduate programs. The school's 1,000-acre campus includes the 250-acre North Woods, which boasts a network of hiking trails, and the 54,000-square foot Arthur Zankel Music Center.
First-year and sophomore students living at Skidmore reside in one of eight residence halls, divided between two quads. Rooms in seven of these residence halls feature suites with 4-9 students sharing one bathroom. The other hall contains one communal bathroom per floor. Rooms include beds, desks, dressers, and closets, and many living quarters come with padded window seats. Residence halls provide students with internet access, laundry facilities, kitchen areas, exercise rooms, and study spaces. All housing at Skidmore is substance and alcohol free, and students can also elect to live in special interest communities.
Rice University, founded in 1891 in Houston, TX, uses a residential college system that houses 74% of its undergraduate students, including 99% of all first-year learners. Rice's 11 residential colleges offer students a community environment with rooms that feature single-, double-, triple-, and quadruple-occupancy. Suites and some rooms contain private bathrooms, although most residents share with 1-3 other students. Living quarters come with extra-long mattresses, desks, closets, and chairs for all students.
Residential colleges, such as Lovett, include four buildings with upper and lower common areas for students to eat, study, play games, and spend time with friends. Additionally, Hanszen College includes two sundecks, a movie room, and a music room and reserves a section of its basement for parties. Students in all colleges can access kitchen and laundry facilities, weight rooms and exercise areas, study spaces, and even HBO GO.
Grand Canyon University
Grand Canyon University, which recently became a nonprofit institution, offers undergraduate and graduate programming to online and on-campus students. The Baptist-affiliated institution provides undergraduate housing on its campus in Phoenix, Arizona, with suite-style accommodations. GCU's 11 residence halls include double- and triple-occupancy suites with multiple bedrooms, bathrooms, and large living rooms. Residence halls house first-year, transfer, and returning students.
Rooms include twin beds, desks, chairs, dressers, and couches with closet space for each student. GCU also offers unfurnished apartments with full kitchens for returning students. All of the school's residence halls and apartment buildings feature full laundry facilities and provide access to large courtyards, green spaces, and recreational areas, including swimming pools and charcoal barbeques. Additionally, students taking classes or working on campus during the summer can apply for summer housing.
Johnson University -- headquartered in Knoxville, Tennessee -- provides more than 40 undergraduate and graduate programs. This Christian institution features two residence halls: Johnson Hall and Brown Hall. Most undergraduates stay in double-occupancy dorm rooms, although Clark Hall contains some single rooms. Residence halls contain kitchen areas, laundry facilities, and storage spaces. All living quarters feature moveable furniture, internet access, and private bathrooms. Students can also access workout facilities and resident advisers who provide guidance and encouragement.
Married and nontraditional students can live in one of Johnson's townhomes, duplexes, mobile home units, or apartments. Rental costs may cover utilities for nontraditional housing, although students must apply for this consideration. Learners with small children can also take advantage of Johnson's on-campus early childhood learning center.
|Virginia Beach, VA||
Regent University offers undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs to students on its 70-acre campus in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Less than 20 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, Regent offers two housing options: Regent Commons and Regent Village.
Regent Commons provides undergraduates -- mostly first- and second-year students -- with studio and multiple-bedroom suite options. Regent Commons features 24-hour security, workout facilities, internet and cable access, and free laundry. Regent Village -- designed for older and nontraditional students -- includes apartment-style living spaces. The school provides a shuttle between Regent Village and its main campus for convenient commuting.
All Regent Commons rooms include a bed, desk, chair, nightstand, and dresser, while Regent Village apartments may be furnished or unfurnished. As a Christian university, residents of Resident Commons and Regent Village attend weekly Life Group meetings to build their communities and their connections to God.
Florida Gulf Coast University
|Fort Myers, FL||
Located in the city of Fort Myers, Florida Gulf Coast University fosters entrepreneurship and innovation between faculty and students. FGCU's campus includes 400 acres of preserved or restored natural spaces. Students live in residence halls with modern apartment-style rooms and suites. Rooms contain beds, desks, chairs, and closets.
First-year students living in South Village can access swimming pools, fitness rooms, movie theaters, and gaming areas, while upper-level students at North Lake Village enjoy amenities like hammocks, fire pits, swimming pools, and sand volleyball courts. Students can also take advantage of restaurant-style dining and a nearby boardwalk and waterfront. Year-round student housing at West Lake Village also includes access to a swimming pool, game room, and other recreational facilities. All on-campus residents of FGCU benefit from 24-hour security, laundry services, and computer lab access.
|New Haven, CT||
Yale University has offered academic programs to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students from around the world for more than 300 years. Housing at Yale varies significantly, due in large part to the school's long history. Undergraduate housing -- assigned based on a student's college -- creates cohorts of students who remain together for the entirety of their baccalaureate program. All residential colleges provide communal areas, libraries, dining facilities, and seminar rooms.
Each college features different amenities. For example, residents of Grace Hopper College can access an art room, a cabaret theater, game rooms, fitness facilities, computer labs, pottery and music studios, and study areas. Alternatively, Pauli Murray College residents can easily access a basketball court, music practice rooms, and dance rooms.
Graduate students living on Yale's campus can choose to live in dormitories or apartment buildings, all of which feature laundry facilities and storage space.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Known for its STEM programs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge stands as an elite academic and research institution. Undergraduates at MIT live in one of 10 facilities. Buildings offer striking architecture and floor plans. For example, Simmons Hall contains over 5,000 windows and houses almost 350 undergraduate students.
Most residence halls, including Baker House and Maseeh Hall, feature single rooms for returning students and double-, triple-, or quadruple-occupancy rooms for all students. Undergraduate residence halls include rooms furnished with desks, chairs, and beds. Some residence halls, such as Random Hall, even allow students to keep cats. All accommodations provide dining, laundry, and computer facilities for residents.
Graduate students on MIT's campus live in furnished or unfurnished residence halls and apartments, with many living quarters designed especially for married students and students with families.
Liberty University combines a conservative Christian worldview with higher education to offer almost 350 academic programs from its Lynchburg, VA, campus. Undergraduate and graduate students living on LU's campus can choose from six housing options: The Quad, The Hill, The Circle, East Campus, The South Tower, and The Residential Commons. 2-5-person rooms may feature private or shared bathrooms with adjacent communal areas, study spaces, and laundry facilities.
Some buildings feature apartment-style living, while other residence halls use traditional rooms that come equipped with beds, desks, chairs, and dressers. East Campus provides students access to swimming pools, while The Quad brings together 10 students who share five bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen. Additionally, LU recently launched an independent housing program for students who want to avoid curfews and cleanliness checks while still living on campus.
Pomona College, based in Claremont, CA, provides 48 undergraduate programs to almost 1,700 students, most of whom reside on campus. Students at Pomona live in one of 16 residence halls on the school's 140-acre campus. South Campus residence halls, like Lyon Court, house first- and second-year students, while most juniors and seniors live on North Campus.
Students choose from singles, double-occupancy rooms, and apartment-style rooms and enjoy access to pools, courtyards, patios, and scenic views. Students can also take advantage of laundry and kitchen facilities, large lobbies and recreational areas, and other communal spaces. Rooms include beds, desks, and closets or wardrobes.
Pomona features many substance-free residence halls, and some buildings bring together students who share common interests. For example, the Oldenborg Center for Modern Languages and International Relations houses students interested in teaching and learning these topics.
Loyola University Maryland
Founded in 1852, Baltimore's Loyola University Maryland combines Jesuit ideals with higher education. Loyola's main Evergreen Campus contains 17 residence halls, which include laundry facilities, vending machines, and recreational areas. All residence hall rooms come equipped with beds, desks, chairs, and wardrobes or closets.
Most first-year students live in residence halls with double rooms and shared bathrooms, and university staff clean these areas daily. Each hall contains a chapel, a lobby with study spaces, and kitchen facilities. Students can also live in apartments and suite-style rooms with up to five suitemates. Several residence halls also use solar panels.
Returning and upper-level students can live in apartments at The Social at North Charles. Residents of this building gain access to game rooms, swimming pools, community gardens, a bike-repair center, and a fitness center with 360-degree view of Baltimore.
With more than 100 academic programs, Southern Baptist-affiliated Union University provides apartment-style housing for all students. First-year students at this Jackson, TN-based institution live in quarters designed for four students in the Heritage Residence Complex. Students share a living room space, a full kitchen, and one bathroom. Each student's room comes with a bed, desk, chair, closet, and bookshelves. The Heritage Complex also hosts events and programs for students.
Upper-level learners who live in The Quads share a similar space but their apartments contain two bathrooms. Students who live in these apartments -- segregated by sex -- can participate in treasure hunts, outdoor activities, and holiday events to build a stronger sense of community with their neighbors.
Graduate students, married students, and students with families can live in UU's Hope Quad or take advantage of Warmath Family Housing. Each residence offers cable, internet, and full utilities; however, Warmath Family Housing does not provide furniture.
Texas Christian University
|Fort Worth, TX||
Texas Christian University offers almost 200 programs to undergraduate and graduate students. Residents at TCU's main campus in Fort Worth live in one of 18 residence halls, many of which provide housing for first-year students only. Several residence halls feature co-ed living spaces.
Rooms for first-year students at TCU include adjustable beds, desks, chairs, dressers, mini refrigerators, and microwaves. Students may share bathrooms with suitemates, depending on their building. Upper-level students enjoy private bedrooms and shared bathrooms in units designed for 2-4 students. Residence halls also contain laundry facilities, game rooms, internet and cable access, and study spaces.
Many upper-level students reside in apartments, such as areas like Village East. Village East offers fully-furnished apartments with washers and dryers and private bathrooms. These accommodations provide 24-hour security and allow residents to keep pets.
Located in the suburbs of Chicago, Wheaton College provides Christian-focused liberal arts programs to undergraduate and graduate students at its residential college. The campus includes four residence halls, five apartment buildings, and 25 campus houses for students.
First- and second-year students live in Fischer Hall or Smith-Traber Hall. These halls consist mostly of double-occupancy rooms and feature shared lounges on each floor, communal or suite-shared bathrooms, and internet access. Rooms use modular furniture -- ideal for loft setups -- and contain bulletin boards. Students can access kitchen facilities, storage, communal spaces, and a 24-hour computer lab.
Upper-level undergraduates and graduate students can live at one of Wheaton's residence halls or in an apartment building with accommodations for 2-5 students per unit. Apartments include living room furnishings and kitchen appliances. Campus houses -- also fully furnished -- give 5-10 students the chance to live together on or near campus.
Santa Clara University
|Santa Clara, CA||
Santa Clara University, based in California's Silicon Valley, emphasizes ingenuity and creativity. This Jesuit institution houses first- and second-year students at eight residential learning communities (RLCs), with upper-level students residing in RLCs or University Villas. RLCs establish connections between students outside of the classroom, giving learners the opportunity to engage in group activities and experiences.
Residences feature a variety of floor plans, ranging from single rooms to four-person apartments. All rooms include beds, desks, chairs, and storage space. Students in RLCs can also access game rooms, laundry facilities, communal spaces, and green spaces.
Fully-furnished apartments at University Villas -- as well as those found in neighboring units -- include amenities like outdoor game areas, barbeque pits, balconies and patios, and private entrances.
Christopher Newport University
|Newport News, VA||
Christopher Newport University -- located in Newport News, VA -- provides modern facilities in a historic setting. Students in residence halls at CNU enjoy internet access, satellite television, electronic entrances, microwaves and refrigerators, and laundry facilities. Individual rooms may include these amenities or they may be found on individual floors. All rooms come with beds, chairs, desks, closets, and dressers. Residents of Potomac River Hall and York River Hall also enjoy fireplaces in their main lobbies.
First- and second-year students must live on campus, while upper-level students can live in CNU's apartments, suites, or themed facilities. Students living in residence halls and apartment can walk to recreational fields and take advantage of ample study spaces. Many of CNU's staff live on campus and provide students with 24-hour support.
California Baptist University
California Baptist University offers dozens of undergraduate majors and more than 30 graduate degrees from its campus in Riverside. This Southern Baptist institution provides four living areas for first-year students with facilities for men, women, and co-eds. Residence halls include double- and triple-occupancy rooms, while The Cottages bring together as many as nine students in an apartment-like residence. Amenities for first-year learners include internet access, cable, secure electronic entry, vending machines, and laundry facilities. All rooms come with beds, desks, chairs, and dressers.
Upper-level students residing in one of CBU's residential areas live in fully-furnished apartments. University Place, for example, offers studio apartments and townhouses for up to five students, while residents of The Colony can take advantage of a pool and an outdoor basketball court. The school also hosts a Global Village, designed to encourage culturally supportive interactions between international and domestic students.
Saginaw Valley State University
|University Center, MI||
Based in the Great Lakes Bay region, Saginaw Valley State University in University Center, MI, provides suites, living centers, and themed communities to freshmen cohorts who live and study together. Rooms include beds, desks, drawers, and nightstands with shared living spaces that contain sofas, chairs, and dining tables. Students enjoy internet access, cable, secure electronic entry, laundry facilities, and kitchenettes. The themes for living communities vary, but include honors, leadership, and business emphases.
Students past their first year can live in the school's Living Centers, Pine Grove, or University Village. Pine Grove and University Village include fully-furnished apartments with internet, cable, and laundry facilities. Students can also access nearby outdoor basketball and volleyball courts. Comparable to the themed living communities reserved for first-year students, Pine Grove provides a global community housing option for upper-level students.
The variables that help make a dorm room more attractive include size, amenities, safety, and unique perks that a school offers as part of a housing package. The square footage of a room, size of the bed, amount of closet space, and proximity to communal areas factor heavily into a living space's quality. Different types of housing options (e.g., single rooms and married-student apartments) and easy access to campus resources (e.g., dining and wellness facilities) can also separate a good college experience form a bad one.