A Q&A WITH ABBY
Former Allison Hall RA
It’s no surprise that some of the top questions we receive in Admissions center on housing. We get it — where you live and who you live with during your first year seems like it will shape your experience. For some students, their housing story does play a big role in their overall college experience; for others, their housing choices take a backseat to other aspects of college life.
As important as it is to hear the ins and outs of first-year housing options from staff members like us, getting advice from students who have been through the process can be a huge help in deciding what’s best for you.
We sat down with former Allison Hall Resident Assistant (RA) Abby to get her advice on some of the biggest housing questions that arise for incoming students.
How should I choose which Residence Halls are right for me?
It can be hard to not know the feel of the Residence Halls before you come here. You have to ignore the stereotypes and just focus on the basics:
- Do you want to live in a Residential Learning Community? When I came in I was a transfer student, so I knew I wanted to be in a Transfer Hall.
- Do you want a community bathroom or do you want a suite-style bathroom? That’s a huge preference.
- You also need to consider whether or not air conditioning is a priority for you, and prioritize different buildings based on that. Fourth floor Braiden, fourth floor Parmelee, Laurel Village, Academic Village, and Summit Hall all have air conditioning.
You should combine those three things, along with location, and go from there. If you want to be close to campus you can live in Allison or Braiden. If you want to live further out there’s options for that too — even then it’ll be a 10-15 minute walk to classes tops.
I didn’t get my top housing choices. What can I do?
You’ll always have the option of trying to move to a different hall or learning community when they get here, but sometimes it’s not possible just because of space. All hope isn’t lost but it’s good to kind of just take it as it is.
Allison Hall was not on my list of top choices, but when I got moved here to work I found that you kind of grow to love the building and the community that’s in it. So you do have the option to try to move, but you should always give it a shot. I also didn’t want community bathrooms and now it’s totally not a problem. You just have to have an open mind.
It can also help you make new friends — for example, if your friends are going to be living in Corbett and you got placed in Westfall, you’ll be able to make Westfall friends plus you’ll have your Corbett friends. You’re making a bigger community for yourself.
Suite versus community-style rooms. Myths/reality?
One of the myths about community-style is that there are three showers and 34 people in the hall. People think that they’re never going to be able to shower when they need to. In reality, I’ve only had to wait for a shower once, and it was for a few minutes.
The bathroom being open is not something someone should be concerned about at all because it’s almost always open. I thought it was going to be super annoying but half the time no one’s in the bathroom when you’re in there anyways if you’re concerned about privacy. And community bathrooms stay pretty nice because they have to clean it every day. Even with suite-style you may have to wait for someone because there’s just one shower — that’s definitely happened to me before.
Suite-style connects two rooms, so it’s four people sharing a shower and toilet via two connecting rooms. There’s a sink in each room and it’s nice to have your own sink. The newer community-style buildings, like Laurel Village, have a sink in the room and community-style showers/toilets.
When you’re thinking about community-style and suite-style, you also have to think about the genders on the floor. If you’re going to live in an older building, it’s going to be single gender floors. You need to know if that’s something you do or don’t want. All suite-style floors are co-ed. There are some co-ed community floors in Laurel Village that have two bathrooms on the floor.
Do suite-style rooms fill up more quickly than community-style?
Oh yeah, definitely (except for Allison Hall; because it’s so close to the business school, it’s desired for the location). If you want suite-style, the earlier you fill out your housing application, the better.
What’s the best way to find a roommate — what do you recommend?
You can either match with someone on the housing portal based on their lifestyle information, or you can request to live with someone you met elsewhere via the housing portal. It’s a really good tool and can be used well, but I also think that when you’re getting to know someone, having all of your characteristics placed together can lead to unrealistic expectations. It’s really easy to think that it’s going to be perfect, then when it’s not and it’s a little bit off you just hate it all. There are those expectations that this person was going to be your best friend.
Come in with a mindset where you say to yourself, “What I see online or what’s portrayed maybe isn’t the whole person that I’m going to be living with.” Have an open mind and be willing to move along with whatever happens.
I think rooming with someone you know already is exciting, but also being able to meet someone and get to know a different story or viewpoint than what you’re used to is really enlightening. College is a good opportunity to do this.