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Accepted to college? Consider a speciality dorm

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Consider a specialty college dorm
Accepted to college? Consider a speciality dorm

Congratulations on being accepted to college!

Now you can start thinking about what it’s going to be like to live on campus. Most colleges have dorms specifically for entering freshmen. But you can also request or apply to be in a specialty dorm where students are in a community based on their academic major, special interest, language or lifestyle. If you have a preference regarding your living accommodations on campus, ask about these dorms during your college tour or freshman orientation. It might help you build a community during your first year away from home.

Specialty dorms fall into three categories: academic housing, lifestyle housing and living-learning communities.

Academic housing

If you want a focused education and wish to live with like-minded students, ask about one of the three types of academic dorms:

  • Academic major – This brings together students pursuing a common professional field

  • such as engineering, science or any other focused field of study.

  • Foreign language – If being immersed in the culture and language of a foreign country interest you, these dorms are an option. They may, however, require separate applications to determine your language proficiency, along with a signed agreement to participate in the language program required for the dorm.

  • Honors housing – Honors housing fuses residence hall living with honors learning, providing a stimulating intellectual and social atmosphere. Students in honors housing are pursuing many different paths of study, unlike those in dorms dedicated to one major.

Lifestyle housing

These dorms address the various lifestyles of the student body. Each college is different and may not offer all of the options below. Available housing options will be listed on the college’s website.

  • Gender neutral / LGBT – The goal is to offer a living environment that is welcoming, inclusive, and comforting for all students.

  • Substance-free – If you are a student who wants to be substance free and room with students who have made that commitment, consider this type of dorm. Students who live in substance-free housing agree that they and their guests will not consume alcohol or be under the influence of alcohol or other substances while in the residence hall.

  • Same-sex – Some students request to live in an all-female or all-male dorm or floor. Colleges accommodate these requests by designating same-sex floors in coed residence halls.

  • Race-designated – Recently, the University of Connecticut designated an all-male dorm for African-American students. In a recent article on Inside Higher Ed, officials said, “Researchers have found that black students face a number of barriers to finding college success on predominantly white campuses. They struggle with underrepresentation, social isolation, academic hurdles and racial stereotyping from both their peers and their professors.”

  • Quiet dorms – These dorms are designed specifically for those students who wish to live in a low-key atmosphere. These dorms are by no means an anti-social environment, but one in which its residents are more considerate and respectful of the desires of their dorm mates to stick to their own sleep, work, and study schedules.

Living-learning communities

Living-learning communities offer unique opportunities for students to explore their common interests and get to know faculty and advisors.

  • Enhanced learning – Students who live here explore a specific discipline (e.g., community service, service learning or leadership) through academic courses and extracurricular activities. These dorms are usually open to students of any academic major.

Themed housing – Themed dorms encourage residents to get to know each other by joining in a common cause or community service, such as activities centered on sustainable living and global awareness.

[Looking for more info from the TeenLife Experts? Here's why college is not going to be like high school!]

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