Choose co-ed housing if…
Group hangouts are your “thing.”
Like painting your nails and playing video games? Co-ed dorms will give you the best of both worlds. While you’ll definitely have the chance to make some great girl friends, guy friends won’t be hard to find either. Co-ed dorms tend to offer a more light-hearted atmosphere, and there’s never a dull moment, says Jordan Chang, a University of Florida senior who lived in co-ed housing while studying abroad in Shanghai. “The boys and girls would all go out together, so it was really easy to meet up with people,” she says. “And even better, we would all walk home together at the end of the night. It really made us girls feel a lot safer.”
Added bonus? When you’re baking in the community kitchen, we’re sure the boys will be more than willing to taste-test your awesome brownies – and the ones you burn.
With something always happening in the halls, Jordan says you can expect the noise level to definitely be greater in a co-ed dorm. When you’re living near boys, you should also be more aware of who’s around you. This means walking around in a towel or a sports bra may create more commotion than if you were in a single-sex residence hall. And remember, you should also prepare yourself for the possibility of seeing a bit more of the boys than you originally planned. If the thought of running into a boy in a towel makes you uneasy, a co-ed dorm may not be the right choice for you.
Choose themed housing if…
You’re looking to meet people just like you.
Eco-friendly living, art housing, international floors and more – the different types of themed-housing are endless. Whether you’re looking to connect with people who share your same interests, culture or major, themed-housing is probably your best bet. It’s a simple way to make friends fast. After all, having a conversation-starter when you first meet is the simplest way to kick things off on the right foot with potential new friends. This type of housing typically has tons of activities and events for residents, too. No need to worry about being bored when you’re living in a themed dorm.
Northwestern sophomore Katherine Mirani, who lives in the communications-themed residential hall, says she has loved the experience. Her 100-person dorm is filled with mostly journalism and film majors. “I got to know a lot of people really well through the dorm traditions,” she says. “For example, we do a 50-hour continuous radio broadcast for charity in the fall, and we have multiple screening rooms, so people are always watching movies together.”
Katherine says she wouldn’t trade her experience for anything, but she admits others in her dorm didn’t share the same feelings. While one of the perks of themed-housing is the formation of a close-knit group of people, this can just as easily be a negative. What happens if you really can’t connect with the people who live around you? Will it be easy for you to branch out and meet people outside of your dorm? Keep in mind that by choosing to live with people who share your same interests, you may not be fully expanding your horizons. But themed-housing can still be an adventure, so give it a fair shot if you’re considering it as one of your first choices.
Now that you know what to expect from each type of housing, think long and hard about your decision. Living in a dorm can be a great experience when you choose the setting that’s best for you. Get excited, prepare to make new friends and pick a dorm that’s going to make you love college life even more. Good luck, future and current collegiettes!