Incoming Freshmen's Guide to CU Dorms

Hey there incoming freshmen! You’re probably just getting your acceptance letters to CU Boulder, congrats! The next step is housing, and we know you have no idea where to start. There are 22 dorms at CU and that can be quite overwhelming. I was there. Let me help you with a guide to CU Boulder dorms and dorm life. Although I may be biased towards the one dorm I lived in my Freshman year (Buckingham hall is the best), I sifted through the entire Reddit thread of dorm reviews to give you the best guide to dorm life.

The dorms can be split up into three different categories: On-campus dorms, Kittredge dorms, and the off-campus Williams Village dorms (we just call it Will Vill).

Image // CU Boulder Today

Farrand, Libby, Cheyenne Arapaho, Baker, and Libby:

On-campus dorms are where many people want to be. These five dorms circle Farrand field and are right in the middle of campus life.

Pros - Any class you need to go to is only about a 5-minute walk. These dorms are for those who really want the full “college experience”. The action is always happening on campus, and they are closest to the hill. People refer to them as the party dorms and are perfect for those who want a busy social life. You are also right next to Farrand Field which provides you with a great space to meet up and have lunch with your friends, lay out a blanket and do homework or just nap.

The Farrand dorms are the most popular because it has it all. Just a few floors down from your room you have a whole dining hall and your own market. Crazy right?.

Cons - Obviously, these dorms are not for you non-party people. Some of them don't have AC. Also, it gets very loud on football game days and when there are concerts on Farrand Field.

 

Source // AboutBoulder.com

The Engineering Quad: Aden, Brackett, Cockerell, Crosman, Reed

If you are going to attend CU pursuing a degree in Engineering, these are the dorms for you. Not only are these dorms right next to the engineering building (you can literally see it out of your window), but you are only a 5-10 minute walk from the biggest dining halls (The UMC and the C4C).

Pros - Although they are still considered on-campus dorms, the engineering quad has a very different feel. You are living with a bunch of other like-minded people, so it will be easy to get homework help. You are also within a 5-min walk to all of your classes, so these are the perfect dorms for not only Engineering majors, but anyone who wants to have the “college experience” and still focus on academics.

Cons - They are not the newest. There is no AC so, at the start of the year, it may get a bit stuffy so make sure to bring a fan. Also, during tailgate season (football games) it can be pretty loud because you are still on the central campus.

 

Image // Kiewit

Kittredge: Kitt Central/West, Andrews, Arnett, Buckingham, Smith

As a proud Buckingham resident, I can tell you firsthand about living in Kittredge loop. Kitt, as we like to call it, is located just past the C4C which means it is a bit far from central campus. However, it feels like its own little community.

Pros - These dorms are great because they are secluded and have their own ponds to add to the peacefulness. Don’t be alarmed if you have to stop for geese crossing though. They are also the quiet dorms if you're looking for that kind of experience. The Kitt dorms are fairly new, so you will get to enjoy AC and extremely clean rooms. Another plus, they have their own market with an espresso bar to fulfill your coffee needs. I would recommend getting a vanilla latte as soon as you get to campus, you'll thank me later.

Cons - If you’re in a Kitt dorm, you do have to plan a little extra time to get to class, but I can usually get to most any building in 15 minutes just walking or you can catch the Buff Bus which is about a 5-minute walk.

 

Image // University Primetime

Williams Village: WillVill North, Stearns East/West, Darley North/South

I’m sure you’ve heard dreadful stories about Will Vill, but trust me, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Yes, it is off campus, but it comes with a few amenities that make living there actually pretty great.

Pros - You have your very own dining hall, rec center, and the Buff bus comes right to your front door. These dorms also have AC, which many on-campus dorms do not. Also, if you are lucky enough to get a room on the top floors, you will have an amazing view. And don’t worry about feeling left out, Will Vill gets pretty crazy on the weekends.

Cons - if you are in Will Vill I would plan to leave 30 minutes ahead of anything you have to be at to accommodate for the off-campus location. This may be hard if the rest of your friends live on campus.

 

Image // CU Independent

Sewall and Athens North

Some forget about Sewall and Athens North, but they have some amazing qualities.

Pros - First, they are located near the Fine Arts buildings (such as the dreaded Humanities building) as well as right next to the rec center. These dorms are also closest to the Hill, so walking to restaurants and stores is about a 10 minute or less walk. Sewall has its own market for late night snacks, and Athens North has its own bus to central campus.

Cons - Athens North does have a pretty hefty hill to walk up to get to campus which may make it difficult during the winter months. If you are not an arts and sciences major, they can be farther away from other classes.

 

Image //  CommRAP

One Last thing: RAPs

Residential Academic Programs (RAPs) are a type of community living that helps make a big school feel more friendly. There are different interests involved in RAPs, there’s a communications RAP, a business RAP, honors RAP and some others. Basically being in a RAP means that your dorm is involved in bonding with the people you live with. Pictured is Dogs and Donuts, an event put on frequently by CommRAP. You have classes just downstairs INSIDE your residence hall and you get great opportunities to meet new people. Some dorms have these and others don’t but if you choose a dorm that has a RAP, you have to be in it, so choose wisely. RAPS do, however, cost a little extra so keep that in mind!

These are the list of dorms that provide RAPs:

  1. Andrews Hall (Engineering Honors RAP)

  2. Arnett Hall (Global Studies RAP)

  3. Baker Hall (Baker RAP)

  4. Buckingham Hall (CMCI RAP)

  5. Cheyenne Arapaho (Leeds Business RAP)

  6. Farrand Hall (Farrand RAP)

  7. Kittredge Central Hall (Global Engineering RAP)

  8. Kittredge West Hall (Health Professions RAP)

  9. Libby Hall (Libby RAP)

  10. Sewall Hall (Sewall RAP)

  11. Smith Hall (Honors RAP)

  12. Williams Village North (Pre-Business RAP)

 

What happens after you choose a dorm?

Okay, you know what dorm you want to be in, now what? The University of Colorado Boulder allows you to either choose your roommate or start the “random roommate” process, which isn't so random. You will fill out a survey that will tell the school everything about yourself. What time you go to sleep, what temperature you like the room at, if you are an introvert or an extrovert, where you like to study, and more! Once you fill out the survey, the school sets up a “facebook-like" group that will allow you to view everyone's profiles and you can choose a roommate from there. If all else fails (like what happened for me), they will assign you a roommate depending on how you answered the survey. This selection is very accurate and a lot of people end up with roommates better than they could have picked them! The process makes sure you are compatible and it’s a great way to make a new friend or two!

Image // Boulder, Colorado

I hope this helps you future baby buffs to get an idea of where you might wanna live next year! Good luck applying!