Dorms not just for freshmen

It is difficult to imagine the freshman experience without thinking of dorm life — crazy noises at odd hours, community bathrooms and meals all included. These are little more than memories, however, for most upperclassmen, as the University gives students the option of living outside of University housing after their freshman year. This becomes both a blessing and a curse when freshman year comes to a close and students with only one year of experience must decide which housing options are best.

Students that are involved in Greek life typically move into their sorority and fraternity house for their sophomore year and other students decide to sign leases with one of the many apartment complexes on campus.

“About 40 percent of our students return to University Housing each year and we’re very happy to have them,” said Kirsten Ruby, assistant director of Housing for Marketing.

For some students, making the decision of whether or not to live in the dorms for longer comes down to their willingness to really be on their own for the first time.

“I lived in the dorms last year and decided to live in the dorms again mostly because I didn’t think I was ready to live in an apartment because of all the cooking and responsibility,” said Tara Braceros, sophomore in AHS.

In addition to an apprehension toward independence, the pressure to sign a lease can also affect students’ decisions on whether to leave apartment living for later in their college career. For several apartment complexes, such as Green Street Towers, leases are signed sometime in either September or October of the year prior to living in the apartment — which can be discouraging.

“At the beginning of freshman year, you don’t really know that many people well enough to ask them to live with you in an apartment,” said Katie Forsman, sophomore in LAS.

According to Ruby, there are also academic benefits to living in the dorms for a longer period of time. University Housing takes care of cooking, cleaning, utilities and programming, which gives students more time to focus on their classes and homework.

“We have data that says that students who live with University Housing for at least two years are more likely to graduate from the University and are more likely to graduate in four years than students who move out after just one year in University Housing,” Ruby said.

There is also incentive to continue living in the dorms because of the constant rate program. Ultimately, the price that students pay their freshman year for housing will not increase if they decide to continue to live in University Housing in upcoming years.

Many students that aren’t freshmen worry that they won’t be around people their own age if they live in the dorm. However, several dorms, such as Nugent and Scott Hall, have floors that mostly consist of sophomores — making friends that much closer.

“It’s just convenient to knock on my friend’s door that lives down the hall from me,” Forsman said.

So whether students end up choosing to continue to stay in the dorms or to seek out an apartment, it’s important to remember that convenience and a constant rate program are hard amenities to pass up.

_Taylor is a sophomore in Media._