The Pros and Cons of Dorm Life

The Pros and Cons of Dorm Life
  • Opening Intro -

    You are heading off to college and will soon encounter a familiar environment: West Hall, the dorm building you have lived in for the past two years.


You know every creaky step that leads up to your second floor room and are all too familiar with the rank odors that linger around the men’s shower area. The well worn couches in the common area have served as your backup sleeping area on those nights when you returned too late to wake up your room mate. Yes, you have dorm life down pat, but your ideal living arrangement would be an off-campus apartment, something you intend to explore in earnest as soon as you get settled in.

Dorm life has its advantages and disadvantages, points you will explore as you weigh your apartment options. The following are among the chief pros and cons of dorm life.

Pro: Proximity

West Hall or whatever you call your dorm building is convenient to everything. Like many dorms, this one is situated on the edge of the campus and is within walking distance to your class buildings, the library, food and entertainment. A 10-minute walk brings you to the center of your campus, for the closest living quarters your college offers.

Con: Amenities

Your dorm room isn’t bad, but it offers far fewer amenities than you have at home. Even a small apartment has its own parking pad and offers a separate study area. Your room’s kitchenette can hardly qualify as one, while an apartment provides a full kitchen area with a table, not to mention a separate bath that you don’t have to share with scores of other students.

Pro: Cost

When it comes down to it, dorm life is the least expensive housing option for most college students. You know what your costs will be and you don’t have to worry about utility bills, rent, insurance and other overhead. With an apartment, your costs can quickly spiral out of control, wrecking your budget and testing your nerves. Of course, if you take in two or three roommates you can share that expense, but you’re just repeating dorm life at another location.

Con: Privacy

When you live in a dorm, everyone knows your business. Especially your room mate. If you value your privacy, then dorm living does nothing to preserve it. Perhaps the biggest challenge for some is the communal feeling that never goes away. You may not like sharing toilets and showers with people you barely know.

Pro: Housekeeping

If you live in a dorm, housekeeping is not an issue. Sure, your roommate may encourage you to clean up your mess or at least keep it in your area. Ultimately, the cleaning of shower stalls and toilets is handled by someone else, just like “Mom” still does back home.

Con: Isolation

Living off campus can remove you from the camaraderie of your classmates. You may be just blocks away from campus, but it can seem miles away when you’re living in an apartment. You might even begin to feel lonely if your friends are hanging out in the dorm building, at the library, in the student center or in the cafeteria and you’re holed up in your apartment.

Dorm Life

Will you make the move to a dorm this year? The advantages and disadvantages are clear, but it may take you exploring your options to grasp what they are. If you decide to rent, your landlord will look at your income. As a full-time student, you do not make much money, therefore another adult will have to co-sign your lease. That may mean getting parental approval for your move as well as their financial backing.

See AlsoDorm Living: What to Bring With You to College


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Categories: College Living