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So, you’ve decided to go to Indiana University? Wise choice, grasshopper… Now, where should you live?
I honestly think this might be one of the more difficult questions facing the incoming freshman. After all, you will spend considerable time in your dorm: studying, hanging out, meeting new people. It should be a place you enjoy.
The first tip for a student who has been accepted to IU: send in your dorm preference as soon as possible. If you choose not to attend IU, you will lose $25. Big deal. If you wait, like I did, to apply for housing until after you’ve decided where to go, you could be unhappy. I was admitted to IU in October of my senior year. Had I submitted my preferences then, I would have had my pick. But I also applied to a few private schools that I didn’t hear from until April. Picking your dorm in April pretty much guarantees you won’t get your first choice.
Second tip: An academic floor is an easy way to get into your first choice dorm. Many students don’t realize that an academic floor basically just means more quiet hours. But you’re in the dorm you want to be in! If you are accepted late in the year, and you want a popular dorm, consider applying for an academic floor. Here is what IU says that it means: (taken from www.iub.edu)
With at least one community of each gender in every undergraduate residence hall, extended quiet hours and special programs designed for the serious student, and specially trained staff, Academic Communities are the place to be for serious students. With at least one community of each gender in every undergraduate residence hall, extended quiet hours and special programs designed for the serious student, and specially trained staff, Academic Communities are the place to be for serious students.
Third tip:Do not underestimate the importance of air-conditioning Maybe I sound spoiled, but I lived in a non-air-conditioned dorm my freshman year and it smelled like BO until halfway through September. It was not comfortable to be in there and we were miserable.
Fourth tip: If you know what you want to major in, choose your dorm accordingly. If you are a music student, live in Read. It’s across the street from the music school, so a lot of music majors live there. If you are a business student, live in McNutt, Foster, Teter, or Briscoe. Those are much closer to the business school.
Let’s get down and dirty: The dorms
There are “neighborhoods” of dorms (at least that’s what the web site told me, I never heard them referred to as neighborhoods, but we’ll humor IU) on campus: Northeast, Northwest, Central and Southeast.
The Northeast dorms are actually more like apartments, and are available to upper level students, graduate students, and faculty. I never knew anyone who lived here. The dorms in this neighborhood are:
BBHN (Bicknell, Banta, Hepburn and Nutt), Campus View House, Evermann Apartments, Red Bud Hill and Tulip Tree House. If you’re an incoming freshman, obviously these are off your list.
The Northwest neighborhood is probably the most popular. The dorms here are:
Briscoe: Also known in my day as Disco Briscoe… Disco Briscoe is made up of two eleven story towers connected by a central building. It is very close to the fraternity and sorority houses, which makes it a party dorm of sorts. One thing: Briscoe does not have A/C. Ouch. Briscoe is coed by floor. (Girls on 1 Boys on 2 Girls on 3, etc) Briscoe also does not have a dining hall, but has a convenience store.
Collins: I think Collins is the most beautiful dorm on campus. It is also the most centrally located, almost smack in the middle of campus. Collins is a coed by floor and co-residential (both genders on same floor) dorm made up of a central grouping of three four story buildings, two satellite buildings, and Hillcrest Apartments. Collins has a dining hall, which is considered to be pretty good, but I never made it there. Collins, in my day, was known to be the “alternative” dorm. IU is a very diverse campus, and a lot of the more “alternative” (I don’t know how better to describe it- different colored hair, “hippie”-esque) students lived there.
Foster: Foster is AIR CONDITIONED. It is also where a lot of athletes live. It has five separate coed by floor buildings. It also has a bookstore and a food court. Foster is smack next to the business school and is one of the more popular dorms on campus. Foster, Briscoe, and McNutt are also the three closest dorms to fraternity parties, so they are lively.
McNutt: I lived here my sophomore year. “The Nut House” is made up of six four and five story buildings. They make two U shaped buildings connected by a central building where the cafeteria is located. McNutt is possibly the most social dorm, and probably the least diverse, to be honest. Do not be surprised if you wake up in the middle of the night to find that someone has pulled the fire alarm and you have to go outside. This is especially “fun” in the winter. We used to pile in the car and go to Steak and Shake when this happened. McNutt is also air-conditioned. It is across the street from Foster and next to Briscoe.
The Central neighborhood consists of:
Ashton: To be honest, I knew one guy who lived in Ashton and he hated it. It seems that a lot of graduate students live here. Ashton is seven four story buildings that have both coed by floor and coed on the same floor arrangements. Some have AC and some don’t, from what I understand.
Eigenmann: This used to be just a 21 and over dorm, but when I was a senior they opened it to all undergraduates. This caused quite an uproar to the grad students who considered this dorm to be their turf. Imagine being used to having a dorm with all grad students and now some snotty freshman is asking you to buy them beer. Hee hee. Anyway, Eigenmann is 14 stories, air-conditioned, and has a cafeteria.
Teter: This is a dorm where a fair amount of my friend lived. It is nicely located, airconditioned, and has both coed by floor living and coed on the same floor. It is five buildings ranging from three to six floors. It is pretty close to both Business and Education buildings.
Wright: This is made up of 18 connected buildings and was recently renovated. What I noticed about Wright is that even though the buildings seem disjointed, they have a lot of spirit. Wright usually fields teams for Little 500 and Mini 500 races, and always seems to have something going on.
Finally, the Southeast neighborhood:
Forest: I lived here when I was a freshman. At that point, it was an all-girls dorm. They called it “The Virgin Vault”. They had varying degrees of visitation from men. My floor was open (guys could be there whenever) but there was one floor where no men were allowed, EVER. Since then, the dorm has become co-ed. It is set up like Briscoe, with two 11 story building connected at the bottom by a central building where the cafeteria is. It is coed by floor now, what a difference. The cafeteria was pretty good there. If you are an education student, this is nicely located.
Read: Read is four buildings (wings) located around a central building. It is coed by wing. The rooms are suites that share a bathroom, which is kind of nice. They also had a really good cafeteria. As I said, Read is across from the music school, so a lot of music students live there.
Willkie: They have recently renovated this dorm, so it is totally different from when I was there. It is also two 11 story buildings, with the central hub building. Now, Willkie is air-conditioned and has suites, each with its own bathroom. There is no cafeteria, so Willkie students eat at Forest most of the time. My friends who used to live there went back to check it out after the renovation and they said it was just wayyyy too nice!
All of the dorms have set quiet hours, computer labs, and laundry.
I would recommend living on campus if you are a freshman. Once you are a sophomore, people either live one more year in the dorms, join a Greek house, or move off campus. Very few live on campus after sophomore year, but there are so many choices it is not a stigma to do so.
I had a blast at IU, and so many of my friends are those I met in the dorms. The dorms are a great way to meet a lot of different kinds of people and really let loose. Just beware, all of the dorms have a no alcohol policy, so don’t drink in your room (or don’t get caught).
Enjoy your time at IU!
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