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Quill

Anyone here against dorm living for philosophical reasons?

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Quite possibly, this is one of those "Quill-is-one-strange-and-quirky-chic" moments. I did not attend college until well into adulthood and never lived in a dorm. None of my siblings did, either. Or my parents. So maybe I just don't get it.  But when I took DD16 on a visit to a college not long ago, I found the dorm arrangements to be very, very, very far from what I want for any of my kids, but particularly this kid.

 

My reasons are philosophical. The pervasive thought that arose in my mind as we toured was, "This is like summer camp." I couldn't quite get over the thought that almost all responsibility is removed from the young adults, while they also have more freedom to make decisions than they most likely ever have had before. They aren't responsible for obtaining food or cooking it or cleaning up from it or removing the debris it generates. They really can't even cook if they want to, unless you could call nuking something in the dorm room microwave "cooking." No need to clean their own bathroom; the maids do that. Even if they take their laundry to the school laundry room, they don't have to add their own soap and they receive a text message when the laundry cycle is over. 

 

It seemed to me like this is how you raise dependent adults who expect some outside authority to think through all their needs. It seemed to me that this is how kids grow up removed from the exchange of actual money - just swipe the card for meal expense, swipe the card for laundry services, swipe the card for everything. 

 

Do I have any company in my thoughts? Are my assessments wrong? Anyone avoiding or planning to avoid dorm life for similar reasons?

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You know, I never thought about the fact that life was so simple in the dorms. (It wasn't that simple where/when I went to school especially since I earned my way through college through scholarships & part time work.)

 

My philosophical issue with dorm life is based on my knowledge of how much co-ed commingling goes on even in the single-sex-dorms at those Christian colleges nowadays. It was a common occurrence for boys to sleep over on the girls side of the floor or vice versa at the public U I graduated from 15+ years ago.

 

Dorm living is a lion's pit of peer pressure & temptation. *shivers*

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I have very mixed feelings about dorm life. I do think dorms help to build a sense of community for students who are just starting to create a new support network. I'm grateful for the jobs that dorm life creates; I worked as a RA for a couple of years during my undergrad years to pay for room and board. It's convenient to live near/on campus and to not have to worry about meal preparation during a very busy time of life. (I was taking 18 hours and working 20 hours a week.) On the other hand, the environment I experienced is not an environment that I want my 18 year old child to live in. The amount of drinking, drugs, p*rn, hooking up, bullying, eating disorders, and just general stupidity was overwhelming. In addition, it is *expensive* to live on campus. At the private university I attended, it's now $12,000/year for room & board, at the state university, it's "only" $9-10,000/year.

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At the private university I attended, it's now $12,000/year for room & board, at the state university, it's "only" $9-10,000/year. 

 

I suspect that is not for a year.  It is for a school year, when school is in session.  Kids are frequently kicked out over breaks  (Thanksgiving and Christmas) and the dining hall totally shuts down.  If you're lucky, its 7 months (Sep thru April minus a month of holidays).  Summer term is extra. That's more than $1000 a month! Unless you're in NYC or DC, it's probably the most expensive option.  

 

It is, however, usually the closest option and, depending on the location, may be the only "safe" option.

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I have very mixed feelings about dorm life. I do think dorms help to build a sense of community for students who are just starting to create a new support network. I'm grateful for the jobs that dorm life creates; I worked as a RA for a couple of years during my undergrad years to pay for room and board. It's convenient to live near/on campus and to not have to worry about meal preparation during a very busy time of life. (I was taking 18 hours and working 20 hours a week.) On the other hand, the environment I experienced is not an environment that I want my 18 year old child to live in. The amount of drinking, drugs, p*rn, hooking up, bullying, eating disorders, and just general stupidity was overwhelming. In addition, it is *expensive* to live on campus. At the private university I attended, it's now $12,000/year for room & board, at the state university, it's "only" $9-10,000/year.

 

All very good points. The cost, too. It doesn't cost $10K/year for dd to live under our roof. That cost does seem needless to me. 

 

The college we were looking at has a low tuition rate, but residency is required for freshman and sophomores. (They waive it for some who live nearby, but not for off-campus living as a choice.) I assume some colleges are using this as a way to get their listed tuition rates down low, but if you have no choice over living expenses, the cost goes right back up.  :glare:

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Interesting.  That's not how the dorms are at my dd's school.

 

They clean their own rooms, including the bathroom (they share with the room next door, I guess if she was in one of the dorms with hallway bathrooms, they would be cleaned for them).

 

There are kitchens on every floor that can be used to cook real meals, although you have to have your own pots and pans.

 

When they eat in one of the cafeterias, they are responsible for cleaning up their own table, at least carrying their tray to the kitchen window, dumping any trash and putting silverware in a separate area.

 

She has to do her own laundry, including adding soap and checking on when it's done.

 

She currently has a meal plan where she has a certain number of meal "blocks" where one block gets her one meal, and some dollars which can be used at the school store, or some of the other eateries (both on and off campus actually).  She  didn't do such a good job this semester and is pretty much stuck eating in the main cafe or having Ramen in her room for the rest of the semester.  She does have a job but she only gets 20% of her paychecks since the rest comes to us to pay for her room and board.   She really doesn't want to waste that 20% on food (unless it's eating out with friends).

 

I will say it would have been cheaper for her to rent an off-campus apartment but she had a hard time finding a roommate since they would need to have a car.  I think she's going into the on-campus apartments next year.  She's gotten very involved with the performance company on campus this year, and her class schedule tends to be pretty scattered, so on-campus makes more sense.

 

Edited to add:  The dorms at dd's school are $12,000 for the 10 month year for room and meal plan.   The room is $7500 of that.  Rents are VERY high around here and her school is even closer to NYC than we live.  But, if she rented a 1 bedroom or studio apartment and shared with a roommate, it would definitely be cheaper. 

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I have very mixed feelings about dorm life. I do think dorms help to build a sense of community for students who are just starting to create a new support network. I'm grateful for the jobs that dorm life creates; I worked as a RA for a couple of years during my undergrad years to pay for room and board. It's convenient to live near/on campus and to not have to worry about meal preparation during a very busy time of life. (I was taking 18 hours and working 20 hours a week.) On the other hand, the environment I experienced is not an environment that I want my 18 year old child to live in. The amount of drinking, drugs, p*rn, hooking up, bullying, eating disorders, and just general stupidity was overwhelming. In addition, it is *expensive* to live on campus. At the private university I attended, it's now $12,000/year for room & board, at the state university, it's "only" $9-10,000/year.

 

Same here.  I was the the head RA at a state school for two years, so I knew about everything that went down in the dorms.  Well, at least the things we know about.  It was a great job for me because I had to be self-supporting and didn't own a car. Thankfully I had close friends that I still keep up with, but it was like Animal Farm every weekend and sometimes in between.  Sometimes the bad behavior really got to me, both as a resident and as an RA.  My friends kept me sane. And that was 30 years ago.

 

Likely mine will commute to college, but if they are a year or two into it and have proven themselves and have an on-campus job plus a roommate they already know lined up, I might consider it. There was always a big difference between what went on in the freshman dorms and the others.  The academic and interest-focused dorms were different too, but those also were all upperclassmen.

 

A friend of mine keeps saying that she wants hers to have the "college experience" in the dorms right away.  I always weakly smile.  I don't want my 17-18 y.o. in the dorms.

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I like the Christian college my daughter goes to. They have apartment buildings, 4 girls to an apartment. They cook and clean for themselves- have apartment inspection once a week. My daughter has to figure out her own menu, shop, cook, etc. The guys aren't allowed in the girls apartment building except the lounge in the basement. They are already very closely knit so it is creating the bonding but are also learning to be independent.

She plans on one year and then going onto university and hopes she will not be considered a freshman (not all the credit will transfer) so she doesn't have to live in the university dorms.

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I would prefer that my kids didn't have to live in a dorm.  But the overwhelming reason is that I don't think that lifestyle is conducive to good study habits and earning good grades.  Too crowded, too noisy, too much sleep deprivation, too many distractions.  Unfortunately, almost all the schools oldest DS is applying to are a few hours away and require non-local freshmen to live on campus.  I totally expect that after the first year he'll either find an apartment or (he thinks) go into a fraternity house.  Not that *I* think that's going to be any better than a dorm.  Youngest DS is such an introvert and absolutely needs his alone, quiet time that I expect him to attend one of the local universities where he can live at home and commute.

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Quite possibly, this is one of those "Quill-is-one-strange-and-quirky-chic" moments. I did not attend college until well into adulthood and never lived in a dorm. None of my siblings did, either. Or my parents. So maybe I just don't get it.  But when I took DD16 on a visit to a college not long ago, I found the dorm arrangements to be very, very, very far from what I want for any of my kids, but particularly this kid.

 

My reasons are philosophical. The pervasive thought that arose in my mind as we toured was, "This is like summer camp." I couldn't quite get over the thought that almost all responsibility is removed from the young adults, while they also have more freedom to make decisions than they most likely ever have had before. They aren't responsible for obtaining food or cooking it or cleaning up from it or removing the debris it generates. They really can't even cook if they want to, unless you could call nuking something in the dorm room microwave "cooking." No need to clean their own bathroom; the maids do that. Even if they take their laundry to the school laundry room, they don't have to add their own soap and they receive a text message when the laundry cycle is over. 

 

It seemed to me like this is how you raise dependent adults who expect some outside authority to think through all their needs. It seemed to me that this is how kids grow up removed from the exchange of actual money - just swipe the card for meal expense, swipe the card for laundry services, swipe the card for everything. 

 

Do I have any company in my thoughts? Are my assessments wrong? Anyone avoiding or planning to avoid dorm life for similar reasons?

Oh yes.  I've never lived in a dorm either, nor would I want to.  I was an adult as well, and lived in my own apartment all the way through college and grad school, while working.

 

My oldest is living in a dorm and it has not been a great experience.  It's hard to sleep, there is NO AC (a deal-killer for me), the people are noisy, and her particular roommate steals her food (my daughter is a twig, but she has to eat!).  She likes to study in her room and is a very good student, but her roommate gets annoyed when she is in the room for too long (because she wants to eat the food, I think!).     She is now rethinking this whole thing for university (this is a university level high school, on campus). 

 

I totally agree with you!  I was uber-responsible and still am.  So are my kids.  They will not do well with people who are not. 

I had no idea the text you to tell you about your laundry!  Yikes. 

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All very good points. The cost, too. It doesn't cost $10K/year for dd to live under our roof. That cost does seem needless to me. 

 

The college we were looking at has a low tuition rate, but residency is required for freshman and sophomores. (They waive it for some who live nearby, but not for off-campus living as a choice.) I assume some colleges are using this as a way to get their listed tuition rates down low, but if you have no choice over living expenses, the cost goes right back up.  :glare:

Can someone explain to me the official reasoning behind the whole "Freshman/sophmores MUST live in a dorm".  WHY?  It is merely a money-making scheme (my cynical side asks)?  Or is there some legitimate and actually truthful reason why it is better to be holed up in Animal House for some reason (absent those of you who have these great dorm experiences mentioned above)?

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I have no objections to it, but I lived in a dorm for one semester and I absolutely do not get the allure.  I did not enjoy it one bit. 

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Can someone explain to me the official reasoning behind the whole "Freshman/sophmores MUST live in a dorm".  WHY?  It is merely a money-making scheme (my cynical side asks)?  Or is there some legitimate and actually truthful reason why it is better to be holed up in Animal House for some reason (absent those of you who have these great dorm experiences mentioned above)?

Two reasons I have heard --

 

1. The school wants to maximize its $$ intake and make sure that all of its dorms are full or near-full. If the school is located in an area where surrounding housing is relatively cheap, then this kind of policy might be needed to fill the dorms. Also, with this policy, the school can charge above market-rate rents for the dorms and high prices for the meal plans, and they know they will have customers for both.

 

2. The school wants to keep most of its under-drinking-age students in the dorms where they can better police said activity. Students still can and will drink, but if rules are broken, the school can take care of it themselves rather than getting the local police involved. Also, if there are a lot of under-age kids living in the community and partying, that can cause conflict/stress between the college, the local police force, and the residents living in that community.

 

Brenda

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I don't know. On the one hand, I do see what Quill is saying, but otoh, there is a lot going on while you're at college; not needing to worry about preparing meals or cleaning bathrooms can help alleviate some stress, so that you're able to focus on schoolwork, dealing with professors, getting yourself to class, etc.

 

I think it highly depends on the dorm, and what the alternatives are. When I attended a very large state school, I lived in a very nice dorm, the one designated for honors students. I know there was drinking and hooking up going on, but it wasn't a party dorm by any means, and quiet hours were longer for this dorm and were strictly enforced. (I almost never went anywhere else to study, and I had a single room my last year for way less than I could have afforded to live in an apartment by myself.) You also had a bit of recourse for true roommate problems. Otoh, the majority of the freshmen lived in a large dorm complex in one corner of the campus, and it was known for parties. But -- living off campus was generally worse. My dorm overlooked the main avenue between campus and town, so there were lots of cheap student apartments just on the other side, and lots of bars. At least on campus, they could assume that most of the freshmen weren't old enough to purchase alcohol and could enforce the law a little more -- would be much harder if freshmen lived in town. Given the choice, I would want my young college students in a dorm like mine.

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Two reasons I have heard --

 

1. The school wants to maximize its $$ intake and make sure that all of its dorms are full or near-full. If the school is located in an area where surrounding housing is relatively cheap, then this kind of policy might be needed to fill the dorms. Also, with this policy, the school can charge above market-rate rents for the dorms and high prices for the meal plans, and they know they will have customers for both.

 

2. The school wants to keep most of its under-drinking-age students in the dorms where they can better police said activity. Students still can and will drink, but if rules are broken, the school can take care of it themselves rather than getting the local police involved. Also, if there are a lot of under-age kids living in the community and partying, that can cause conflict/stress between the college, the local police force, and the residents living in that community.

 

Brenda

 

A third reason:

freshmen who live in dorms will have an easier time finding friends, making contacts, and being part of the university life.

And I actually believe there is some truth to that. It is harder for the commuter students to connect  and to take part in evening activities. I am not talking about parties, but about study sessions. If the class mates get together in the dorm after the last lab ends at 8pm to work on homework together, students who live off campus will usually not participate.

New students who live off campus frequently feel lonely and have more difficulties making connections (this is not an issue in subsequent years when they have already established a network of contacts and then move off campus)

I even had students with families who used to commute from home move close to campus for the week, away from their families, because they felt that their being away from campus was detrimental to their academic performance and focus.

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I personally do not like dorms very much. As I wrote in my previous post, I see the benefit of being on campus: it is easier to be involved and to make friends. But I do not believe it is the university's place to impose a dorm requirement.

 

This said:

To the posters who complain about goings-on, hooking up. alcohol etc in the dorms: I do not believe that having students live off-campus in their own apartments would make the situation in any way better, because there would be less oversight and no opportunity by the university to impose rules.

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My son has a scholarship for room/board, so I can say he'll be there all four years, unless he's able to pay it himself. I went nuts his first couple weeks--he had some terrible stories of drunk kids vomiting all over the dorm.  He said things have settled down a bit now. It's noisy at times, and he hears some outlandish tales, but most importantly--he's learned to trust himself, to stick to what he thinks is correct and good. He also has a more definite idea of what he does not like.

  He knew how to cook and clean and do laundry before going to school, so I don't think not doing those every day now will affect him much. His dorm has a kitchen where they are welcome to cook. They still have to put their dishes, etc away after eating in the dining halls. He knows that students often work there, dishing out the food, and he's seen some other kids being rude to them, and laughs when telling how dangerous that could be!

 College age students are young adults. We can't control what they see on their computers(porn) whether they are in a dorm or apartment. We can't control whether they have overnight guests in their dorm or apartment. Any of the things done in a dorm can be done off campus.

 I agree that freshman dorms are set aside to help control drinking, but students just go off campus to drink. If it's seen in the rooms, the RAs will write them up.  The same goes for smoking pot. Doors closed, windows open--most likely you'll get away with it. Smoke with the door open and make lots of noise--out of luck.

ETA--I agree with Regentrude. Walt's found his "tribe" there in the dorm.  They are all science majors who often spend late hours doing homework together. He said no matter the hour, there's always someone to talk to, study with, order pizza with, etc.

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I guess I'll be the odd one out. I enjoyed living in the dorm. I made close friends and got the opportunity to know a variety of different people that I might not have been friends with otherwise. Late night discussions, pizza, inside jokes, cranking up the music and dancing, etc. are happy memories that I'm glad to have. I was at a small private school though and the dorm environment is not the same at every school.

 

I can't see how living on campus promoted laziness or irresponsibility. I always worked during college and also considered it my job as a student to work hard in my classes. I don't think every student needs to every job (bathroom, kitchen, etc.) to understand the value of hard work. Teens should already know this before they go to college.

 

Research on student retention finds that the most important thing that determines if students graduate is if they are socially connected on campus (friends, involvement in activities, etc.).  Students who live on campus freshman year are more likely to join at least one extracurricular activity and they are more likely to attend campus events such as sports and concerts.

 

The bottom line for me is that once students are adults they need to take some personal responsibility. Living on or off campus doesn't dictate the decisions a young person makes about academics, sex, or substance use. Yes, every student should have a right to live in a place where they are safe, comfortable, and can study. But, I don't think we should look to the living environment to control student behavior because that just doesn't work.

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I could see there being issues in some dorms.  Certainly some have better supervision and controls than others.   My dd's school is very careful about making sure roommates discuss common issues (they meet with one of the dorm RA's at the beginning of the semester and have to fill out a checklist) although my dd still didn't get along with last years roomie by the end of the year.  This year her roommate is someone she has been friends with since 3rd grade so it's going much better.

 

There is an actual police station on my dd's campus.  Not campus cops - an actual station of the NJ State Police.  It help keeps things from getting too wild. 

The quiet hours are strictly enforced and are extended during midterms and finals.

 

I lived in a dorm my first three semesters in college - way back in 1987-1988.  It was a small, private, Methodist university in Texas.  There were separate boys and girls dorms (but lots of sneaking both ways).  I had roommate problems, cultural problems (Jersey girl in Texas, ugh), problems with being on my own for the first time after being with a way overprotective mother.  My dd is having a much better experience but she also has the option to come home every weekend (she did a lot last year - she's about 45 minutes away) and she has her car on campus this year.

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Hmmm...I didn't like the thought of my sons living in the dorms.  But for different reasons.  They were small, cramped, you have no idea how the roommate is going to turn out, etc.  In my sons' dorm area, they had to cart their laundry up and down several flights of stairs and over to another building.  They did get text messages, but in a way that was to save them the pain of all the ups and downs of checking on the machines.  I would have loved my son to have one that added the detergent for him then he wouldn't have had to lug that big bottle around with the laundry.  The floor shared a bathroom with several stalls and showers.  That bathroom was cleaned a couple of times a day by staff.  That was the selling point for this particular dorm.  The others had two rooms to a bathroom which meant that 4 people shared a bathroom.  The kids were responsible for its cleaning unless they wanted to hire staff to do it.  My sons were sure they would be the only ones cleaning and they don't like dirty bathrooms.

 

This particular university guarantees freshman housing on campus and actually requires it.  After that, they have other options.  Imagine my surprise when both sons mentioned that while they hated dorm living they felt it was the best thing they did in freshman year.  It made them make friends, learn to get along with strange people, and both said they would not have had as much social life if they were elsewhere.  

 

While I know we moms like to think of our kids learning responsibilities like cooking and cleaning while in college, I think they are learning other valuable skills.  And perhaps the cooking and cleaning skills can be learned at another time or elsewhere.  Maybe it's good that they establish a good study routine, a good set of friends, and learn to get to class on time and get their school work done on time.  Those are also skills that are very valuable. Both boys ended up moving into apartments with other roommates but they had their own rooms and bathrooms.  They have a huge appreciation for that privacy now.  And they had/have kitchens and can cook.  DS2 however doesn't do much cooking except on weekends because he is on campus all day and finds it easier to eat out or at the cafeteria.  He can cook and clean, but he finds he is more efficient if he uses the available resources.  And that is a skill, too, learning to use what is at hand in the best possible manner.

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I agree that not all that goes on in dorms is positive, but I personally really wouldn't want dd's time at university to be spent shopping, cooking and cleaning up after every meal.   Time during those four short years is precious and it's time that should be spent getting a good education and being involved in volunteer work and other activities, as that's all part of learning.  Hopefully as homeschoolers they've already learned some basic cooking at least, and know how to do laundry and cleaning.  I have to say that I wouldn't mind a washing machine that adds the detergent for me! lol  

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A third reason:

freshmen who live in dorms will have an easier time finding friends, making contacts, and being part of the university life.

And I actually believe there is some truth to that. It is harder for the commuter students to connect and to take part in evening activities. I am not talking about parties, but about study sessions. If the class mates get together in the dorm after the last lab ends at 8pm to work on homework together, students who live off campus will usually not participate.

New students who live off campus frequently feel lonely and have more difficulties making connections (this is not an issue in subsequent years when they have already established a network of contacts and then move off campus)

I even had students with families who used to commute from home move close to campus for the week, away from their families, because they felt that their being away from campus was detrimental to their academic performance and focus.

Yes, I can see this being important as well. I was a very unusual student at my school; I wasn't an engineering or science major (when many, many of the students in my dorm were), and I had a bunch of transfer credits and thus didn't take the required English course that all of the freshmen took (and I already had my math credits, so I also didn't take the introductory calculus class that the freshmen were taking). (And I arrived already having a boyfriend who was a junior, so I was rather unmotivated to attend the social activities designed for freshmen to meet each other.) Living off-campus would have pretty much guaranteed that I wouldn't have made friends at all, given those circumstances. I did make some, but I noticed that it's really hard to be a different freshman; my engineering major roommate had study groups coming nd going, and even in my senior year, I noticed that other kids were still hanging out with the friends they made through study groups and the honors section of the English class. (Had I realized that would be the case, I would have taken it. Even my boyfriend, who was [is!] not at all interested in making friends, knew kids from that English class or from intro calculus.) So I can see that dorm living could be an important part of the social process -- you can work around it, but I can see it being difficult.

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I will add a fourth and fifth reason to Brenda and Regentrude's list:

 

4)  Dormitories can provide guaranteed housing in pricey urban settings. One of my friend's daughters saved money in an apartment that was a distance from her Boston campus. But it meant a commute of over an hour each way--including using mass transit to do laundry.  She had not fully considered commutation costs so the savings were not as great as initially thought.

 

5) Not all students have cars. A dorm and meal plan eliminate the need for a vehicle in communities with minimal mass transit (which means most of the US).  My son's college does not have a grocery store in walking distance so he would have to take a cab or buy a car if he were responsible for preparing all of his meals.

 

My son lives in a foreign language dorm at his college. Suites there are themed:  French, Chinese, etc.  In his case, it is Classics. The students in the suites have common denominators.

 

To the OP:  apartment complexes in college towns that primarily rent to students can be far worse for partying since there are no RAs telling the students to settle down.  Your eighteen year old student may be mature but many of them are not. A freshman dorm does offer a support system and a bit of protection that some students need. 

 

ETA:  About being against dorms for "philosophical reasons": Not all colleges and universities are the same.  Some institutions have a high percentage of commuters. Some are essentially residential schools that cultivate community by emphasizing the collegiate experience.  Perhaps your student should avoid the latter since she would really miss out by not living on campus.

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Yes, it's a tough call.  Living with studious friends in a quiet part of town is one thing.  Being in a dorm with a strange roommate and parties all around is another.  Or you might be in a party-hardy dorm, but happily studying with friends.

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Can someone explain to me the official reasoning behind the whole "Freshman/sophmores MUST live in a dorm".  WHY?  It is merely a money-making scheme (my cynical side asks)?  Or is there some legitimate and actually truthful reason why it is better to be holed up in Animal House for some reason (absent those of you who have these great dorm experiences mentioned above)?

 

I was once told by a development officer for a private university that students who live on campus, especially during their freshman year, are *much* more likely to donate as alumni.  The dorms themselves are extremely expensive to build and run -- from what I understand, schools do not make money operating them on a year-to-year basis -- but they pay off over the long term.  

 

The university where I teach recently began requiring all undergrads to live on campus.  The most consistently heard reason is the one Brenda mentioned above -- controlling student drinking.  Furthermore, we live in the campus neighborhood and I can attest that this new policy is extremely popular with homeowners.  The students are now corralled on campus, and lots of formerly run-down rental properties are being torn down or rehabbed for sale to families.  I seriously doubt that the university instituted this policy to improve town-gown relations, but it does help.

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To the OP:  apartment complexes in college towns that primarily rent to students can be far worse for partying since there are no RAs telling the students to settle down.  Your eighteen year old student may be mature but many of them are not. A freshman dorm does offer a support system and a bit of protection that some students need. 

 

 

True - these apartments can be party central. The new complexes that cater to students also often have a standard of living I'm not sure students should all require. Game rooms, swimming pool, tanning beds, etc. In many complexes every student gets their own bedroom with their own bathroom even in shared apartments. So one apartment with four bedrooms and four bathrooms. Oh and flat screen TVs included.

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 They aren't responsible for obtaining food or cooking it or cleaning up from it or removing the debris it generates. They really can't even cook if they want to, unless you could call nuking something in the dorm room microwave "cooking." No need to clean their own bathroom; the maids do that. Even if they take their laundry to the school laundry room, they don't have to add their own soap and they receive a text message when the laundry cycle is over. 

 

Clearly, this varies from school to school.

 

My daughter's dorm did not have the kind of laundry service you describe. They had a laundry room with washers and dryers, and the students did their laundry.

 

Her campus also offered a rather limited selection of foods in the dining hall. So, my daughter and other students frequently shopped for and prepared (and cleaned up after) some of their own meals. My daughter had a microwave, mini-fridge, rice cooker and toaster in her dorm room. She also had access to a full kitchen in one of the lounges.

 

Edit: I forgot to mention that my daughter was also responsible for cleaning her room. And, the year she lived in a dorm room that had its own bathroom, she and her roommate were responsible for cleaning that, too.

 

My son is looking at colleges now, and one of the items on his checklist is access to cooking facilities and places to shop for food. He's a dancer, meaning he thinks about his next meal pretty much all the time, and he's a life-long vegan, meaning it isn't always easy to find enough food in just any setting. He knows he will need to be responsible for purchasing and cooking some significant percentage of his own food. We're finding plenty of dorms on plenty of campuses that offer kitchens. And, while I'm sure he'd be content not to do his own laundry, I haven't yet found any dorms that offer laundry rooms like you describe.

 

While, for each of my kids, I've had/have some concerns about dorm life (mostly centered on the fact that my kids tend to go to college young, and I worry about how well they will cope being surrounded by certain typical college kid behaviors), it never occurred to me to have philosophical objects based on the kinds of things you mention. My daughter certainly found living in dorms for four years to be a growth experience. And I know in my bones that my son will thrive in that kind of living situation, as long as we can find the right fit for him.

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A third reason:

freshmen who live in dorms will have an easier time finding friends, making contacts, and being part of the university life.

And I actually believe there is some truth to that. It is harder for the commuter students to connect  and to take part in evening activities. I am not talking about parties, but about study sessions. If the class mates get together in the dorm after the last lab ends at 8pm to work on homework together, students who live off campus will usually not participate.

New students who live off campus frequently feel lonely and have more difficulties making connections (this is not an issue in subsequent years when they have already established a network of contacts and then move off campus)

I even had students with families who used to commute from home move close to campus for the week, away from their families, because they felt that their being away from campus was detrimental to their academic performance and focus.

 

There is definite truth to that.  I was not part of campus/university life.  Although where I went plenty of people weren't.  If I had had the money and could go back and redo it, despite not enjoying living in the dorm, I would have lived there.  I think it's a definite plus to have the chance to participate in some of these things and to focus mostly on school.  Although I admit that most people I met did not focus much on school at all.  They focused a lot on partying.

 

Regarding dorm living not like real life.  I don't think this is a big deal.  I think most people can figure out how to prepare some basic foods, clean up, scrub a toilet, etc.  I don't know why people make such a big deal about that stuff.  I had no trouble figuring out basic stuff I wasn't directly instructed in or didn't have years of practice with. 

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Quill, I can see why you think this if you went to college well into your adult life.  However, think about an 18yo kid, many of which haven't had to do much for themselves at home.  I cannot imagine having this kind of a child manage all of their classes, studying, buying food for the first time, cooking for the first time, etc.  It would be absolutely overwhelming!!!  I had a wonderful dorm experience and I was one of those people I described.  So for the first couple of years I learned to manage my time and studies.  I learned how to live with others.  Then my jr and sr year I found some people I trusted to live off campus with.  I learned how to cook, how to really budget money and pay bills.  It was a nice progression.

 

Now take my oldest who is a freshman living in the dorm.  He is not a social kid AT ALL and would have just hidden in an apartment, but how in the world would he have found 3 people to live with?????  And apartment prices are really inflated around the college and you need 3 roommates to afford it.  Now I was picky about the dorm.  We chose for him to live in the computer science/engineering dorm.  It has a faculty member, his wife and 3 children who live there.  He does things with the residents all the time.  Their house is part of the dorm.  This dorm has freshman through seniors living there and you must have a certain GPA or test scores to live there. It is very quiet.  They have tons of white boards and study rooms and you see evidence of people helping each other with Calculus or programming questions on them.  They have special seminars, events with guest speakers, social events for these geeky kids.  My son is doing more living in the dorm than he EVER would have living off of it.  They have Computing for Compassion meetings over there as well.   My son does his own laundry every week on Thursday afternoons. 

 

He is managing his schedule well.  Now, his roommate parties on the weekends ( He thinks.  His roommage has his own car and has heard him talking about the parties but he is asleep when he comes in during the mddle of the night.)  His roommate also plays online games until the 2 or 3 in the morning many mornings.  This was a potluck draw.  My son doesn't mind him because he is quiet.  He didn't want a loud roommate.  He has learned how to adjust living with someone else.  You will find this at any university, on or off campus.  Living off campus won't prevent this.  Hopefully your son or daughter knows enough about who they are to deal with it.  I'm thinking that his roommate will not make the grade average to live in this dorm the next year, but we'll see. 

 

For my son, living in the dorm has been a positive experience and I cannot see sending a child far away to live in an apartment with strangers...  A dorm, yes because there are tons of adults around and things have to be done away from the dorms which my son loves because it makes the dorms quiet.  And it is a lot more quiet than I remember my freshman girls dorm being.

 

 

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Quill, I can see why you think this if you went to college well into your adult life.  However, think about an 18yo kid, many of which haven't had to do much for themselves at home.  I cannot imagine having this kind of a child manage all of their classes, studying, buying food for the first time, cooking for the first time, etc.  It would be absolutely overwhelming!!!  

 

 

 

I worked at a university that had NO dorms -- only apartments.  Many, many students were stressed enough about being away from home and thrown in with a bunch of roommates, plus keeping track of classes.  Most had no clue/experience in how to do all their own grocery shopping, food prep, and cleaning.  On top of that, they needed to negotiate those chores with new roommates PLUS acclimate to college-level classes.  It really was a disaster for a lot of the kids, who ended up dropping out.  The only ones I saw handle it well were the oldest of large families who had been doing many of those chores for many years already.

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I think the dorm atmosphere varies greatly from school to school and even from dorm to dorm.  When I have taught at universities which enforce dorm rules, I have found that students who lived on campus generally performed better than students who lived off campus.  They were more involved in campus activities and in the classroom.  Students who lived on campus tended to more focused on their schoolwork.  Students living off campus tended to become distracted by transportation issues, lease issues, roommate issues, etc.  I think when colleges are able to create a community of scholars in the dorms it is a wonderful experience for students.  On-campus housing can provide the space and time for intellectual inquiry and for students to become immersed in academic conversation.  When universities protect the campus environment to promote a place that is conducive to academic inquiry, I think dorm living is the best option.  But, this isn't the dorm environment at many campuses.

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Quite possibly, this is one of those "Quill-is-one-strange-and-quirky-chic" moments. I did not attend college until well into adulthood and never lived in a dorm. None of my siblings did, either. Or my parents. So maybe I just don't get it.  But when I took DD16 on a visit to a college not long ago, I found the dorm arrangements to be very, very, very far from what I want for any of my kids, but particularly this kid.

 

My reasons are philosophical. The pervasive thought that arose in my mind as we toured was, "This is like summer camp." I couldn't quite get over the thought that almost all responsibility is removed from the young adults, while they also have more freedom to make decisions than they most likely ever have had before. They aren't responsible for obtaining food or cooking it or cleaning up from it or removing the debris it generates. They really can't even cook if they want to, unless you could call nuking something in the dorm room microwave "cooking." No need to clean their own bathroom; the maids do that. Even if they take their laundry to the school laundry room, they don't have to add their own soap and they receive a text message when the laundry cycle is over. 

 

It seemed to me like this is how you raise dependent adults who expect some outside authority to think through all their needs. It seemed to me that this is how kids grow up removed from the exchange of actual money - just swipe the card for meal expense, swipe the card for laundry services, swipe the card for everything. 

 

Do I have any company in my thoughts? Are my assessments wrong? Anyone avoiding or planning to avoid dorm life for similar reasons?

My first thought was that the summer camps in your area are a lot higher class than the ones my sons or I attended. We all had latrine duty,  policed the area, kept personals stored neatly etc.We had to help with serving and cleanup of meals, but due to insurance liability were considered underage and therefore not in the kitchen with the staff cook or in the horse stalls mucking.

 

As others have noted dorms and meal plan details vary by institution.The swipe of the card..umm if you look carefully at the menu, you may find that a card swipe doesn't cover everything on the tray.Ds's college runs it like Disney Dining but w/o the snack option...one swipe gets you a certain amount, and for a young man, that's not always enough..in that case you are either cooking, snacking, or paying add'l cash.  His school has no 'all you can eat' lunch option. He's learned that drinks add up quickly and he needs to make his own coffee and ice teas. Many of his friends who have cars have learned the value of an hour of work vs the convenience of a car vs the price of a city bus...good learning for ds who grew up rural and assumed everyone drives their own car.

 

All dorms at ds's college have full kitchens on every floor (with more counterspace then I have). Young men make good use of it.  The college has a bus service to the grocery stores twice weekly; ds has learned quickly how much he can haul back and what is truly important to him. (that would be protein).

 

My only objection to dorm life is that there need to be better ways for girls to deal with stalkers. But that is not unique to a dorm; happens in an apt setting also.Every high schooler I know also wants to have the option not to have a random roommate that is a pothead, an alcoholic, a religious fanatic, or promiscuous...they suggest just putting that on the application and letting those people room together.

 

The one thing I didn't want was for ds to live at home.  Most of the commute from home students he knows have terrific transportation issues and are not involved in anything on campus.  I view campus leadership and club opportunities plus the ability to meet a study group and get to the library or tutoring center as part of the college experience and that's a lot easier if you don't have to commute 45 minutes, deer jumping out in front of you, with your mom calling to see if you've made it safely and can stop for groceries on the way home or to pick up a sibling from a playdate.

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Back to pragmatics...I was thinking about one of the universities at which I taught that had the first year students must reside in the dorm requirement (unless they were from x number of miles from campus).  Freshmen were not allowed cars on campus either.  This was not to be mean but because the university did not have sufficient parking spaces. 

 

Newer, non-urban campuses might have lots of parking but established campuses often have park and ride lots elsewhere in town.  The regional university near me does not permit students who reside within a mile of campus (this means all of those student oriented apartments) to buy parking passes. 

 

My point here is that, for many colleges and universities, space is at a premium.  Dorm life might simplify things for students who are getting accustomed to their new environment and its demands.

 

I do think that students and their parents have to consider what sort of dorm options are available. Some colleges have honors dorms or quiet dorms or themed housing that groups students around common interests.  Many colleges these days have a "green" house or a vegan house.

 

College size may also influence the dorm experience.  The towers at BU for first year students really turned me off but I guess some people like that sort of thing.

 

 

 

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The dorm experience can be hit or miss, but, I do believe that most 18 year olds on their own for the first time do well to have many basic things taken care of for them, such as meals, cleaning common areas and having some supervision.  I know that my now 20yo son would not have done well in an apartment his first year.  He would have lived off of crappy food (anything fast and easy) which would have had health consequences, gone to classes and just come back to study or play games on the computer.  Being in the dorm meant that he could focus his energy on getting involved at school and making the most of the experience, without having to worry about transportation to a grocery store, shopping for himself, making his own meals and cleaning up after others.  When looking at schools, we were very interested in the food options (he has some food intolerences) as well as living arrangements (scholar dorms, substance-free dorms, etc.)  The school he attends is a dry campus so the partying is not going on in the dorms.  While not all of his neighbors are quiet, his roommate is.  They get along great - both treating the room as "introvert cave" and doing their socializing elsewhere.  He is much more involved in campus life and really breaking out of his shell.   He spent the summer on campus doing research.  While it worked out OK living in an apartment, it was not an ideal arrangement.  He was happy to be back in the dorm this year. 

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Quill, I can see why you think this if you went to college well into your adult life.  However, think about an 18yo kid, many of which haven't had to do much for themselves at home.  I cannot imagine having this kind of a child manage all of their classes, studying, buying food for the first time, cooking for the first time, etc.  It would be absolutely overwhelming!!!  I had a wonderful dorm experience and I was one of those people I described.  So for the first couple of years I learned to manage my time and studies.  I learned how to live with others.  Then my jr and sr year I found some people I trusted to live off campus with.  I learned how to cook, how to really budget money and pay bills.  It was a nice progression.

This is my point, though, at least as it pertains to my own child(ren). My husband and I both place a very high value on self-sufficiency and capability. My dd has cooked countless meals by now - and I'm talking "meals," not pour from a can or stick in the microwave. The college we were touring had a cafeteria set up with "centers" of different food choices. Pizza center, American-style center, chinese center...they may have had vegetarian or what-not, too. There was a stove and range in the common area, but these are meant for special purposes, like baking cupcakes for your friend, say. 

 

Though I didn't go to college out of high school and never lived in a dorm, I feel that my adjustment into adult life was much more dramatic than what you're describing. I didn't crack up or lose my mind.  ;) By the time I was 20, I was 100% responsible for everything in my life. I didn't have half the skills that my dd has at 16, but I bought a cookbook and figured things out. 

 

I appreciate the different views people are speaking about in this thread, and I can see how the individual dorm itself can make a big difference. 

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Back to pragmatics...I was thinking about one of the universities at which I taught that had the first year students must reside in the dorm requirement (unless they were from x number of miles from campus).  Freshmen were not allowed cars on campus either.  This was not to be mean but because the university did not have sufficient parking spaces. 

 

It was similar at this college - they did allow parking permits, but they didn't guarantee them for freshmen. They went to great lengths to emphasize that you don't need a car. This was something my dd didn't like. She will have a car; we already have a car that she will be able to drive. She said she thought she would feel "trapped" at a college with no car.  This particular college is in a rural area and is about 3 hours from our home. The thinking of the college is that everything you need is contained on campus or along the bus line right in town. DD thinks this would be very isolating because going anywhere beside the college or town is totally impractical. She envisions coming home for the weekend now and then or over holiday breaks, but with no car, she could only do that if she can be picked up or can bum a ride. 

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Regarding dorm living not like real life.  I don't think this is a big deal.  I think most people can figure out how to prepare some basic foods, clean up, scrub a toilet, etc.  I don't know why people make such a big deal about that stuff.  I had no trouble figuring out basic stuff I wasn't directly instructed in or didn't have years of practice with. 

 

It's not that I think not doing it during college means you'll never learn. It was that (at least at this particular college where we toured), I felt like everything was being done for the students. Like - coddling. I don't want all these tasks to be "magically taken-care-of" without my kid having to ever consider them. I want them to exercise a measure of planning. I also feel that the cafeteria centers are instilling the restaurant-eating culture. (Not that it's a conspiratorial threat to home eating; that's not what I mean.) Just creating a mindset of deciding what to eat based on the menu options, swipe the card and forget about it until the next meal. 

 

Besides all that, DD likes to cook. She didn't like the inability to make food. She also wants to keep her own cat with her at college, so I know this is another thing that isn't attractive to her about dorm life. My niece has her own cat and lives in an apartment and dd has said that's what she wants; she wants to live in her own place and be able to cook meals and have her cat.  :laugh:

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Danielle,

I'm with you, I disagree with the dorm philosophy.  My oldest (never homeschooled) really wanted the "dorm experience" so he had it; I didn't want it and lived in cheap nearby housing; youngest doesn't want it but is finding it a requirement in many schools.

 

To me, it prolongs the "high school experience," and I was so claustrophobic in the artificial high school environment that I graduated early to get out of there, and I certainly didn't want it back when I went back to college.  I'm surprised more homeschoolers don't equate dorm living with public high schools, what with the hordes of same-aged peers.  It just doesn't seem like the real world, or like progress towards the real world as far as paying your own bills and just navigating life.  The idea that most college kids who drop out are doing that because of social reasons just shocks me -- maybe those are the kids who only went to college for social reasons and really shouldn't be there?  Or maybe they just aren't ready to leave a high school culture?

 

I do think that comparing dorm living to living at home doesn't tell the whole story, especially when home is far from campus, so the students remain more connected with their friends they grew up with (not a bad thing, just possibly a pull to earn some money instead of studying so hard).  A better comparison would be dorm living vs. cheap, nearby housing, and in both cases comparing only those with jobs (those who live off-campus can work on-campus, and vice-verse), or comparing only those who don't work (in terms of whether dorms affect time to meet for study sessions - a kid who has to deliver pizzas can't necessarily hang out spontaneously, whether he lives in a dorm or not).

 

I'm also intrigued by those who report helpful study groups being a benefit of dorm life, since I only knew a few ex-dorm-livers and they were definitely escaping because study was not happening in the dorms.  I also have trouble meshing those good dorm study groups with my memories of "classmate projects" (i.e. often one person did all the work or controlled the direction) or meshing those good dorm study groups with my memories of great college conversations (better because of a wide variety of ages and majors and life experiences).

 

Okay, I'm biased, I liked living in nearby old houses with grad students and a variety of quirky folks, and then later having an apartment in a very international low-rent housing complex.  Hundreds of 18 year olds would have made me crazy even when I was 18.

 

But I love that my oldest wanted to experience dorm life so he went for it, too.  I just don't like that being considered the only or the ideal option -- philosophically :)

Julie

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OP, I agree with you 100%.  Awesome points.

 

I endured a year of dorm living.  IMO it was an awful arrangment, for many reasons.  I hope our sons don't ever live in a dorm.

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There was a stove and range in the common area, but these are meant for special purposes, like baking cupcakes for your friend, say. 

 

 

 

Did the college actually state that the stove/range is only for special purposes??

 

Ds's school didn't suggest or state any restrictions on the kitchen use. He's  already done a spaghetti dinner for 8 as well as individual dishes. It's handy that the common area on each floor has table and chairs to have a small dinner party.

 

 The school doesn't require meal plans for upperclassmen that live in the dorms, so it is quite possible to cook every meal on your own although I would imagine you'd need some serious refrigerator considerations. Freshman aren't required to live on campus either. 

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.  I'm surprised more homeschoolers don't equate dorm living with public high schools, what with the hordes of same-aged peers.  It just doesn't seem like the real world, or like progress towards the real world as far as paying your own bills and just navigating life. 

 

 

Oh, finally making some friends would be finally living in the real world.  My son didn't have ANY friends here and that is what he is most looking forward to at college.  He is hanging out with other geeks who feel like schooling is important, but also want to have some fun. 

 

I guess when I went to college I learned real life experiences by heading up extra-curricular activities and participating in TONS of things on campus.  I even put together a SING show at Baylor ( talk about stretching me!!!!)  It made my transition FUN in addition to work.  Once you graduate ( and get married in my case) the time for having fun is over.  It is your last chance.  Now I worked my tail off as well.  Do did my husband. 

 

My son hasn't seen the need for a car.  He likes being on campus.  He won't get a car until his junior year.

 

But Quill, it is fine if we are different.  I just want him to have a little bit of fun.  His whole life was studying here.  It is mainly studying now. ( He is too much like his father.)  But he is also getting to do some social things as well, which he would NEVER do if he lived in some kind of apartment WAY off campus.  To me, the college experience is also drinking the Kool-Aid and taking part in school spirit.  But that is just me.  He will have plenty of time to work all day, come home and sleep, go to work, do bills, sleep, go to work... 

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It's not that I think not doing it during college means you'll never learn. It was that (at least at this particular college where we toured), I felt like everything was being done for the students. Like - coddling. I don't want all these tasks to be "magically taken-care-of" without my kid having to ever consider them. I want them to exercise a measure of planning. I also feel that the cafeteria centers are instilling the restaurant-eating culture. (Not that it's a conspiratorial threat to home eating; that's not what I mean.) Just creating a mindset of deciding what to eat based on the menu options, swipe the card and forget about it until the next meal. 

 

Besides all that, DD likes to cook. She didn't like the inability to make food. She also wants to keep her own cat with her at college, so I know this is another thing that isn't attractive to her about dorm life. My niece has her own cat and lives in an apartment and dd has said that's what she wants; she wants to live in her own place and be able to cook meals and have her cat.  :laugh:

 

It's actually not like coddling.  Living in a dorm can be a pain in the arse for various other reasons and it builds other skills. 

 

Many schools have apartment type arrangements too. 

 

I'm with your DD.  I would prefer to live alone, cook, and have a cat.  LOL 

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Two reasons I have heard --

 

1. The school wants to maximize its $$ intake and make sure that all of its dorms are full or near-full. If the school is located in an area where surrounding housing is relatively cheap, then this kind of policy might be needed to fill the dorms. Also, with this policy, the school can charge above market-rate rents for the dorms and high prices for the meal plans, and they know they will have customers for both.

 

2. The school wants to keep most of its under-drinking-age students in the dorms where they can better police said activity. Students still can and will drink, but if rules are broken, the school can take care of it themselves rather than getting the local police involved. Also, if there are a lot of under-age kids living in the community and partying, that can cause conflict/stress between the college, the local police force, and the residents living in that community.

 

Brenda

Like the tuition isn't expensive enough!  They should be doing EVERYTHING possible to help the kids, not hurt them further, financially.

 

Most universities do little to limit drinking.  It happens all the time, everywhere. 

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OP, I agree with you 100%.  Awesome points.

 

I endured a year of dorm living.  IMO it was an awful arrangment, for many reasons.  I hope our sons don't ever live in a dorm.

 

Interesting how our own experiences influence our thoughts on this. I loved living in dorms, and I'm normally the alone-with-a-cat type. Something like playing on the worst intramural volleyball team in the university's history (pretty sure that's documented fact) would have been unimaginable to me before going to college; stuff like that is what I remember. Granted, it was a pretty serious, engineering-oriented school where everybody studied; I'm sure other colleges are different.

 

As others have pointed out, even kids who don't know basics like cooking and cleaning will have the opportunity to pick up at least some of that while at college, even in dorms (ok, maybe not cleaning so much). We visited one college recently and the tour guide said, "There's never a problem getting the classes you want. Well, except Cooking 101; there's always a waiting list for that."

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It's not that I think not doing it during college means you'll never learn. It was that (at least at this particular college where we toured), I felt like everything was being done for the students. Like - coddling. I don't want all these tasks to be "magically taken-care-of" without my kid having to ever consider them. I want them to exercise a measure of planning. I also feel that the cafeteria centers are instilling the restaurant-eating culture. (Not that it's a conspiratorial threat to home eating; that's not what I mean.) Just creating a mindset of deciding what to eat based on the menu options, swipe the card and forget about it until the next meal. 

 

Besides all that, DD likes to cook. She didn't like the inability to make food. She also wants to keep her own cat with her at college, so I know this is another thing that isn't attractive to her about dorm life. My niece has her own cat and lives in an apartment and dd has said that's what she wants; she wants to live in her own place and be able to cook meals and have her cat.  :laugh:

 

My DD is the same, loves to cook and bake, and would really love to live on her own.

 

But this said: the reality of the students' schedules makes it highly unlikely that they would actually fix/cook three balanced meals each day. They do not have time. I see the cr*p my students bring to the 8am class to stuff down as "breakfast" (food is forbidden in the lecture hall, but I turn a blind eye since they clearly had no chance to eat before coming),and  I shudder to think what would happen if they could not simply go to the cafeteria for lunch, but would have to go to their apartment and cook. Not going to happen. Cooking breakfast is not happening either - sleeping ten minutes longer will inevitably win out when they got out of lab at 8pm the night before and then went to study sessions to work on homework or study for exams until midnight.

Those who did not get a chance to eat dinner on campus show up with a bag of chips for my 6pm help session before heading to the next thing. Some of them have been on campus since 8am and will have class until 8pm. When are they supposed to cook?

As a parent, I will be relieved to know that my DD has the option to go swipe a card and eat a proper meal - even though I know the food she could produce herself would be of far better quality. All things have a season. Being an undergraduate with a 55 hour study week and maybe a job as well and , heaven forbid, extracurricular activities, is not the season for culinary accomplishments on a regular basis.

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I loved dorm life - so do my guys (at least the first two who are there).  Maybe it's a genetic thing.

 

Sure there were kids who partied.  I didn't.  I had my niche/friends and we did things we liked together.  My boys are the same way (not into partying, but very much into other things with like-minded students).  By not having to worry about food and cleaning, etc, they get to work in labs, join groups (both studying and fun), and, of course, do classes.  They've found friends from all over the world (literally).

 

Youngest will hopefully have a wonderful experience too...

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I've had two live in a dorm so far. One for 3 semesters; the other for 3 weeks. We moved the first out to an on-campus apartment the semester after he was attacked with a knife by one of the dorm residents on drugs. His suite-mate also did drugs heavily and no one would listen to my son until the middle of the night call to paramedics and police.

 

The second wanted to try the dorm. It was the worst 3 weeks ever. The university actually refunded us the money we had paid for the semester and we moved her to an off campus apartment. This university has a no refund policy! It was bad.

 

The next two will not live in the dorm. I will not put them through this again. At least in their own apartment, the mistakes they make will be theirs, not someone else's. The university could not provide a safe environment for my young adults.

 

As for cooking, my daughter would make several recipes of soup or taco fillings and freeze it in individual serving bags. After class, all she had to do was heat up the food and eat. She did have some clean up to do but much of the cooking and shopping were done ahead of time.

 

Linda

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Did the college actually state that the stove/range is only for special purposes??

 

Ds's school didn't suggest or state any restrictions on the kitchen use. He's  already done a spaghetti dinner for 8 as well as individual dishes. It's handy that the common area on each floor has table and chairs to have a small dinner party.

 

 The school doesn't require meal plans for upperclassmen that live in the dorms, so it is quite possible to cook every meal on your own although I would imagine you'd need some serious refrigerator considerations. Freshman aren't required to live on campus either. 

 

That was the gist. I don't remember exactly, but I think you had to get a permit to use it. The young lady giving the tour indicated that it was available as a possibility, "...if, say, you wanted to bake cupcakes for your friend's birthday." Refrigerators and microwaves for the dorms were only available as an add-on, too, because they had to comply with the voltage limitations; you couldn't bring one of your own. We didn't tour the dorms for upperclassman, so I could not say what outfitting they had for making their own meals. 

 

Clearly, there will be differences when underclassmen are required to live on campus. 

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My DD is the same, loves to cook and bake, and would really love to live on her own.

 

But this said: the reality of the students' schedules makes it highly unlikely that they would actually fix/cook three balanced meals each day. They do not have time. I see the cr*p my students bring to the 8am class to stuff down as "breakfast" (food is forbidden in the lecture hall, but I turn a blind eye since they clearly had no chance to eat before coming),and  I shudder to think what would happen if they could not simply go to the cafeteria for lunch, but would have to go to their apartment and cook. Not going to happen. Cooking breakfast is not happening either - sleeping ten minutes longer will inevitably win out when they got out of lab at 8pm the night before and then went to study sessions to work on homework or study for exams until midnight.

Those who did not get a chance to eat dinner on campus show up with a bag of chips for my 6pm help session before heading to the next thing. Some of them have been on campus since 8am and will have class until 8pm. When are they supposed to cook?

As a parent, I will be relieved to know that my DD has the option to go swipe a card and eat a proper meal - even though I know the food she could produce herself would be of far better quality. All things have a season. Being an undergraduate with a 55 hour study week and maybe a job as well and , heaven forbid, extracurricular activities, is not the season for culinary accomplishments on a regular basis.

For some, it may be like this, but it doesn't necessarily have to be. DD is not a big eater of breakfast even now, so she might take a yogurt on her way out the door, or an apple or a Luna bar. I can't even disagree with this practice much because I never ate much breakfast, either.  :laugh:  Also, it's not to say she could never eat on-campus. Perhaps on a given night or during a particular semester, she just doesn't have time to go home between two classes and didn't have time to pack a meal, either. Fine. Get some chicken wings this time. It's the idea that it's never a possibility to eat at home that would bother me. 

 

 

 

As for cooking, my daughter would make several recipes of soup or taco fillings and freeze it in individual serving bags. After class, all she had to do was heat up the food and eat. She did have some clean up to do but much of the cooking and shopping were done ahead of time.

 

Linda

Yes, there's this option, too. 

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This is a really great question, Quill - and I don't think you are off-base asking the question.  If I had kids that wanted to go to college here in town, I certainly wouldn't want them living in the dorm.  Even renting an apartment with roommates would be a better option than the noise and the institutional food choices.

 

But my kids are going to school over 2000 miles away from home.  The local Uni doesn't even offer the types of programs they want to study so it isn't an option to live at home.  DS21's dorm experience has been excellent, but since ALL cadets live in the dorms, it's a bit of a different situation.  DD19 lived in the dorms her freshman year (required), but has happily moved into a university apartment this year with a room mate.  Much quieter and much less "party" behavior since most of the non-academic kids move away off campus after their freshman year.  She likes being able to cook for herself and keep her own schedule (early to bed and early to rise with 8am classes).

 

DS17 is also planning on going to college somewhere far away and will be living in a dorm at least his first year.  Both of his top two choices use apartment-style dorms for freshman - four guys sharing a two bedroom apartment with a kitchen and bath.  At his second choice school, most of the upper class students live in the dorms as well because housing in that area is ridiculously expensive.

 

Sometimes the best you can hope for are quiet and respectful roommates!

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