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The dorms that you never want to leave

When choosing a school, in addition to factors such as academic level, geographic location and employment opportunities, university accommodation is definitely important too. So, what qualities must schools have to be considered as having “good dorms”?

Typically, a good university dormitory has the following two characteristics:

  1. Provides students with a comfortable and beautiful place to rest and relax;

  2. Provides students with the most suitable environment for entertaining and finding friends.

After evaluating nearly 1,400 universities, combined with data from the U.S. Department of Education’s residential colleges, Niche nominated the best college dormitories in the United States in 2020. Its scoring standards mainly come from:

1. Students’ scores on the dormitory accounts for 70%;

2. The average accommodation cost accounts for 10%;

3. The undergraduate occupancy rate accounts for 10%;

4. The crime rate in the dormitory accounts for 10%.

Without further ado, let’s check out some of these renowned high-quality dorms!

Washington University in St. Louis

The quality of WUSTL’s dormitories is well-known, constantly occupying the Top 3 spots of all the U.S. college dorm rankings.

Freshmen and sophomores live in the “South 40 Campus”, a “town” composed of ten residential colleges. This “town” features a fitness center, dining facilities, a tech center, meeting rooms, campus venues, basketball courts and beach volleyball courts, recreation rooms and game rooms, as well as music practice rooms.

Each dormitory has distinct characteristics, traditions and activities, attracting different students. Such rules ensure that students with similar interests live in the same building. This way, it’s easier to get along with everyone, form meaningful friendships and help one another grow.

Bowdoin College

Bowdoin currently has eight residential colleges, each corresponding to a residential building. The dormitories are fully equipped with a laundry room, a kitchen, restrooms… There is even a bicycle room in the basement for students to store their bikes.

What’s more, each freshman will be paired with a Peer Mentor to help them quickly adapt to all aspects of college life. The residential colleges also hold various activities and events throughout the year. If you’re a sociable person, you can easily make many like-minded friends!

Santa Clara University

The first and second-year students of Santa Clara University live in ten dormitories, which consist of dorm buildings with different themes. Some of these themes are: love and service, sustainable development and art, welfare and personal care, Italian heritage and culture, 21st century leadership and morality, faith and social justice, etc.

There is a wide range of room types to choose from. For students living in suites, each room has a shared restroom and shower area, as well as a sink and a dressing table. Each building has its own lounge, kitchen and laundry facilities. Public spaces include multi-purpose halls, movie rooms, study rooms and classrooms, as well as outdoor seating and barbecue space.

In addition, dormitories of different themes will hold different types of activities, such as nationwide service projects, environmental science classes, corridor pop-up concerts, outdoor hiking and camping, research meetings, home cooking and so on.

Yale University

Yale University also implements a “residential college” system. Freshmen are randomly assigned to Yale’s 12 residential colleges, and except for a few special circumstances, all students will live in the college for four years (freshman and sophomore are required to live in campus dorms).

Each college has its own complete and advanced facilities and distinct style. Here, you can find restaurants, libraries, gyms, art studios, piano rooms, photo darkrooms, computer rooms, laundry rooms, recreational rooms and student kitchens. Most colleges also have their own theatres, rock climbing room, squash hall and sauna room, all of which are open to students of that college 24 hours a day.

Rice University

Rice University has 11 residential colleges. Students are assigned to different ones based on their personalities and preferences. Each residential college has its own dining hall, public area and building.

Rice gives students plenty of freedom and creative space, allowing them to exercise their imagination, rearrange dormitory structure and decorate the internal space as long as they don’t damage the walls and the floor. Most notably, one Rice student transformed the dormitory into a colored ball pool, attracting great attention from local media.

Smith College

The dorms of Smith College are quite special — they are independent houses with usually four floors and different styles. Some of these houses feature brick wall facades and others feature colored wood panels. Among the 35 dormitories in the school, the small ones can host 20 people and the big ones can host 60 to 80.

Freshmen and sophomores are usually assigned double rooms, whereas it’s easier for the upperclasswomen to get single rooms. But even double rooms have a lot of space, both personal and shared.

Normally there’s a lot of activity going on in these dorms, such as the weekly tea party, where everyone makes a variety of small cookies and cakes to go with their tea and chat. Each House Tea will have a different theme, where students can meet different people and experience new atmospheres.

Pomona College

A Pomona student once compared the school’s dorms to palaces in the sky. The overall architectural style of Pomona dorms is low-rise buildings with characteristic red roofs, leaving a delicate and fancy impression.

Not only is the exterior unique — the interior of the dormitories at Pomona College is also eye-catching. There are many different room configurations in the school, such as apartment-type suites and cozy double rooms, meeting all kinds of accommodation preferences. According to statistics, 99% of students will choose to live in the dormitory for four full years of their college life at Pomona!


As you can see, these top universities are not only strong in academics, but also care for their students from all angles. With such impressive facilities and residential experience, no wonder so many students don’t want to move out even after graduation!

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