Admissions

Living in Luxury on Campus

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The annual migration to campus is not much more than a month away. Along with packing for that comes paying. The total cost for one year (nine months, actually) of college has reached, at some schools, the low-to-mid $70,000 (!) range. For that kind of money, students -- and especially parents -- might expect living quarters to be on a par with some finer hotels. Unfortunately, luxury living is rarely the case.

For example, check out these low-rated dorm facilities by Campus Explorer:


- Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University: Payne Hall students voted it amongst the worst college dorms because "The dorm is extremely old and rooms are small. Hot water came and went all year, and many times I had to take a cold shower. Also, my radiator broke halfway through the year and leaked all over my room, damaging a lot of my stuff."

- New York University: Goddard Hall is small, even by New York City standards, "It's NYC, so you take what you can get, but our bedroom had no room to walk or open the closet door."

- George Mason University: Commonwealth Hall has a reputation for being amongst the worst college dorms because "Elevators are constantly breaking down, there’s extremely poor Internet connection, and it looks like a prison," one student reports.

When I went to college, we had one payphone located halfway between opposite ends of the dorm floor. The “common” room was a basement space with no windows that had a smallish TV bolted to the upper part of a wall. There were maybe a dozen or so cheap plastic chairs facing the TV and a lonely vending machine offering ancient candy bars for our social gatherings. Batman filled the room to near capacity every week.

Compare that Spartan scenario to some of today’s college dorms. I like to keep tabs on the latest trends in dorm life, so I did a little research and found an impressive number of links to articles about “luxurious” campus residential facilities. I thought it might be interesting to see how some college students live.

Where the Amenities Are

Keep in mind as you read about these living quarters that choosing to go to a school just because it might have a feature or two (or more) in their dorms that appeal to you might not be the best reason to enroll in that school. You would never do that, would you?

One of the more interesting articles I found about dorm luxury is Fastweb's 15 College Dorms with Crazy-Awesome Amenities. It portrays upscale (sometimes way upscale) student living quarters that you may overlook when visiting the schools mentioned. Let’s take a look at some of the high-life highlights.

The Fastweb article begins with quite an impressive introduction:

Why live in a cell-like dorm when you can have the comforts of home? Or, perhaps even, an upgrade from home.

Many of these dorms are more luxury resort hotels than typical college residence halls.

Some schools have one ultra-fancy dorm (specified), while others have dorms that are so luxurious, we couldn’t pick just one.

Chances are that students living on campus at any the following schools are living the dream.

Here are excerpts from five of the sometimes surprisingly unexpected or even relatively unknown 15 examples cited:

High Point University Residence Halls

Students who don’t commute are required to live on-campus until senior year, but you don’t hear many of them complaining about the policy.

Swimming pools, hot tubs, a first-run movie theater with free snacks, an arcade, putting green and free ice cream truck are among the amenities available within this university’s lavish facilities. Plus, one residence hall is pet-friendly. 

Honestly, all of the residence halls at High Point are awesome.

For example, there is Centennial Square, the upperclassmen facility, which is comprised of 50 town homes.

The school’s website details that “each town home consists of a double occupancy room on the first floor, four single bedrooms with semi-private bathrooms on the second floor, and one single bedroom with a private bathroom on the third floor. Some amenities include; shared living area, dining room, full-size kitchen (which includes a dishwasher), and laundry room in each facility, as well as access to the Centennial Square Center, which includes learning commons, study space, recreation facilities and post office.” ...

… There’s an on-campus steakhouse, 1924 Prime Steakhouse, where students are able to use their meal plan points to enjoy a weekly five-course meal.

There’s also the “Campus Concierge.” Which provides complimentary GPS units, Kindles, iPads, TI-89 calculators and, of course, a dry cleaning service.

St. Leo University’s Residence Halls

At Saint Leo, you can appreciate the wonders of nature by peering into a 2,100-gallon aquarium, which was featured on Animal Planets Tanked.

When you need to unwind or take a break from studying, there’s a relaxation room with “nap pods,” which play soothing music to help calm student stresses.

Common areas also include a fitness room, a game room with pool tables, pinball and foosball tables and video games.

Want to get some sun and exercise in on a beautiful day? An outdoor sand volleyball court is located between Henderson and Benoit Halls...

MIT’s Simmons Hall

Simmons Hall at MIT is the place to live. Not only is the building known for its architectural awards, it contains lounges with huge TVs, PS4s and Rokus for streaming music or movies.

Additionally, most floors have their own dining hall, movie theaters and laundry rooms. And, for when students get really stressed, there’s a giant ball pit to play in....

Washington University in St. Louis’ South 40

Students are sure to get a good night’s rest on the TempurPedic mattresses included in each dorm room.

Plus, who wants to do their own laundry? The dorms have a student-run laundry service dubbed Wash-U-Wash, which picks up student’s dirty laundry and washes it for them within two days....

Colorado State University’s Academic Village

Specifically built for first-year engineering and honors students, this building featured single and double rooms with their own bathrooms.

The dining hall offers theme menus, like Stone Hearth Pizza and Mongolian Grill. When students need to relax, they can gather in the fireside lounge, perhaps while they check online to see if any of the high-tech washing machines are free....

It’s hard for me to believe the level to which college dorm living has improved since my days of languishing in our windowless cinder block “lounge,” complete with a complementary, crummy candy machine. So, enjoy modern higher education. In some cases, like those above, the price seems right!