Dorm Life 101 For Incoming Freshman

A lot of students choose to live in a dorm because of the once in a lifetime experience it offers. Living in a dorm is the first taste of freedom for many high school graduates. It’s a time to party and do wild things, but of course, college is about much more than a raving social life, so make sure that if you’re considering on campus living that you’re planning to be responsible. There are some things you’ll need to get used to once you get to your dorm room.

Here are a few things every freshman should know before heading off to on-campus living.

Types of Dorms

There are different types of dormitories available at different schools. There is normally a specific amount of dorm rooms available just for freshmen. Once those are taken up, you’ll have to find another place to stay during the semester. Make sure to apply early to secure your spot. Setting aside the freshmen from the upperclassmen is common for preventing unwanted mixing of the two levels.

You’ll also find dorms that are only for boys and only for girls, and others that are for both, known as coed dorms. Certain schools have it so that the females have an entire building to themselves and the same for the males. Then there are others that have coed floors, where the building is shared by both male and females, but the floors and rooms are still single gender. Then finally, there are coed rooms, where your neighbor could be male or female. You’ll rarely find any schools that allow male and females to share a room.


Freshmen rarely have a dorm room all to themselves, so be prepared to share a space with a stranger, who just may become a really good friend. It’s an opportunity to meet new people and live with someone who may be very different or similar to you. Some dorms are just a room, while others have a kitchen inside. You can also find some schools that have apartment-like layouts, where there are multiple rooms and a shared bathroom.

Sharing a Bathroom

Most dorms have the bathrooms out in the hallway, similar to what you’ll find in gym class. It has a lot of toilet stalls, showers and sinks to accommodate an entire floor of students. If you’re lucky, you may get one of those coed apartments where you only have to share a bathroom with two or three other students. Sharing a bathroom with an entire floor of girls or boys can get hectic and dirty, so be prepared!

Settling Into Dorm Life

Make sure that you read up on the dorm rules before you pack up and arrive at the dorm. Some schools prohibit the use of certain kitchen items like microwaves, coffee pots and crock pots. You should also pay attention to the space of the room, so you don’t bring too many items.

If you’re taking the Rutgers’ online msw program from home, then you won’t have to worry about any of this, however, if you are going away to live on a campus, this will help you understand what to expect.