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Advantages and disadvantages of living in a dorm

Updated September 27, 2018

The dormitory is a common housing option for private schoolchildren, university students and those who stay in hostels. University and school dormitory buildings are located on campus and usually provide furnished rooms, bathrooms and sometimes a dining hall for a large number of students. Many students opt for this middle ground between living at home with their parents and living on their own, particularly during their first year of higher education. There are both advantages and disadvantages that go along with dorm life.

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Starting off at a new school or uni can be a challenge, and any difficult situation is easier when you have companionship. One main advantage of living in a dorm is that you are surrounded by companions. Your room-mates and neighbours are other students who are generally the same age, going through similar adjustments and dealing with similar pressures in their academic and social lives. They are an excellent support system, and many become lifelong friends.

Privacy issues

Constant companionship in your living space can sometimes be a disadvantage, especially in situations when you want privacy. If you are accustomed to living in your own room at your parents' house and suddenly have to share a room with others, this can take some adjustment time. If you need some alone time and your roomy is there, try checking out another place in the dorm, such as a lounge or the launderette. You also can ask your roommate about her schedule and plan to spend time alone in the room while she is busy in class.


Convenience is another huge advantage of living in a dorm. Dorms are located on campus, so they are close to your classes. On most school or college campuses, you can walk to academic buildings and the library from your dorm room. This saves you time as well as money on bus fares. Additionally, it is convenient for you to meet with other people from your classes if they live in your dorm or another dorm on campus. If you have a group project or a lab partner, meeting in a dorm lounge is convenient and easy.


Dorms can be noisy places. Often you may find yourself contributing to the noise as you study with your friends in the lounge, gather in a friend's room or listen to music. Unfortunately, sometimes you are trying to study or sleep in your dorm and may prefer quiet over a ruckus. In these situations, be sure to have earplugs or noise-blocking headphones handy. Listening to music with earphones also may drown out noisy situations.

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About the Author

Mary Dowd holds a doctorate in educational leadership and a master's degree in counseling and student personnel from Minnesota State University, Mankato. In her 20 years of higher education experience, she has taught classes, served as interim dean of students, and worked in many areas of student affairs, including student discipline, career advising, orientation and violence prevention.

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