25 Best College Dorms in the US (2024)

March 12, 2024

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It’s where you’ll be returning to at the end of the day, where you’ll be meeting new faces outside of the classroom, where you’ll be living and adjusting to your new life on your own. No matter what’s already been said about it, the college dorm has the potential to significantly impact your overall college experience. Just ask around, you might find some surprising responses from people as they remember how their living arrangements were. Maybe they wished for something else. Maybe they absolutely loved it.

The best college dorms stand out because of a variety of factors, so here’s a list of the top 25 best college dorms in the US to show you why:

1) Washington University in St. Louis

Located in St. Louis, Missouri, Washington University in St. Louis offers a diverse residential life for students that helps them feel connected to the faculty and overall WashU community. You’ll be sure to find that they prioritize community living, diversity and inclusion, student involvement, healthy excellence, student success and career engagement. As noted on their website, one particular aspect that makes WashU a top choice among colleges with the best dorms is that “Faculty Fellows and their families agree to live in student housing areas and offer programming and options for interaction while Faculty Associates work with a particular residential floor to provide community and educational programs.” You can expect proactive support through groups of peers who will represent your needs.

2)  High Point University

In High Point, North Carolina, High Point University has made a name for itself by its commitment to a holistic campus experience for students. Aside from the extensive variety of fitness and recreational activities offered, HPU ranks as one of the best college dorms because of their modern and safe dorms spread across 19 residence halls that house first-year students, upperclassmen, and graduate students. Here you’ll find a residential curriculum that fosters student connection and offers opportunities for students to join communities through what they are learning in their classes. HPU makes it a priority to be a campus that “encourages wholeness and student development and wants to empower students by creating a strong sense of self, both in the classroom and in the residential communities.

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3) Emory University

Emory University is located in Atlanta, Georgia and is committed to providing students “diverse living-learning campus environments designed to promote sustainable, compassionate personal growth and development through collaboration among students, faculty, staff, and the community.” Emory emphasizes that learning does not just belong in the classroom, and they make it a point to provide a residential lifestyle that helps build positive and diverse relationships among students, staff and faculty. You’ll find that Emory’s residential halls have highly trained staff that live on each floor and offer direct support to students. Their Residence Life strives to prepare students to live intentionally, while championing the following values: flourishing, critical inquiry, cultural humility, courageous integrity, social justice and professional excellence.

4) Johnson University

Located in Knoxville, Tennessee, Johnson University offers housing that is lower than most state schools, but that does not skimp on quality of living (some rooms have hardwood floors). Students will find that each of the two-person dorms has a private bath, movable furniture, temperature controls to your liking and internet access. Every residence hall has two full-sized kitchens and laundry facilities that students can access throughout the entire academic year. There is a live-in residence director in each dorm, and in each wing, you’ll also find two residence assistants (RAs) living among you, who’ll help plan events and outings.

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5)  Scripps College

As one of the Claremont Colleges located in Claremont, California, Scripps College offers students a beautiful, intimate campus where first-year students are required to live on campus. First-year students will live in three-person rooms that will include a bed frame, mattress, two-drawer dresser, desk, desk lamp and closet or armoire. With the college’s Campus Life Office, Office of Residential Life and Office of Student Engagement, students at Scripps have access to extensive sources of support that foster a strong sense of community outside of classes. ResLife at Scripps “provides students with opportunities to connect, build and strengthen community that will enhance the students’ overall educational experiences.”

6) Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering

In Needham, Massachusetts, the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering ranks as one of the country’s colleges with the best dorms because of its emphasis on providing a “safe and supportive environment that promotes academic success, personal development, and involvement in campus life.” You can expect to find a Residence Life Team that consists of Resident Resources, Hall Directors and the Associate Director for Residence Life. As a college of engineering, Olin strives towards revolutionizing engineering education not just in the classroom but also in residence halls by encouraging student community and connection.

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7) Bowdoin College

Located in Brunswick, Main, Bowdoin College emphasizes a vibrant environment that prioritizes inclusive and dynamic living. Bowdoin offers first-year students housing known as bricks that offer “robust microcosms of new student energy and excitement.” Upperclass students are offered more of a variety in housing options, but all across the board Bowdoin encourages a learning community while honoring values like: Engagement in Active Learning and Inquiry, Challenge and Growth, Freedom of Inquiry and Expression, and Mutual Respect and Civility of Discourse.

8) Pitzer College

Also among the Claremont Colleges is Pitzer College, located in Claremont, California and neighbor to Scripps College. Pitzer students are offered housing options in the Pitzer, Atherton & Sanborn Halls, West, East & Skandera Halls, Mead Hall and the Claremont Collegiate Apartments. Prioritizing community involvement, interpersonal relationships and social interaction, each of the residence halls have a live-in Residence Director and strive to “Create a Caring Living-Learning Community” for every student.

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9) Kansas State University

Located in Manhattan, Kansas, Kansas State University offers students award-winning dining centers, residence halls, apartment neighborhoods and scholarship houses. Whether it’s how they prioritize the quality of food through their home-cooked meals across dining centers, or encouraging community building across their residence halls, Kansas State University ranks as one of the country’s colleges with the best dorms because of their attention to detail towards students.

10)  Texas Christian University

Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas is a residential campus by design and has around 5,000 students living on campus. Stressing the importance of a close-knit community, TCU offers various first-year residence halls, mixed classification residence halls, and sophomore, junior and senior residence halls where students are encouraged to learn about responsibility, problem-solving and leadership skills. TCU’s Department of Housing and Residence Life “challenges, supports and educates residents within our communities to become responsible, aware and engaged citizens.”

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11) Reed College

In Portland, Oregon, Reed College ranks as one of the best college dorms due to a residential experience that is “aimed at supporting students in their academic pursuits, personal growth, and participation in an interdependent community.” Student life at Reed’s dorms are guided by their Honor Principle, which emphasizes self-governance and respect, and students are strongly supported in both their individual and interdependent community. In the Office of Residence Life’s mission statement, you’ll find that Reed will: “provide secure, comfortable, and inclusive spaces for living and learning; manage a team of well-trained professional staff and student leaders; encourage individual growth and academic success through meaningful programs and relationship building.”

12) University of Kentucky

Located in Lexington, Kentucky, the University of Kentucky strives to make students as home as possible through their Residence Life that is a part of the Office of Student Success. Residence halls at UK focus on providing a home where students feel comfortable, secure and represented through Residence Life’s commitment to diversity and inclusion. UK consistently ranks as one of the best college dorms because of how they implement across their residence halls their Four Pillars of Student Success across their residence halls: Academic Achievement, Physical & Mental Wellness, Inclusion & Belonging and Financial Stability.

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13) Bryn Mawr College

In Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, Bryn Mawr College offers students options for comfortable housing that encourages individual growth and community building. Spread across 13 beautiful dorms, Bryn Mawr provides students of all years opportunities to constantly connect and grow with one another such as through their dorm leadership roles. Each dorm has at least two Hall Advisors (HAs), at least two Customs People, one Dorm President, and several Sophomore, Junior, and Senior Representatives. This is a fantastic way to get more involved in Bryn Mawr’s thriving student community.

14) Skidmore College

Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York offers a tight-knit community that makes it one of the country’s top colleges with the best dorms. Skidmore’s Office of Residential Life “guides students as they navigate the challenges and opportunities presented by community living experiences.” Across the traditional residence halls and apartment living at Skidmore, you can expect to find a strongly supported community at Skidmore that emphasizes equity, holistic development, inclusivity, and wellbeing.

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15) Mount Holyoke College

Sitting in South Hadley, Massachusetts, Mount Holyoke College joins the list of best college dorms due to its focus on students creating and engaging in inclusive, authentic and compassionate communities. Mount Holyoke’s Office of Residential Life seeks to “foster leadership, promote understanding of diverse backgrounds and lifestyles, encourage cooperative decision-making, and support activities that allow students to uncover and broaden their interests.” First-year students at Mount Holyoke can expect to live in traditional housing with up to three other roommates. Mount Holyoke offers stunning residence halls such as neo-Gothic and neo-Romanesque halls, among other modern buildings that boast views of the college’s two lakes.

16) University of Richmond

The University of Richmond located in Richmond, Virginia ranks as one of the best college dorms because of its focus on fostering a spirit of inclusivity, responsible leadership, and intellectual community. Resident Assistants at the University of Richmond help organize and create programs for students across residence halls to help guide their personal growth. Through their Spider Residential Experience, students at the University of Richmond’s dorms will be a part of a curricular approach defined by set learning goals.

17)  Washington State University

In Pullman, Washington, Washington State University offers students the option to live in various residence halls or apartments. As part of the WSU Cougar family, you can expect to walk to class easily, have access to great food, see a concert or hold a study group at your convenience. Students have the chance to participate in residential leadership roles such as Resident Advisors, Desk Assistant, Auxiliary Facilities or Apartment Coordinator. WSU’s Learning Living Communities also support first-year students all throughout their college years.

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18) Rice University

Located in Houston, Texas, Rice University is where you can expect to find a fully supportive community that focuses on your overall growth. On their impressive campus, you’ll find 11 residential colleges and 5 dining halls that support students’ various diverse needs, such as the Disability Resource Center. Rice joins this list of best college dorms due to the emphasis on fostering personal and academic growth in their well-designed rooms, dining services, common areas, Magister Houses, Resident Advisor apartments, community events, academic support, and cultural recreational opportunities.

19) Claremont McKenna College

As another Claremont College joining this list, Claremont McKenna College is located in Claremont, California and does not have “freshman dorms,” as they encourage students to live among others from different years. About 94% of CMC students live on campus, which consists of 14 residential halls and one student apartment complex. In each residence hall, students can expect to find recreational equipment, study lounges, laundry facilities, and vending machines. You can find a Resident Assistant (RA) in each residence hall and student apartment; RAs are trained in CPR, first aid, counseling skills, and emergencies.

20)  Brigham Young University

Located in Provo, Utah, Brigham Young University joins this list of colleges with the best dorms because of the attentiveness of the Brigham Young University Residence Halls Association. As a religious university, BYU dorm life focuses on “enabling individuals to live, learn, work, and grow in gospel-centered communities.” However, BYU has updated their student housing policy by stating that all single undergraduates must live in BYU On-Campus Housing, in BYU Off-Campus Contracted Housing, or with qualifying family members.

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21)  Amherst College

Amherst College in Amherst, Massachusetts ranks as one of the best college dorms due to their residence halls that emphasize personal growth, lasting friendships and future development. Amherst also strives to uphold a strong sense of collective responsibility among its students, and they specify this responsibility as “mutual support and respect in addition to accountability to each other for the collective health and wellbeing of all members of our community.” You can expect to find Community Development Coordinators (CDCs) and Community Advisors (CAs) to encourage conversations around health/well-being, inclusion, personal responsibility, and social engagement in the student halls.

22) Marist College

Located in Poughkeepsie, New York, Marist College joins this list as their residential life program is founded on “the philosophy of providing students with a safe, healthy, and attractive living environment that supports and supplements the educational mission of the College.” Over 3,300 undergraduate students live in Marist College across apartment, corridor, suite and townhouse residences. Marist students are often ranked among the country’s happiest students due to the picturesque surroundings by the Hudson River and offerings like Greek life, Division I athletics and community service.

23) Elon University

Elon University is located in Elon, North Carolina, and their Residence Life “supports students’ holistic development by integrating academic, social and residential experiences, developing dynamic, inclusive, and intellectual living communities, and encouraging students’ growth as active global citizens.” Further, the college is currently working towards having 75% of their undergraduate students living on campus, which includes 8 residential neighborhoods. Elon College focuses on building a student community focused on the following values: community, mutual respect, service to every student and staff development.

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24) Butler University

Butler University in Indianapolis, Indiana has nearly all of its first-year students living on campus, along with most of the sophomores and juniors. Butler offers housing across three residence halls and two apartments, and you can easily walk to the library, your classes, the Health and Recreation Complex, and late-night snacks on campus, and the Office of Residential Life encourages students to develop a strong sense of personal and communal responsibility and respecting the rights of others. One interesting fact about Butler University is that their dining services are provided by Bon Appetit Management Company.

25) Bennington College

Located in Bennington, Vermont, Bennington College upholds their founding vision in their residence halls that “education is most meaningful when self-directed.” Bennington College joins this list of best college dorms as they strive to have students living together to form communities that promote discourse, debate, inclusivity, and empathy through social responsibility and shared governance.

Take the time you need to consider what type of college dorm is best for you

When students like you are considering which colleges to attend, the beauty of college campuses or campus safety rankings can often overshadow important conversations around assessing the actual quality of student dorms. How student life is prioritized in college dorms can influence the day-to-day of your college years. Do you want to live in a dorm where you have easy access to communal spaces, while also maintaining the privacy that you need to focus on your studies? Is there direct support for students in every residential hall? Asking yourself such questions can help you narrow down and visualize your best college dorm life.

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