10 best US college dorms
The first year abroad in a new country is always exciting yet intimidating for international students in the US. Looking for a dorm that fits their needs will help make them feel like home away from home. Source: AFP

If you’ve set your sights on getting an American degree, knowing which schools offer the best US college dorms is handy information to have.

Whether you’re inspired by Elle Woods’s dorm in “Legally Blonde” or the colourful and bubbly decor in “Zoey 101,” college dorms are a big part of university life.

While the time you spend in your dorm depends on your personality (introverts naturally spend more time in their own space versus the extroverts who are out and about on campus or in town), it’s still important to make sure you pick the right place for you to hunker down for a good night’s sleep or some simple respite.

But what makes a good college dorm?

Things to consider when choosing your dorms

First things first: it’s not as simple as picking the space that looks the most aesthetically pleasing.

When choosing the right college dorm, you’ll want to take many factors into account, including:

Living arrangements

This Reddit thread states it plainly: sharing a house really shows who’s “house trained.” From housemates who leave trash all over the communal living areas to not airing out the kitchen after cooking up a storm, living life with strangers can be difficult to say the least.

So as you look at the options you have for college dorms, consider these things thoroughly:

  • Single-gendered versus mixed-gendered dorms: Growing up as an only child or having only brothers or sisters is vastly different from living with other people of a different gender but of similar age. For Muslims, having universities that offer singer-gendered housing is one of the more important factors to look out for.
  • Rooming alone versus having a roommate: If you’re unused to sharing your space or require more time to recharge yourself, opting for a private room will go a long way. While some roommates can be friends for life, some end up as your life’s nemesis, so be careful about that.
  • Shared versus ensuite bathrooms: Those living in campus dorms with shared bathrooms often have cleaners coming in on a weekly basis, while those with ensuite rooms will have to clean up after themselves.

Kitchen facilities

Some universities offer meal plans or self-catered halls, but some will require you to fend for and feed yourself.

As an international student, having access to your own kitchen facilities will definitely help with that bout of homesickness. Not only does cooking for yourself mean having dishes you enjoy whilst saving money, but you’ll also pick up the crucial life skill of learning how to cook, allowing you to build on your independence and contribute to personal growth during college.

Plus, being away from your home country means that you’ll need to take extra caution about the food served to you.

Whether for religious purposes or for personal reasons, cooking for yourself will mean you know where the ingredients come from and what goes into your dish. For Muslim students, having a kitchen where you can prepare your own meals will definitely reduce your worries, especially during the month of Ramadan when on-campus dining facilities are not open for you to break your fast.

Sense of community

As your dorm will naturally be your home away from home, having the right type of support or engagement within these halls will make your university experience all the better.

Living on campus grounds will give you easier access to campus events, activities, organisations, and clubs. These are vital for helping you feel connected, supported, and integrated into college life, enhancing their academic and social experience.

The ideal dorm will blend these factors, ensuring you can thrive personally and academically in this new space.

A look at the 10 best US college dorms

1. Johnson University

College ranking site Niche ranked John University’s dorms as the best in the US.

The single-gendered residence halls are two-person dorm rooms. They’re spacious, have a private bathroom, and have identical layouts with movable furniture for maximum space. Each residence hall has two full-sized kitchens equipped with a stove, oven, and refrigerator.

The university’s thriving student community also makes it easier for international students to find their community. Students often participate in hall devotions, social activities, and periodic open houses. Many organisations and clubs exist, including the Ultimate Frisbee Club Team, Hiking Club, and International Student Association (ISA). 


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2. The University of Utah

With seven first-year on-campus housings, the University of Utah (UoU) prides itself on having one of the best college dorms in the US. 

The dorms are modern and range from single, double, and triple in a mixture of cluster-style and suite-style configurations. UoU’s dorms are coed and gender-inclusive, though, respecting privacy needs, same-gender housing is available.

Certain dorms offer full kitchens (microwave, oven, and stovetop), while others provide only kitchenettes (sink and microwave). The kitchens and kitchenettes are non-halal spaces; however, dining halls and markets offer halal meals.

UoU ensures its students are well cared for and supported on campus. Resident advisors are allocated in each housing to help you, while student organisations such as K-pop, baking, or surfing clubs are widely available to enhance your university experience. 

3. The University of Texas, Austin

The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin) has over 15 on-campus residences. Each dorm has unique features, like cafes or gyms, and caters to individuals with specific preferences.

UT Austin offers various layouts, including single, double, and triple rooms with a mixture of community or private bathrooms. Female-only and male-only dorms are available too, and many of them are known to be quiet and cosy.

Kitchens are only available in two dorms, Brackenridge Hall and Whitis Court. However, refrigerator/microwave combos are available in all. Do not worry; many dining options are available, and they are just a stone’s throw away from the dorms. 

UT Austin students are spoilt for choice. The university offers over 1,000 student organisations, sports activities, and more. Regarding international students, the International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) hosts several programs to make them feel at home and a part of the community.

4. The University of Arizona

The University of Arizona (UArizona)’s dorms are located within the four campus districts and come in all shapes and sizes. The best part is that you’ll have 23 dorm buildings to choose from. 

Most dorms at UArizona are double rooms for two people, but single rooms and apartment-style rooms (for up to four people) are also available. The bathrooms vary depending on the building. They may be community bathrooms, suite-style bathrooms, or private bathrooms. There’s a mixture of single-gender and coed dorms. 

All dorms have community kitchens for small meals or snacks. If small meals do not satisfy your fancies, UArizona provides award-winning dining options in each district.

Making friends at the UArizona is a breeze. The university has over 400 clubs and organisations, from hobbies to extracurriculars to career-oriented and professional groups for you to join. You can join clubs like the Arizona SkyCats Skydiving Club, the Black N’ Blue Hip Hop Crew, or Women in Medicine and Science. 

5. University of California, Berkeley

Niche listed Berkeley as #7 in Best Cities for Young Professionals in America and one of California’s best places to live. The University of California, Berkeley’s eight first-year dorms are located in the south, northeast, and southeast of its campus.

UC Berkeley offers rooms in single, double, triple, quad, and suite styles. All dorm buildings are all-gender, while single-gender floors are available. Bathrooms vary between dorms: single-gender community bathrooms, all-gender bathrooms, and shared bathrooms. 

There are specific dorms that offer kitchens for students who want to cook. Dorms that do not have kitchens provide refrigerators and microwaves. UC Berkeley has fantastic restaurants and cafes, and meals for you which are easily accessible. 

The university is always on its feet. UC Berkeley hosts daily activities, performances, and events open to the campus community and the general public. From free weekly concerts hosted by the Department of Music to the university’s 34-acre nonprofit research garden and museum, there’s always something to do or explore while you’re here. 


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6. University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Students are spoilt for choice at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst (UMass Amherst). The university has over 22 first-year dorms in five different residential areas.

The dorms are available in single, shared, and suites that can house six to eight people. Single-gender dorms are available for those looking for those types of environments, and coed and gender-inclusive dorms are also a choice. Plus, all the dorms at UMass Amherst have kitchens. 

Beyond good housing options, UMass Amherst has just the thing for international students who are worried about their transition into college life. The university levelled its game by designing the “Residential First-Year Experience.” The experience helps you transition into college’s academic, social, and personal demands. 

7. University of Southern Indiana

Located just outside Evansville, the University of Southern Indiana (USI) has one of the best dorms for first-year students. It’s got six freshman-only apartments and four traditional residence halls to help ease the transition of first-year students into college life. The university offers double and single rooms, each with its own bathroom. 

The dorms have a full kitchen with a range stove/oven, full-sized refrigerator/freezer, sink, garbage disposal, and cabinets.  

USI focuses on enhancing the quality of life for students and the community through student organisations.  There are over 130 clubs and organisations on campus, fraternity and sorority-related experiences, and multicultural centres for international students to explore and have the best time possible during their time in university.  

8. Massachusetts Institute of Technology 

Massachusetts Institute of Technology, famously known as MIT and ranked #1 on the QS World University Ranking, has one of the best dorms in the US. 

MIT has specially prepared 11 unique dorms for first-year students. The dorms offer single, double, triple, and quad rooms. However, all dorms are coed. Privacy may be hard to come by in terms of unavailable single-gender dorms. 

Dorms have communal kitchens, which come with cooking and baking supplies, pots, oven mitts, pot holders, and mixing bowls. Talk about lucky. 

MIT dorms host an incredibly supportive housing community. All residence halls have a live-in House Team that cultivates community among their residents. The team includes ​Area Directors, full-time professional staff members who are the student outreach and support experts, and Residential Peer Mentors. who are trained undergraduate students serving as community builders, leaders, and resources.

9. Saginaw Valley State University 

Saginaw Valley State University (SVSU) spoils first-years with specially designed apartment-like suites that are central to most academic buildings on campus. 

The unique designs allow students to have a spacious living space with four bedrooms (two people in each room) and a shared bathroom in each suite. The university also offers single bedrooms, providing sufficient privacy and convenience for students.

Other than spacious living spaces, the suites have kitchenettes. Each has a two-burner cooktop, refrigerator, and microwave — perfect for students to cook meals throughout their time there.

SVSU thrives on helping students build friendships and grow as individuals. The university has over 110 student clubs and organisations and often hosts events such as Valley Nights, a special programme coordinated by a student committee in partnership with Student Life. 

10. Washington University, St. Louis

Ranked #2 by Niche as one of the best in the US, Washington University, St. Louis, got their students living their best lives. 

WUSL offers 13 dorms, both modern and traditional residential, for first-year students. The dorms vary from single to double suites. Some suites have private bathrooms, while some have shared bathrooms. All the dorms are equipped with kitchens, and the university even offers housekeeping to students. 

Each dorm hosts community events often so students can interact with others and make friends. Here, you’ll experience the university’s own “small town” with its own fitness centre, dining facilities, technology centre, meeting rooms, intramural fields, basketball and sand volleyball courts, recreation and game rooms, and music practice rooms.