Dorms vs. Private Certified Housing vs. Apartments

By Rachel King


Cover photo-dorms
Credit: Bankier Apartments


There are so many different living spaces on the Illinois campus that it is just easier to organize them into three broad categories: dorms, private certified housing, and apartments. Each option has its perks and drawbacks. The question is, though, which is best overall?



Credit: University Housing



1.) You get to meet a bunch of new people you might otherwise never talk to, and within that group of people, you are bound to meet at least some likable individuals. In the very best case scenario, you may even make some lifelong friends.

2.) People make your food! You have meals conveniently prepared for you every day of the week, no         cooking necessary. How great is that? It saves huge chunks of time and prevents you from having to buy groceries and scramble over what to make three times a day, seven times a week. Of course, there’s also the perk of not having to wash tons of dishes, which is enough to make anyone want to live in a dorm, if only for a short time.

3.) Washers and dryers are readily available in the building! This may not seem like a pro at first, but it definitely will.

4.) Bathrooms are cleaned daily by the housekeeping staff. This is honestly a benefit that so many students take for granted.



1.) Sharing bathrooms. So not ideal. You always run into people in there and feel like you have to say hello when you really just want to be super antisocial. The same goes for the hallways, where you seem to see everyone you know each time you enter or leave the building.

2.) Having to wear shower shoes. You really start to miss those days when you could just be barefoot in your clean, personal shower at home.

3.) Limited space for personal items. Why are the closets so darn small?!

4.) Quiet hours. You have to keep the noise level to a minimum after certain times so that others can sleep, even if you might not be ready to turn in yet.


Summary: Overall, the biggest issue with dorms is that you just don’t have much alone time, which can be viewed as either a pro or a con depending on the person.



Private Certified Housing/Dorms

Credit: The Black Sheep Online


Private dorms are similar to the regular dorms, just with some additional amenities that vary depending on which one you’re staying in.



1.) You and other students voluntarily chose to live there, so you already have something in common. This makes it easier to build friendships.

2.) Fitness centers are available in the majority of private dorms, making it easy to stay in shape. It actually motivates students to work out, since the gym is right at their disposal.

3.) Again, meals are taken care of. It’s like you have your own personal cook! Enjoy it while you can.



1.) There’s only one main food entree. You get what they serve and have few other choices. If you’re not into it, too bad! That’s a personal problem.

2.) You are primarily exposed to people with the same private housing preference as you. This indicates that they are in some way similar to you, so you’re not conversing as much with people who are the opposite of you. In other words, there’s less diversity, which limits the types of friends you make.

3.) It costs more to live private certified. College students are already broke, and this doesn’t help.







1.) You finally get your own kitchen and have a say in the meals being prepared! You can be as healthy (or unhealthy) as you want and start getting creative with your food. Pinterest will become your best friend as you search for ideas.

2.) Not only do you have control over your food, but also over the amount of time you get to spend completely ALONE. Hooray-for- you time! This was long overdue.

3.) You will either have your own bathroom or share with only a few people! That means you can finally blast your tunes and belt your heart out in the shower without consideration of other people or their differing music tastes.

4.) You get your own room! Feel free to wear your birthday suit and do basically whatever else you want without judgment.

5.) There’s finally a living room! No more doing homework on your bed or not having enough seats for guests. You actually have a couch and other comfy seating selections.

6.) You get to choose your location on campus. Wake up only 10 minutes before class? If you selected your location wisely, you’ll get there on time.

7.) It’s cheaper than the dorms! Now you’ll have extra cash to spend on eateries along Green Street and on cute clothing at Ragstock (and tuition too, I guess).



1.) While you finally get your own kitchen, you have to start figuring out meal plans for yourself every day. Not only this, but you have to use your own dishes, silverware, and glasses, meaning that you’ll have to wash all of them yourself.

2.) You are no longer forced to interact with others, but this means you may never feel like doing so again, putting yourself in danger of becoming a recluse. Don’t lose your social spirit!

3.) You may have to purchase furniture to fill the space, and you’ll definitely have to get your own food and cleaning supplies.

4.) Paying utility bills. Enough said.


So the results are in, and…

It looks like apartments have the best bang for your  buck! With prime locations, private spaces and their own kitchens and laundry, it’s no wonder that  people start getting leases as early as their sophomore year and never look back. So if you’re looking for a new residence, opt for an apartment. They are the place to be!





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