IU Housing and Roommates: Your Guide to Choosing Where to Live and Who to Live With

Housing

To all of you people that think you will have a terrible freshman year if you do not live in the Northwest Neighborhood, you are wrong. You get to pick a neighborhood, but not the dorm you live in. Here's how this dorm thing breaks down for freshmen:

Northwest

  • Briscoe - Briscoe was recently renovated, so it's pretty nice inside, not going to lie. You get a semi-private bathroom and suite-style living. There is air conditioning. There is a computer lab. It is coed. It is also ridiculously far from any class you might have. So, if you miss the A bus, you will be late to class and have to walk miles in the cold or heat. You also have to walk somewhere to get food. Pros and cons. 
  • McNutt - It has air conditioning. I think you still have to share a bathroom with your entire floor, though they are renovating the bathrooms soon. There is a C-Store here. It is home to the Kelley LLC. There is a computer lab. It is close to the business school. However, the A bus is often full by the time it gets to your dorm in the winter. Be prepared to either wait or walk. 
  • Collins - Also known as the "Harry Potter dorm" by a lot of students. Students have to apply to get into Collins and must agree to sign a diversity pledge and fulfill residency requirements before they are admitted. The application process for Collins (and other LLC's) can be found on the RPS site.There is no air conditioning. It is coed. They have their own cinema. You share a bathroom with your entire floor. They have the Edmondson Dining Room, which is hit or miss with the food choice. It has a lot of vegan meals though. 
  • Foster - Food court (Gresham); Ice cream shop; Hoosier Den (for late-night snacking); Air conditioning; and Computer lab. Those all sound wonderful. Down side, you have to share the bathroom with everyone and their significant other.

Central

The Central Neighborhood is known for down-to-earth and somewhat studious people. It is also very close to the SRSC (then again, so is Foster). If you have classes in both the Business School and along 3rd street, this neighborhood is a good, "central" location for everything. It is also where Union Street Apartments are located. 

  • Teter - I lived in Teter as a freshman. "Teter is tight" is the slogan. They have had a pretty good cycling team for Little 500 in recent years. My room was air conditioned. There were 8 (I think? There could have been more) individual bathrooms on the floor that could be locked for privacy. There is a computer lab and game room. I had no complaints about it. 
  • Wright - There is a C-Store and Wright Food Court. That's about all of the perks you get. There is no air conditioning and all bathrooms are communal. During orientation, you will stay here (unless you are like me and book a hotel and stay there). 
  • Ashton - All rooms are singles (So, if you tell RPS you have a roommate lined up, you are most likely not going to get this dorm). You will have air conditioning. Bathrooms are communal. There is a computer lab in one of the buildings. You have to walk to get food. 
  • Eigenmann - Yes, this dorm is kind of far away. But, it is so worth it. The rooms in Eigenmann are HUGE. One of my best friends lived there freshman year, and she got one of the corner rooms. Her room was easily twice the size of mine in Teter. The rooms are all air conditioned, and you even get your own thermostat. There are also several cafes in there. And there are elevators! Who appreciates not having to drag their stuff up 5 flights of stairs?! I would have!

Southeast

The Southeast neighborhood is known as the place where all the music-lovers go. There are also several apartment buildings within this neighborhood (but, freshmen cannot live in those, sorry). 

  • Read - Some rooms have private half-baths, but most rooms share a bathroom with one other room.  There is no air conditioning. But, you will never be in short supply of food options. Not only do you have an all-you-can eat buffet (with hamburgers, salads, and ice cream offered every day in addition to various other delicious meals like Calzones and Chicken Alfredo), but you have El Bistro! El Bistro has customizable waffles and sandwiches. It is simply delicious. You HAVE to eat there. If for some reason you hate all of that, there is the Hoosier Cafe as well. I wish I went there to eat more as a freshman. All of you lucky ducks living in Read don't even have to walk far to get to the food either. 
  • Willkie - You will only live here if you are over 19, which I doubt many of you are. 
  • Forest - This dorm is kind of far away. You're halfway to College Mall when you live here. However, it's not a bad walk to Ballantine. There is also air conditioning and elevators. Bathrooms are communal. I know several people that love living in this dorm and opted to live there multiple years in a row. 

Roommates

Whether you choose to have a roommate assigned to you randomly or live with someone you already know depends on the type of person you are. As an incoming Freshman, I felt more comfortable rooming with one of my best friends from high school. I didn't want to worry about whether or not my roommate would come in drunk and puking everywhere, or whether or not she would be trustworthy and not steal my things, or whether or not she would smoke and smell up the room. I wanted someone that I knew I could trust, was already friends with, and that had similar values to me. However, some people wish to have a randomly-assigned roommate because they want to make new friends, or they worry that rooming with their best friend will ruin their friendship. So, here is my advice:

  • If you are a quieter person and absolutely terrified of leaving home, room with one of your friends from high school. It makes the transition smoother. Seeing a familiar face from home makes it a little less scary when you get here. Just make sure you take time to join clubs or go out to eat with friends that are NOT your roommate. Freshman year, I did absolutely everything with my roommate (who, again, was my best friend from high school), and we ended up getting sick of each other by the end of the year. It IS possible to room with your best friend, but make sure you get time apart too.
  • If you are outgoing and you came here mostly to party and don't care what your roommate is into, go random. If you're not the type that is going to care if your roommate might stumble in drunk late at night or have people spend the night, there isn't much else a roommate will do to annoy you. So you got stuck with the girl that wants to stay in and study on Thursdays instead of go to a frat? You made other friends, and living with her isn't so bad. So you got stuck with the boy that is just like you and wants to blackout every weekend? Awesome. You made a new best friend. If you do not know anybody else going to IU and are not a party person, DON'T WORRY. I suggest choosing to live in a living-learning community. There, people will share similar interests to you, meaning you are more likely to get a roommate like you.
  • Not sure which group you fit in or you don't like any of those options? Live with someone you know of, but don't really know. Personally, I think this is the best suggestion for ANYONE. You know the kid you sat next to in geometry sophomore year in high school? Well, her Facebook status says she is looking for a roommate at IU. You should ask her about it. By rooming with someone you know of but don't really know, you are getting the best of both worlds. You see a familiar face from home and already have something in common (where you are from), but you don't already know everything about the person. It's a chance to develop a new friendship like those that went random, while also having some control over the type of person you are rooming with. You probably know who the party, and nerdy kids are from your high school. You know who to avoid and who you think might possibly be a cool person to live with. I am currently rooming with a girl I knew in junior high and early high school, but lost contact with starting my junior year in high school. I knew she went to IU, but had only seen her once at a dinner some of our mutual friends were hosting. After a bad roommate experience last school year, I decided to ask this girl if she wanted to get an apartment with me. She said yes. She is the best roommate I've ever had, and we have grown really close throughout this year.

You are only required to live in a dorm for a year. After that, you can get your own room in an apartment or house if you want. You can even get your own room in a dorm. If you join a sorority or frat, you will be sharing a room again, but hey, at least you all are friends through rushing/pledgeship.

About The Author
Jessica FramptonAspiring Advertising Copywriter
  • Public and Professional Writing Major
  • Marketing, Telecommunications, and Spanish Minor
  • Class of 2013
  • International Baccalaureate Programme Graduate
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  • IU Ad Association Copywriter
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