The Best College Dorms and the Best Colleges for Food

If you plan on living in campus after going off to college, looking for a dorm where you’ll be comfortable and happy is pretty important. Considering the fact that you’ll probably be in your college dorm for at least a year, you should have a good idea of which schools have comfortable dorms (and which don’t).

In this post, we went over the list of colleges with the best dorms. We took into account factors like the cost of housing, safety and crime rates, and student reviews. We also cataloged a few dorms that have great food, as well as some really cool, architecturally adventurous dorms that are located outside of the US.

Best College Dorms

Best College Dorms

Photo Credit: Spellman Brady

Our list starts with Washington University in St. Louis. Holding over 3,200 students, the 40 acres main campus contains 24 residence halls, and has an average housing cost of $13,580. According to reviews, some of the dorms feel more like castles, and in most cases bathrooms are pretty private – only shared between 4-6 people. The common areas in dorms are well maintained and are cleaned frequently. The rooms in WashU don’t feel like typical college dorms – some students would even describe living in the WashU on-campus living as luxurious. The WashU campus area also has a very low crime rate, so safety is not an issue. If all of that doesn’t convince you, get this – WashU rooms have Tempur-Pedic mattresses.

Another contender for the title of college with the best dorms in the US is the Bowdoin College, located in Brunswick, Maine. The Bowdoin College dorms almost always include a common room (basically a living room) that’s shared between only a couple of people, and dorm buildings have basement areas for bike storage and laundry. The dining options at Bowdoin are also held in extremely high regard. Bowdoin College room and board costs approximately $12,400. A huge % of Bowdoin College students choose to live on-campus for all 4 years of their undergraduate experience – that’s pretty rare and is a testament to how good the dorm system is.

Next we have the Union University, in Jackson – Tennessee. Only full-time undergraduate students are allowed to live on campus, and every single room is apartment style. Typically rooms are shared between four people, and include 4 bedrooms, a kitchen, one or two bathroom, and a living room. Some rooms even have in-room washer and dryer, which is extremely uncommon when it comes to college dorms. Housing is affordable at only $8,760, and students rate the dorm system at Union very highly.

Yale University is one of those schools that’s infuriatingly good at everything – and their dorm system is no exception. In your freshman year at Yale, you’ll be assigned to one of the 12 residential colleges – and you’ll stay there for your four years unless you move off-campus. Each residential college has common room facilities, a dining hall, and depending on where you end up, your dorm may also have a gym, a theatre room, a music room, or other additional perks. Room and board at Yale is $13,500. One of the big pluses of Yale’s dorm system is that each residential college has its own culture and is more than just a dorm – it’s really a community.

Rice University is another excellent school that is also known for having awesome dorms. The system is similar to the one at Yale – you’re randomly assigned to a ‘college’, and most students stay in the same college for their four undergraduate years. Think the the houses of Hogwarts. Each ‘college house in this case has its own culture, it’s own governing body, and the styles of the rooms can also vary by college. The big advantage to this kind of system is that each college ends up being its own little tightly-knit community. Room and board at Rice is about $12,600.

For your convenience, we grouped Business Insider’s top 30 Best College Dorms into different regions and put them into a easy to read table:

Region University
Midwest Indiana Wesleyan University
Midwest Wheaton College
Midwest Washington University in St. Louis
Northeast Bryn Mawr College
Northeast University of Scranton
Northeast Harvard University
Northeast Yale University
Northeast Loyola University Maryland
Northeast Bowdoin College
South Eastern Mennonite University
South Liberty University
South Christopher Newport University
South Regent University
South High Point University
South University of Mobile
South Southwestern Assemblies of God University
South Asbury University
South Johnson University
South Florida Gulf Coast University
South Union University
South Rice University
West Colorado Christian University
West Pacific Union College
West Santa Clara University
West Stanford University
West Corban University
West Whitworth University
West Soka University of America
West Pomona College
West California Baptist University

Colleges with the Best Food

Food is obviously a huge part of daily life, and having bad food day after day can be a real downer. Not everybody knows how to cook or has the time to go shopping for groceries, so it’s important that colleges provide good, healthy options for their students. While most people imagine food at college as a mixture of dining hall slop and late night instant ramen, the truth is there are loads of colleges that actually do pretty well when it comes to feeding their students.

As mentioned earlier, Bowdoin College is very highly rated when it comes to the food it serves. The food at Bowdoin comes as close to gourmet as a college is ever going to get – just take a look at their menus. There are also on campus dining options that feel more like restaurants if you don’t feel like going to the dining halls. Bowdoin takes its food so seriously that they even have a specific program for whenever you want to grab some lobster. That’s incredible, even for a school that’s based in Maine. Given all the factors above, it’s no surprise that Bowdoin is consistently one of the top choices when it comes to the colleges with the best food.

John Hopkins is another school that’s well known for its strong dining and food options. They serve brunch, which is always a plus, and students who are legally allowed to drink can even get wine pairings. Given John Hopkin’s renowned medical school, it’s no surprise that there are also on-campus cooking classes available that focus on healthy eating. The dining halls at John Hopkins have sophisticated menu items, and all the food is made from scratch, in small batch orders – so everything that’s served is fresh. There are also themed dining nights and plenty of events available to the students.

Cornell is another University that has good food. The range of choices is extremely diverse (on any given night, you might get to choose between Italian, Japanese, and Indian). Also, Cornell has made a commitment towards locally sourced ingredients. The university also offers flexible options fr students who have dietary restrictions – you’ll be able to find vegetarian, vegan, kosher, halal, and even gluten-free options. Another thing that sets Cornell apart is its Dairy Bar, where they serve dairy products like cheese, yoghurt, milk, and ice cream that’s all made on campus in their dairy processing facility. Cornell also hosts themed-dining nights where you get to experience cuisines from around the world – and occasionally, even cuisines from out of this world:

NYU is another school that has great dining options for students who don’t have the financial wherewithal to enjoy the restaurant and food culture that New York has to offer. The dining options are expansive, and in true NYC fashion, students are given a range of cuisines to choose from. NYU also has a weekly Sunday Brunch, where you’re treated to a buffet of fresh fruit, pastries, bagels, and pies and desserts. There are even made to order omelettes, eggs benedict and waffles. A university hosting brunch may seem odd, until you think about the fact that New York is probably the brunch capital of the world – so in a way, NYU is just preparing their students for the real world.

Here’s a preview of what you might have to look forward to when it comes to eating when you get to college:

If you’re looking for more information about which colleges have the best food, look no further than the ridiculously comprehensive annual list put together by The Daily Meal.

Amazing College Dorms from Around the World

For those of you who’re interested in some truly avant garde university living situations, here are some interesting dorms from around the world that might be of interest:

Best College Dorms: The Cité a Docks

Photo credit: Vincent FILLON

The Cité a Docks, in Le Havre, France, is a world-famous, brilliantly designed college dorm. Built mostly from old shipping container parts, the residences are fairly big and come with private bathrooms and kitchens. The place also has parking spots for both cars and bikes and a very special recreational area. It looks more like the designs of a mad architect than a college dorm.

Best College Dorms: The Campagneplein Dormitory

Photo Credit: Jeroen Musch / Arons and Gelauff Architects

The Campagneplein Dormitory at the University Twente, in Enschede, Netherlands, has everything a student could dream for its dorm. Included in the package are a private kitchen and private bathrooms, parking spots, and a recreational area. One thing that stands out here is that one of the sides of this huge dorm is the second highest climbing wall in the Netherlands. The 121 feet tall building is open for all students to try and climb.

Best College Dorms: The Tietgen Dormitory

The Tietgen Dormitory in Copenhagen, Denmark, has a unique circular design that is supposed to be a symbol of equality and community. This dorm has so many recreational facilities that it feels almost like a theme park. With two music rooms – instruments included, a gym, outdoor areas for basketball and tennis, and large, fully stocked communal kitchens, it’s surprising that students who live in the dorm have any time to devote to their studies.

Worst College Dorms

We don’t really want to trash any school, so we’re not going to make a list of the worst college dorms here – but if happy, comfortable living situations are important to you and you want to know what schools to avoid – well, here’s a good article about some of the worst college dorms in the US.


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