The 25 Best College Dorms in the U.S.

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- For many students, going off to college is the first time they are living away from home. Students who choose to live on campus rather than with their parents hope to have a chance to exercise the independence and responsibility that they otherwise may not have.

Since first-year students move from home to campus so suddenly, many colleges try a variety of ways to ease the transition. Many college residence halls offer programs and organize events that encourage community and support among the students living there.

Ranking and review site  Niche.com has sourced data from a number of government and public data sets, the Web site's own data, and over 600,000 opinion-based survey responses by current students and recent alumni to rank the best college dorms in the United States.

While elements such as reasonable housing costs, safe and healthy living environments, and the percentage of students who live on campus are important, students' opinions on the quality, cleanliness, amenities, and community were considered the most important factors in judging this category. As a result, student surveys accounted for 70% of the Dorm grade for each college.

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25. Sonoma State University
Rohnert Park, CA

Average Housing Cost: $10,961
Housing Capacity: 42%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.1 out of 5

First-year students at Sonoma State University have a choice between academic and themed communities. Themed communities include Global Engagement, Expressive Arts, Gender-Inclusive, and Leadership and Service. Residential Community Villages are available to returning students, and offer suite-style housing.


24. Dallas Baptist University
Dallas, TX

Average Housing Cost: $6,498
Housing Capacity: 76%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.0 out of 5

DBU has two all-male and two all-female residence halls on campus. Located within one of the male and one of the female halls are two "houses," Stone House (male) and Jewel House (female). Each of these houses is run by four returning students to encourage, support, and challenge first-year students at the University.


23. Texas Christian University
Fort Worth, TX

Average Housing Cost: $10,650
Housing Capacity: 50%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.1 out of 5

There are 16 residence halls at TCU: four are strictly for first-year students, two are for all students, and ten are reserved for upper division students. Despite some differences in common areas, the halls are very similar to one another. Most rooms are doubles, although there are some triples throughout campus.


22. Cedarville University
Cedarville, OH

Average Housing Cost: $5,540
Housing Capacity: 86%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.0 out of 5

While more than 80% of the undergraduates at Cedarville live on campus, students who live off campus are generally those who commute from their parents' homes, some juniors and seniors, and students over the age of 25. On-campus options include seven residence halls for women and eight for men.


21. Whitworth University
Spokane, WA

Average Housing Cost: $9,364
Housing Capacity: 60%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.1 out of 5

There are 10 residence halls and, for returning students, 23 themed houses at Whitworth. Students are required to live on campus for the first two years after their high school graduation.


20. Indiana Wesleyan University
Marion, IN

Average Housing Cost: $7,412
Housing Capacity: 29%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.1 out of 5

The largest private university in Indiana, the mission of Resident Life at IWU is to "partner in the education of our resident students through fostering purposeful community, life-changing learning, and holistic development in a Christ-centered environment."


19. Slippery Rock University
Slippery Rock, PA

Average Housing Cost: $9,364
Housing Capacity: 37%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.1 out of 5

There are eight residence halls at SRU that include two- and four-person suites. Upperclassmen can apply to live in the apartment suites, which are available to about 188 students.


18. Smith College
Northampton, MA

Average Housing Cost: $13,860
Housing Capacity: 92%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.2 out of 5

In most of the 35 houses and complexes available for students to live in, students from freshman through senior year are all represented. Freshman live in double and single rooms, and returning students live in suites, doubles or singles.


17. Santa Clara University
Santa Clara, CA

Average Housing Cost: $12,276
Housing Capacity: 59%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.1 out of 5

Santa Clara University has nine residential halls and one gated community of villas. Eight of these residential halls have specific Residential Learning Communities. First-year students take at least two courses with the students in their RLC and can continue through their senior year to take RLC-linked classes. These communities also hold events throughout the year for students.


16. Liberty University
Lynchburg, VA

Average Housing Cost: $7,250
Housing Capacity: 29%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.0 out of 5

All unmarried undergraduate students under the age of 21 are required to live on campus at Liberty. Students can choose to live in 21 residence halls, which form seven different housing locations.


15. Stanford University
Stanford, CA

Average Housing Cost: $12,721
Housing Capacity: 100%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 1 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.1 out of 5

Nearly all students at Stanford University live in one of the 10 undergraduate residence halls. There are co-ed residence halls, independent/language/academic theme houses, cooperative houses, self-operated houses, cross-cultural theme houses, apartments and suites.


14. Florida Gulf Coast University
Fort Myers, FL

Average Housing Cost: $8,342
Housing Capacity: 43%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.1 out of 5

Florida Gulf Coast University has three main options for students through the Office of Housing and Residence Life. The on-campus suite-style housing is for first-year students, the on-campus apartment-style living is open to all students, and the off-campus apartment-style living is reserved for sophomores, juniors and seniors.


13. Biola University
La Mirada, CA

Average Housing Cost: $9,316
Housing Capacity: 65%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.0 out of 5

Any student (excluding those commuting from their parents' home) under 20 years old by the first day of the year's Fall Classes at Biola University is required to live in one of the eight residential halls on campus. For students older than 20 years old by the start of Fall Classes, there are apartment buildings on- and off-campus to choose from.


12. Pomona College
Claremont, CA

Average Housing Cost: $13,526
Housing Capacity: 96%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 1 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.5 out of 5

At Pomona, fewer than 3% of students decide to live off-campus. Instead, most students choose from 16 residence halls that can fit an average of 120 students. Most freshman and sophomore students live on "South Campus," while juniors and seniors live on "North Campus."


11. University of Scranton
Scranton, PA

Average Housing Cost: $13,234
Housing Capacity: 62%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.3 out of 5

First-year students at the University of Scranton are placed into double-rooms with community restrooms, and sophomore students are able to live in one of two double rooms that share a restroom. Upperclassmen can choose from apartments and houses that are more private than the options given to underclassmen.


10. California Baptist University
Riverside, CA

Average Housing Cost: $8,990
Housing Capacity: 57%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.1 out of 5

Most undergraduate students at CBU choose to live in one of the nine residence halls, apartments, and houses on and around campus. However, only some options are available to non-freshmen.


9. Wheaton College - Illinois
Wheaton, IL

Average Housing Cost: $8,560
Housing Capacity: 87%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.2 out of 5

Wheaton College requires its undergraduate students to live on campus each year, and first- and second-year students are required to live in one of the four residence halls. Third- and fourth-year students can choose to live in one of the four apartment buildings or seventeen campus houses.


8. Harvard University
Cambridge, MA

Average Housing Cost: $13,630
Housing Capacity: 100%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.3 out of 5

Freshmen at Harvard are placed into one of the residence halls in or next to the Harvard Yard, and take their meals together in the freshman dining hall. In the spring, freshman are placed in one of the 12 Upperclass Houses. Undergraduate students who wish to live off-campus can apply to live in a thirteenth house with students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.


7. Loyola University Maryland
Baltimore, MD

Average Housing Cost: $12,120
Housing Capacity: 85%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.2 out of 5

There are six different residential areas at Loyola Maryland, and incoming first-year students are assigned to one of three of these areas before arriving to campus. Students who take advantage of the opportunity to live off-campus are mostly juniors or seniors. However, in agreement with the North Baltimore Neighborhood Coalition, students are not allowed to live in eleven specific neighborhoods surrounding the University's campus.


6. Yale University
New Haven, CT

Average Housing Cost: $13,000
Housing Capacity: 90%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.4 out of 5

At Yale, incoming undergraduate students are assigned to one of the 12 residential colleges. Each residential college has two faculty members, acting as master and dean, who live in the college interact with students on a daily basis.


5. Christopher Newport University
Newport News, VA

Average Housing Cost: $9,728
Housing Capacity: 75%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.3 out of 5

First-, second-, and third-year students at CNU are required to live on campus. Seniors, while not guaranteed housing, may still request on-campus accommodations. There are three first-year residence halls and four halls are reserved for non-first year students. Additionally, Greek Village and CNU Landing are available for students participating in Greek organizations.


4. Rice University
Houston, TX

Average Housing Cost: $12,600
Housing Capacity: 87%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.3 out of 5

Each undergraduate student at Rice is randomly assigned to one of the campus' 11 residential colleges. Each residential college has its own dining hall, public rooms, and dorms. Students stay with their resident hall until they graduate, and roughly 75% of all undergraduates choose to continue living in their colleges.


3. Union University
Jackson, TN

Average Housing Cost: $8,760
Housing Capacity: 60%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.4 out of 5

Union requires all unmarried, full-time, undergraduate students to live on campus (excluding seniors and students who live with their parents). Each four-bedroom apartment provided by the University has central heating, air conditioning, a small kitchen, washer and dryer facilities, and private bedrooms for individual students.


2. Bowdoin College
Brunswick, ME

Average Housing Cost: $12,010
Housing Capacity: 95%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.6 out of 5

At Bowdoin, each first-year student is placed into one of the eight residential halls on campus. While housing is guaranteed for first-year and second-year students, the College has been able to provide accommodations for upperclassmen students who do not wish to live off-campus.


1. Washington University in St. Louis
St. Louis, MO

Average Housing Cost: $13,580
Housing Capacity: 100%
Student Housing Crime Rate: 0 per 1000
Student Surveys on Campus Housing: 4.4 out of 5

The student housing of Washington University in St. Louis can be found in two locations: the South 40 and the North Side. "The 40," located on 40 acres south of the main campus, consists of twenty-four residence halls that hold a total of 3,200 students. Preferred by upperclassmen, the North Side is situated on the Northwest corner of campus as well as its surrounding neighborhoods.

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