The 15 Best College Dorms That Are Nicer Than Your Apartment

Dream home material or residence hall?

nicest dorms
Scripps College

Moving away from home for the first time is scary enough on its own, but throw in a cramped, rank, and dank dorm room you've got to share with someone else, and well, it's enough to make dampen anyone's excitement about college life. But that doesn't mean that's universally the case—there are actually a handful of campuses with dorms that feel more like palaces than haunted shoe boxes.

There are even some college dorm rooms so nice, I'd happily trade in my NYC apartment for one. So whether you're curious as to how the kids are living these days on campus, you're a proud alum hoping your former home made the cut, or you're beginning the college admissions process, you'll want to browse through our list of the fifteen nicest college dorms. From pools and aquariums to a cleaning service, these are the best of the best in the U.S. (at least student housing-wise).

1 MIT
MIT

In addition to the many lounges, multi-purpose room with a giant projection screen, and the best dining hall on campus, Simmons Hall also has a ball pit. Where do we sign up? Ah, that's right, the common app, and there is literally a 7.81 precent acceptance rate at MIT... So on second thought, I'll probably just camp out here at my desk. Do take a dive in the ball pit for me, though!

2 Scripps College
Scripp's College

Gabrielle Jungels-Winkler Hall houses Scripps College students in a 1920's Mediterranean-style building. That living room is about as nice as it gets in a dream home, let alone a college campus.

3 Bryn Mawr College
Brynn Mawr

Gothic and gorgeous but also a little creepy and very, very old, the dorms at Bryn Mawr College are especially well-suited for Halloween enthusiasts (me!). Some rooms even still have the original 1800s fireplaces and window seats, aka, the dream study spot.

4 Oberlin College
Oberlin College

Aside from the standard first-year residences, Oberlin also offers housing options built around communities and lifestyles. This includes from language-based houses to healthy living and identity -based houses. With trained resident assistants, specific community creeds and intentions, and organized experiences, it's so much more than just a place to sleep at night.

5 Yale University
Yale University

Oh, you think this might be an Ivy League dorm? What made you think that? Pictured here is one of the common rooms in a residence of Yale University's Davenport College (honestly, the Yale residential college system/concept/less-fun-version-of-Hogwarts'-sorting-hat-tradition is far too complicated for me to explain let alone understand, which is probably why I didn't go to Yale). Anyway, it's as nice as it looks and fabulously gothic from the outside.

6 Florida Gulf Coast University
Florida Gulf Coast University

Luxury retirement home, fancy sleep away camp, or public university? The college's North Lake Village lets students feel like they're permanently on vacation. Not only is the housing waterfront (!), but it also features fire pits, hammocks, and a sand volleyball court.

7 Washington University in St. Louis
Washington University in St. Louis

WashU organizes student housing sections by year, so underclassmen live on the south west side of the Danforth campus in one of its ten residences. Not only do these dorms have personal bathrooms (a luxury most college freshmen will never know), but they also have a cleaning staff for them (another even more luxurious perk you probably shouldn't get too used to). Less time cleaning = more time studying... It's all a ruse.

8 Stanford University
Stanford

Considering that Stanford raised over a million dollars in 2018, you'd better believe the dorm rooms are nicer than average. Some are more modern while others boast historied Spanish-style facades that will motivate you to keep working very, very hard, if only to have your own someday.

9 The University of Texas
University of Texas - Austin

The Callaway House at UT has an actual rooftop pool. We're not entirely sure how any actual studying gets accomplished when you live here. And, when you are studying, you can do so in the warm sunshine.

10 Pomona College
Pomona College

As if we didn't already want to move to the Claremont McKenna campus after seeing Scripps, here's another charmer just a stone's throw away. At Pomona College, many of the dorm rooms have AC (some of us, like yours truly, were stuck with hand-held fans) and a whole lot of space. In some of the dorms, you'll find a grand piano in the common area (could be a blessing or a curse, depending on your hall mates), plus a kitchen and a tv room. Two of the newest buildings, Dialynas and Sontag Halls, even have a rooftop garden and are built to LEED standards.

11 Brandeis
Mike Lovett

Want to live in an actual castle? Brandeis's Usen Hall will be your happily ever after. We weren't kidding when we said some of these dorms were nicer than a palace.

12 University of Cincinnati
University of Cincinnati

Moregens Hall recently underwent at $35 million renovation, and the end result included kitchens inside each apartment, individual heating and air conditioning, and floor-to-ceiling windows. Now you can people watch from the comfort of your desk.

13 Temple University
Temple University

Not only does Morgan Hall have a terrace, but it also has a flat screen TV in each deluxe apartment. So if you were worried about falling behind on all your shows when you went away to school, you can now breathe easy.

14 St. Leo University
St. Leo University

If you can score living in Apartment 5, this is where it's at. A lease there comes with an unlimited meal plan (so no cooking unless you want to), and the hall features a 2,100-gallon aquarium. If you're a little confused, same. But let's save the probing questions for lecture.

15 Bowdoin
Bowdoin

In addition to standard dorm rooms and apartments, students can apply to live in one of the eight "College Houses." One theme runs true throughout all of the living options: they are seriously spacious but also boast that quaint New England charm that lured you to the Northeast liberal arts campus in the first place.

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