UC Riverside Dorms: What They’re Like From a Current Student

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UC Riverside is one of the most expensive UCs when it comes to housing. UCR just built a brand-new residence hall, and students who live there describe it as “a fancy hotel.” My name is Nisha, and I’m a second-year math major at UCR. I lived in the dorms my freshman year, but am currently living off-campus. In my opinion, living on-campus at UCR was a great experience and I definitely recommend it to all prospective first-years.

 

UC Riverside College Dorms: An Overview

 

At UCR, first-years aren’t required to live on-campus. But, about 75% of UCR freshmen choose to live on campus their first year. UCR is still largely a commuter school, with only 30% of the entire student body living on campus. Living off-campus after your first year is typically cheaper than UCR student housing.

 

UCR offers on-campus dorms, on-campus apartments, and off-campus apartments. But, freshmen are only allowed to live in the dorms their first year. The dorms are available in singles, doubles, and triples, though singles are rarer. Double-occupancy rooms are the most common in the residence halls. Availability for Fall 2021 is also subject to change due to official public health guidelines. 

 

The price for a single is the most expensive, and the cost of a double room is also slightly higher than for a triple. But, the rate is the same, regardless of which residence hall you’re living in. At UCR, freshmen can also opt to live in a Living-Learning Community (at no additional cost), which is themed housing. UCR has academic, cultural, and gendered communities to choose from!

 

At UCR, freshmen who dorm are required to have a meal plan. All the residence halls, besides Pentland Hills, have dining halls, but you are allowed to eat at any of the dining halls, no matter where you live.

 

In each dorm, you’re given a twin XL bed and mattress, a desk (which comes with a light and shelf in some dorms, and if you’re not given it automatically, you can request to get one), a microwave and fridge, a dresser, and a mirrored closet. 

 

Freshman Dorms at UC Riverside

 

Aberdeen-Inverness (AI) – AI is the oldest residence hall on campus. The building consists of 4 wings (A, B, D, and E), and each hallway is co-ed, with separate men’s and women’s bathrooms. AI is one of the closer dorms to campus and it is less than a 10-minute walk to the center of campus. AI also has a dining hall within the residence hall.

 

Dundee – Dundee is the newest residence hall, as it opened in Fall 2020. It consists of two, seven-story buildings that can house over 800 students. Dundee is fairly close to campus, as it is located right behind AI. Like AI, hallways are co-ed, with separate men’s and women’s bathrooms. Located right next to Dundee is Glasgow, UCR’s newest dining hall. Glasgow offers indoor and outdoor seating and even has balcony seating available. 

 

Lothian – Lothian is the second-oldest residence hall. The setup is similar to AI and Dundee, with co-ed hallways and separate bathrooms. Lothian consists of two wings, East Lothian and West Lothian. Lothian also has a dining hall within the building and is about a 10-minute walk to the center of campus.

 

Pentland Hills – Unlike the other residence halls, Pentland offers suite-style housing. Pentland consists of 17 different buildings, each with two or three floors. Each floor consists of four halls, and each hallway is same-gender (except for the Stonewall Living-Learning Community). Each hallway has four rooms, with a total of 10 people, and 2 toilets and 2 showers for all 10 people to share. Also, all the Living-Learning Communities are located in Pentland. Pentland is the farthest from campus and is about a 10–15 minute walk to the center of campus.

 

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Best and Worst Dorms at UC Riverside

 

The best dorm at UC Riverside is undoubtedly Dundee. The facilities at Dundee are all very new, and the furniture and lounges are all much more modern than the other residence halls.

 

The second-best dorm, in my opinion, is a tie between Pentland and Lothian, depending on your living preferences. I chose to live in Pentland (this was before Dundee was an option) because I wanted a more quiet living environment. Pentland and Lothian are fairly equal in terms of the quality of the dorms, but due to the suite-style housing, Pentland is much quieter. But, the downside to this is that some find Pentland much more boring compared to the other residence halls, so it ultimately depends on what type of environment you prefer.

 

Another downside to Pentland is that it doesn’t have a dining hall. However, now, Dundee is located just behind Pentland, so Pentland residents have just a short walk to Glasgow for meals.

 

Finally, though none of the dorms at UCR are particularly terrible, AI is probably the worst dorm at UCR. This is really only because AI is the oldest dorm, so the facilities are just not as updated. 

 

Housing Selection at UC Riverside

 

The housing contract becomes available March 1st, and it generally operates on a first-come, first-served basis. The earlier you submit your housing contract, the earlier of a time slot you’ll get to choose your housing. Room selection starts mid-June and continues until mid-July. 

 

When you complete your housing contract, you can fill out a profile about your living preferences. UCR will use this information to randomly assign you roommates, but if you already have your roommates picked out (for either a double or a triple), you can simply choose each other and select your room as a unit. 

 

My recommendation would be to submit your housing contract as early as possible to guarantee you have options. My roommate and I submitted our contract in mid-May, and we luckily were able to get the housing we preferred, though there were only 3 options left for the housing we wanted.

 

My Dorm Experience at UC Riverside

 

Though I was very grateful that I was able to dorm my freshman year at UCR, I knew that it would be only for the first year. On a scale of 1–10, I would probably rate my experience a 7. I think the dorming experience was helpful for meeting people and having the “full college experience,” but I wouldn’t do it beyond my freshman year. At UCR, living off-campus in non-university-affiliated housing is much cheaper. Also, I’m a vegetarian, and though there was a good assortment of vegetarian options, the food wasn’t always labeled accordingly, so I was often unsure of what food was okay to eat. 

 

My freshman year, I lived at Pentland (had Dundee been an option, I would have definitely lived there instead). My sophomore year, I lived in a house off-campus, but I didn’t really have to go to campus since we were online due to COVID-19. For my next year at UCR, I’ll be living in an off-campus apartment.

 

I definitely recommend dorming at UCR your freshman year. Regardless of what residence hall you’ll be living in, you’ll get the chance to meet a lot of new people and have a fun first year. 

 

What Are Your Chances at UC Riverside?

 

The acceptance rate at UCR is 56%, but your actual chances may be higher or lower. Your chances of acceptance depend on a variety of factors, like your GPA, test scores, essays, and extracurriculars. Also, the UCs have adopted a new test-blind policy for the next few years.

 

To see how your profile compares, try CollegeVine’s free admissions calculator. This tool will weigh your academic and extracurricular profile to determine your chances at the schools of your choice. It will also not only tell you your chances of admission but will even offer tips on how to improve the rest of your profile!

 

 

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Short Bio
Nisha Desai is a second year student at the University of California, Riverside. She recently started working at CollegeVine, but has done application guidance and tutoring in a private capacity for a couple of years. She is in school to eventually get her Masters in Education and enjoys reading and running in her free time.

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