UIUC Dorms: What They’re Like from a Current Student
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The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) is home to 8,000 first-years and 36 buildings for freshman housing. UIUC has 24 regular and 12 “private certified” housing options along with 90 Greek organizations. Private certification indicates buildings with a unique set of housing guidelines that are maintained by the university but have more expensive, higher quality accommodations.
Regardless of where you live, you’ll have a bed and a desk, and some outlets… what more do you need? Jokes aside, continue reading to learn my take on the specific perks of each dorm!
My name is Ally and I’m a senior at UIUC who has lived in university housing for two years. As an upperclassman, I moved into a single-family home through a social fraternity.
During my time at UIUC, I have met many people from each dorm on campus who have shared with me the best and worst aspects of their freshman experience. From rooms with thin walls and temperature issues to rooms with high ceilings and walk-in closets… the biggest challenge is to find what works for you.
Freshmen at UIUC are required to live in the dorms. But, there are plenty of dorm types and locations to choose from! Since dorms at UIUC are so high-quality, many students choose to live in dorms during their sophomore year. However, after your freshman year, the campus is your oyster! UIUC offers apartment-style housing as well as Greek houses for sophomores, juniors, and seniors.
High-rise apartments near campus are relatively cheap and close to many restaurants and shops. As you get closer to the center of campus, apartments become very expensive, but you can typically find reasonably priced housing slightly farther away. With that said, I managed to get a three story house for a good price with only a 15-minute walk to class.
How to Choose
The UIUC campus is very large and buildings are loosely organized by major, so students typically choose dorms close to the buildings that house their specific major. However, location becomes a much lower priority when students realize that UIUC is home to the third best bus systems in the country, so you can get anywhere pretty quick. In addition to the bus system, there is also a great local bikeshare program!
Dorm choice comes down to knowing what you need, and what you prioritize! My #1 priority going into my freshman year was making friends. For this reason, I chose to live in a Living Learning Community (LLC). These are specific, themed floors of dorms that bring together students with similar interests. UIUC has 11 LLCs scattered across campus, and students who take advantage of this opportunity will likely find a close-knit group of friends right on their dorm floor! I would highly recommend LLCs, but there is an extra cost and application associated with these floors.
The Ikenberry Quad (a.k.a. Ike), a Champaign-centralized agglomeration of 11 underclassmen dorms, features four completely ADA accessible dorms and has a two-story dining hall with amazing food. Ike also has all-male and all-female housing, substance-free housing, transfer communities, gender-inclusive housing, and three LLC’s.
Although every dorm is a little different, each room generally includes the same furniture: a desk, a chair, a three-drawer chest, a cabinet, a bookshelf, and a loft/bunk bed. If you’re living in a suite style or private certified dorm, you may also have a private bathroom, living room, in-room sink, and/or free printing.
Freshman Dorms at UIUC
Most of the dorms in Ike North (half of the Ikenberry Quad) were built in the late 50’s. They all have a computer lab, wireless internet, in-building laundry, and are in close-proximity to a campus recreation center. Located just a two-minute walk from the best dining hall and around 18 minutes from the main quad, these dorms are a great option! Listed below are some details about the dorms in Ike North:
|Lundgren||lots of single rooms, all male|
|Barton||lots of single rooms, all female|
|Weston||required to live in one of the two LLC’s (Deciding Your Major and Leadership Training), air conditioning|
|Hopkins||very social environment, no theme|
|Wassaja||ADA-accessible, air conditioning, gender-inclusive options, individual-use bathrooms, music practice rooms, more expensive|
|Nugent||attached to Ike dining hall, ADA and Residential support services, business-focused LLC, gender-inclusive options, in-building-library, more expensive housing options|
Ike South is the second-half of the Ikenberry Quad. The buildings surround a large grassy area home to many community events throughout the semester. Listed below are some details about the dorms in Ike South:
|Bousfield||upperclassmen only, suite-style dorms, ADA-accessible, transfer student community, air conditioning, gender-inclusive options, music practice rooms, more expensive|
|Scott||mix of all class years, air conditioning, transfer community, few amenities|
|Snyder||substance-free dorm, air conditioning, less social environment|
|Taft||upperclassmen only, no air conditioning, typically home to students already in friend groups that are less interested in meeting new students|
|Van Doren||upperclassmen only, no air conditioning, typically home to students already in friend groups that are less interested in meeting new students|
The following dorms are located in North Urbana. A majority of students that live here are engineering and international students. These dorms are lower quality and farther away from the main quad. However, the close-proximity to the engineering quad and newly-renovated dining halls are great perks! These dorms include wireless internet, an in-building computer lab, and an in-building laundry unit. Listed below are some details about the dorms in North Urbana:
|Illinois Street Residence (ISR)||Wardall||home to the Honors LLC, typically very quiet, air conditioning, fitness room, gender-inclusive options, in-building library, less social environment|
|Townsend||home to the Innovation LLC, typically very quiet, air conditioning, fitness room, gender-inclusive options, in-building library, less social environment|
|Lincoln Avenue Residence (LAR)||Shelden and Leonard||home to the Sustainability LLC, vegetarian and Kosher in-building dining, music practice rooms, close-proximity to the forest preserve, no air conditioning|
|Allen Hall||N/A||home to the Unit One Art LLC, mostly music and acting majors, residents from eclectic backgrounds, gender-inclusive options, music practice and recording rooms, close to campus recreation center, computer lab, no air conditioning|
|Busey||all-female housing, close to main campus, strict no-visitation policy, air conditioning, fitness room, music practice rooms|
|Evans||all-male housing, close to main campus, air conditioning, fitness room, music practice rooms|
Urbana South is even farther away from the main quad and the engineering quad. This area is very close-knit; mostly because the students are isolated from other underclassmen on campus. Listed below are some details about the dorms in Urbana South:
|Pennsylvania Avenue Residence (PAR)||Babcock||newly-renovated (2021), home to the Intersections LLC, air conditioning, close parking, gender-inclusive options, single-use bathrooms, music practice rooms, close-proximity to the campus recreation center, far from the main quad|
|Carr||newly-renovated (2021), air conditioning, close parking, gender-inclusive options, single-use bathrooms, music practice rooms, close-proximity to the campus recreation center, far from the main quad|
|Blaisdell||air conditioning, close parking, gender-inclusive options, single-use bathrooms, music practice rooms, close-proximity to the campus recreation center, far from the main quad|
|Saunders||home to the Global Connections LLC, air conditioning, close parking, gender-inclusive options, single-use bathrooms, music practice rooms, close-proximity to the campus recreation center, far from the main quad|
Florida Avenue Residence (FAR)
|Oglesby||home to the Health Professionals LLC, tight-knit multicultural community, close to the sand volleyball and basketball courts, air conditioning, music practice rooms, lower-quality (needs maintenance)|
|Trelease||home to the Women in Math Science and Engineering (WIMSE) LLC, tight-knit multicultural community, close to the sand volleyball and basketball courts, air conditioning, music practice rooms, lower-quality (needs maintenance)|
Private Certified Housing comes with added perks that make it more expensive than public housing. Students that live here have separate dining halls and can’t use their meal plan at any of the public dining spaces on campus. Amenities vary for each building, but they all offer larger rooms, air conditioning, semi-private bathrooms, and other extras. Listed below are some details about the dorms in Private Certified Housing:
|Armory House||centrally located, close-proximity to the campus recreation center, large rooms with full size beds, close to the Memorial Stadium, could use a renovation|
|Bromley Hall||centrally located, very social, many student lounges, fitness center, computer lab, can be too loud|
|Hendrick House||very expensive, weekly housekeeping, free tutoring, intramural team sponsorship, increased security|
|Illini Chabad||centrally located, Jewish housing, all singles, common areas/kitchenettes, residents allowed to eat at Ike|
|Koinonia||relatively cheap for private certified housing, Christian housing, parking included, no singles|
|Illini Tower||centrally located, fitness center, game room, movie theater, secure parking included, full kitchens in each suite, not very social|
|Nabor House||Christian and Agricultural-themed housing, weekly bible studies, all residents must contribute to weekly clean-ups|
|Presby||Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified housing, in-room kitchens and bathrooms, TV included, balconies, must contribute to volunteer organizations|
|Newman||great dining hall, linen service and weekly housekeeping included, students allowed to eat at other dining halls, attached to a Catholic church (residents may be expected to attend mass services)|
|Stratford House||Christian all-female housing, some triples, far from main campus|
Best and Worst Dorms at UIUC
Allen Hall: This dorm has the most diverse, accepting, and fun environment on campus. Residents of Allen Hall pride themselves on their quirkiness, sociability, and acceptance of others. Allen Hall is a great place to live if you are looking to be social and make new friends.
Dorms in Ike North: These dorms are conveniently located near many campus buildings. Most importantly, they are the highest quality housing option that is still close to Ike. During college you’ll be eating a lot of dorm food, but luckily Ike’s food is great!
Lincoln Avenue Residence (LAR): With no air-conditioning, these dorms can become unbearable. The insulation is weak and many students have bemoaned their sleepless nights in this burning/freezing purgatory. You are right next to Allen, but receive none of the benefits. For these reasons, students are typically underwhelmed by LAR.
My Dorm Experience at UIUC
I was lucky enough to have a 10/10 experience in my freshman year dorm! I lived in the Ikenberry Quad at Hopkins Hall within the LEADS LLC. The students on my hall were sociable and welcoming, which contributed to my overall enjoyment of Hopkins.
For my sophomore year, I moved 200-feet south to Bousfield Hall. I chose this dorm because it houses mostly non-freshman students and has much higher-quality housing options. Below is a photo of me in Bousfield Hall. My room was very spacious with high ceilings. In this dorm, I had a roommate and we shared a semi-private bath with two other guys. We also had our own mini hallway!
During my junior and senior years, I signed my bid for a social fraternity and lived in specialized housing. More specifically, I moved into a single-family home with nine roommates. Below is a photo of my living arrangement in the specialized house. My nine roommates and I each had single-rooms. With three bathrooms between us, it wasn’t always perfect, but I loved having so many friends to hang out with!
Here’s the crazy part… there are still more living options that I didn’t mention! There are two upper-level undergraduate dorms that are usually reserved for seniors and graduate students, but you don’t have to worry about these options just yet!
All this talk about amazing dorms might have piqued your interest in furthering your education at UIUC. If you’re nervous about getting in, try our free chancing engine! It takes into account your GPA, test scores, extracurriculars, and other data to predict your chances of acceptance at over 500 colleges across the country.