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Debate: First year dorm rooms

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Should students be required to live in the dorms their first year of college?

Background and context

Many universities require incoming freshman students to live in official university dormitories. In this way college life is taken seriously and each new student is surrounded by peers for support in studies and creating productive routines. Some argue against this requirement because of the constant noise and exposure to irresponsible behavior. Should dorm living be required and enforced of all first year students or should students be allowed to request exemption? How difficult should the exemption be and how well should it be advertised? What are the success rates of students living in dorms compared to those in off campus housing? What non related factors may influence these results?

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Crime: Are on-campus dorms safer than off-campus housing?

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Pro

  • Universities have better on-campus crime prevention systems. Eastern Washington, along with the general population of colleges, have campus police. Eastern Washington has information on their site regarding what you should do in different situations. Most colleges provide annual safety reports. Emergency numbers are given. EWU offers free vehicle inspections for all staff and students. Guests are required to i.d. when entering the hall after hours. Also, the majority of residence halls are locked 24 hours a day.
  • Dorms benefit from lower on-campus crime rates See the list of crime statistics in this argument page and compare them to the statistics found in the argument page that asserts that college campuses have high crime statistics (directly across).


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Con

  • Crimes around on-campus dorms are high, though under-reported The more common crimes (robbery, rape, liqour laws, etc.) have dramatic statistics in many colleges. These statistics are the reported ones. Who knows how many people aren't busted for crimes. In my interview, my interviewee said that at many of the parties being busted that she's been to, the cops made them leave and nothing more. No M.I.P's were given out. If they were to be reported, the crime statistics would rise dramatically. Campus police aren't aware of everything that goes on. They can't watch each dorm room 24/7.


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Partying: Does on-campus living foster more modest partying habits?

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Pro

  • Greater consequences help discourage drinking in dorms. Partying, to some people seems to be a big part of college and dorm life, but there are ways people can avoid it. Ever since there were dorms, students have drank in them and eventually gotten caught by their RAs. The consequences are not good (try paying 75 bucks for C.A.S.E. with the only upside being the rockin’ T-shirt they give you) and if you get caught several times, you face being kicked out of the dorms. When people live in dorms, there will be parties going on but it is that person's choice if they will take part in the party. There are major consequences and if everyone knows that then they would be less likely not to party in the dorms.
  • There are stricter dorms available if individuals want it. If you are completely against partying, there are many other dorms that do not allow partying and have stricter rules. Some schools have the Living in a Free Environment (LIFE) housing which is like a dorm but they are completely drug and alcohol free environments and the students CHOSE to be there.
  • Single-sex dorms are a good means to decrease on-campus drinking. I talked to a women today about living on campus at colleges and she said that at private schools there is really no partying that goes on. She said in dorms that most partying happens are co-ed dorms. When the two genders get together there is more of a chance to have a party with drugs or alcohol.


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Con

  • On-campus housing fosters under-age and binge drinking. An overwhelming number of college students, 159,000 to be more exact, don't even make it past their first year of college before dropping out due to alcohol or drug related causes. When a child enters college, their chances of binge drinking increase dramatically. In a recent poll, 44% of college students living in dorms have taken place in binge drinking in the past two weeks. The most likely students who are going to be drinking are white students under the age of 21, most likely living on campus at either the dorms or frat houses and sororities. The peer pressure increases dramatically when students live on campus and college students from 18-21 years of age results in 1,400 deaths, 500,000 injuries, 60,000 assaults, 70,000 cases of sexual abuse, 40,000 cases of unprotected sex with 10,000 of these cases being too drunk to know if they wanted to take part in it, 150,000 alcohol related health problems, 1.5% attempted suicide and 2.1 million drove drunk.
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Dropouts: Is the drop out rate higher for students living off campus?

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Pro

  • The dropout rate is higher among off-campus students. Researchers say dropout rates tend to be higher among students who live off campus and who work long hours in off-campus jobs. This may be because off-campus students feel that there is a life for them outside of school and that they can quickly jump into it before getting their college degree.


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Con

  • There is also a high dropout rate among dorm students. It is still noted that 20% of first year dorm students drop out. Some of the factors they link with this are that when you are living on your own, you won't be around the college parties. If you live on your own while attending college you are more likely to spend time with upper classmen where you can get advice on study skills and issues of maturity.


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Social: Do college students benefit from social environment of dorms?

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Pro

  • On-campus housing stimulates great social activity. A lot of new students at the university have a really hard time feeling connected and many probably drop out because they are lonely. When you live in dorms you meet a lot of people starting with your roommates and then your hall and a lot of other students in the building. So students living in dorms feel connected to the university social life.
  • Off-campus living is challenging and isolating. People living off campus more likely need to find a job for the rent of the apartment. Also they might not have friends to share the rent and study with. You dont have the benefit of meeting people that you could form study groups with. It's easier to be lonely living in your own apartment then in a dorm.


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Con

  • Dorm-living can flood students with impersonal relations. When you live in dorms it can sometimes be easy to get lost in the huge crowds of so many students. It can feel overwhelming and impersonal.
  • Crowded dorm-living can be a hassle. There might be long waits to get on elevators, gym equipment, ect. You'll have long walks upstairs if the elevators break.
  • Dorms can be small, uncomfortable, and depressing. There's a huge variety in dorm room sizes, shapes, and how many people are stuffed into one room. Most dorm rooms are small.
  • Students living off-campus develop more authentic friendships. If you do have friends, when you live off campus you can choose the apartment to rent and split the bills. The socialization you get is more genuine, fewer people and you have more in common with them.




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Would it cost more to live in the dorms?

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Pro

In general, living in the south and Midwest is cheaper than living in California or the Northeast. Living off-campus provides more freedom and quite study places. Although living off-campus you’ll have more individual bills to pay, you also have more control over your bills. You can control the size of your apartment, and you can choose the people you’ll live with.





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Con

If you live on campus you don't have to worry about monthly rent payments, utility bills, and grocery shopping. If you live on campus you most likely get a meal plan which makes eating easy and convenient.




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Would you get more studying done in the dorms, vs. studying in your own apartment?

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Pro

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Con

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See also

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