Your first year at Penn State is the only year you’re guaranteed a place to set up your Pinterest-inspired décor and survive on microwavable mac-n-cheese, so pick your dorm wisely. PSU may only offer five different residence halls but you can still go wrong…very wrong. Just accept your temporary rank at the bottom of the totem pole as a freshman and embrace the collegiate rite of passage of dorm life.
Your Last Choice: North Halls
North Halls equates to the weird kid in high school who never had any friends. Tucked away behind the arts, architecture and education buildings, this group of dorms goes largely unnoticed on campus. While students often hit up dining halls and convenience stores associated with other dorm complexes, most never resort to North for a study break snack or dining hall to-go box full of chicken strips. The only reason a student might stop by North is because they’re already en route to the Arboretum. “Cons are that [North is] very quiet. People don’t really interact at all, which was only really bad as a freshman because by sophomore year you don’t care,” senior geography and journalism major Kathy Cappelli said. If you’re looking to make friends and have the turn-up dorm of the century, you better grab your compass and search in another direction.
A Mediocre Choice: West Halls
Located just across the street from Rec Hall (one of the on-campus gyms), West Halls is plagued with meat heads. Luckily, even more gains (or losses depending on how you look at it) wait nearby at one PSU’s better dinning options, Waring Square Food Court. And when you’re ready to cut those extra calories, a walk downtown is just moments away waiting for you to see some of the prettiest sights near campus. “Pros are definitely location. I can wake up 10 minutes before class and still make it on time. Also you don’t have to cook for yourself or do dishes,” senior Ashley Stoffa said. No dishes? No problem.
A Better, But Still Mediocre Choice: Pollock Halls
Pollock boasts as one of the nicest dining commons on campus. Trust me, the long lines to get in are worth every delicious bite. Senior Joey Miscioscia lived in Pollock and said the study lounges and hangout spots on the rooftop of his dorm (Wolf) stood out as highlights. The prime location to walking to class isn’t half bad either. “One of the annoying things with Wolf though was [that] the showers were way too low so you had to duck to shower,” Miscioscia said. The greatness of Pollock was too good to be true; we knew there had to be something wrong with it. And we don’t want no mediocre.
A Solid Choice: South Halls
South easily ranks as the most glamorous dorms at Penn State, which makes sense as athletes and sorority girls can be found on most floors. Sororities can’t own official houses at Penn State, so South stands in as their replacement. As a freshman, you might feel a little weird surrounded by upperclassmen, but South is your best bet when looking for class and comfort. Senior Emily Turner said freshmen in sororities can move onto the floor as early as second semester. Plus, Redifer Commons, the dining hall within South, serves sushi, stir fry, paninis, hoagies, a buffet and even locally sourced meals during select times of the year. Meal point ballin’. “Pros are that the dining halls are right there, dorms are new, individual bathrooms [and] suites for studying. Cons were that it’s kinda far from everything,” Turner said. With all that good grub, you won’t mind a good walk to avoid the freshman 15 and get those killer senior calves.
The ONLY True Choice: East Halls
Standing out with generic brick buildings of varying heights and abundance of geometric sidewalks, East hall is the hub for freshmen thirsty for new friends. Though East lies far away from West campus and the showerheads shoot out water so fast that it stings when it hits you, I owe meeting almost all of my best friends to living in Tener Hall (part of East). Bonding with other freshmen degenerates is bound to happen in such close quarters. Although the “constant construction” outside her dorm sometimes kills her vibes, freshman biobehavioral health major Meghan Ellington was satisfied with her living experience. “Firstly it’s really nice how pretty much all the freshmen are there, so it’s great being close to all my friends. Another cool thing is that I’m not too far from all of my classes so the walking distance is nice,” Eglington said. East’s dining commons once appeared to be part of a crappy 1980s movie set, but Eglington said the commons have been revamped since last year. #Blessed.