10 Colleges with Stellar Campus Housing

When is a college more than just a college? When it is also your home. College dorms and residence halls can be more than just a convenient place to stash your stuff and crash at night -- they can be the epicenters of student life and social development. Many schools even offer themed houses or specialty housing designed to meet your unique interests or needs. In other words, the notion that all student housing is cramped and stressful is just a myth. Not convinced? Here are 10 colleges with housing options for just about every type of student.

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10 Colleges That Don't Skimp on Student Housing

  • Brandeis University (Waltham, MA): On-campus housing at Brandeis University is managed by the Department of Community Living, which only underscores its emphasis on fostering what it calls a truly residential experience. College dorms and residence halls are separated by class -- underclassmen vs. upperclassmen -- and amenities vary. Students can also apply to live in Common Cause Communities (C3), which include the "Be the Change" suites for sophomores, substance-free rooms for juniors and seniors, and the "Balanced Living House" for seniors who want to learn more about their bodies, minds and spirits before transitioning to life after college.

  • Christopher Newport University (Newport News, VA): For most freshmen, sophomores and juniors attending Christopher Newport University, living on campus is not just a convenience -- it is a requirement. CNU maintains a number of residence halls each with its own unique amenities, such as basic cable or private bathrooms. Groups of students with shared interests can apply for themed housing in the James River Hall, while those participating in Greek life can live in residence halls reserved especially for them.

  • Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago, IL): What is better than living in the heart of Chicago? IIT says it offers so many different campus living options that students are bound to find their place in the community. Students can live in one of a handful of on-campus halls, each featuring comfortable accommodations and study spaces, social centers and house-wide activities and events. Students participating in Greek life can apply to "Living on the Greek Quad," which features a collection of houses reserved for fraternities and sororities. Parents coming? Tell them to skip the hotel and stay in an on-campus guest suite instead.

  • Loyola Marymount University (Los Angeles, CA) LMU invites students to immerse themselves in a living environment that "empowers [them] to realize their full potential" and "make friends that will last a lifetime." It seems many have taken the school up on that: as of 2013, more than 3,000 students lived in nearly 20 on-campus residence halls and apartments. Students can apply to live in themed housing, such as the International House or the Los Angeles Experience (LAX) house, or choose to live in Living Learning Communities, which emphasize academics. All houses -- specialty or otherwise -- feature comfortable accommodations, study rooms and community lounges. Another perk of living on campus at LMU: avoiding the infamous L.A. traffic.

  • Mississippi State University (Oktibbeha County, MS): Mississippi State University guarantees comfortable living accommodations to anyone who chooses to live in campus housing, and with more than a dozen residence halls to choose from, students are bound to find something that works for them. All residence halls serve both freshman and upperclassmen and tend to be co-educational, though a few are reserved especially for men, women or honors students. MSU also places a great deal of emphasis on the benefits of living in residence halls rather than college dorms: halls, it suggests, offer a complete student living experience while dorms provide little more than a place to sleep.

  • Pomona College: (Pomona, CA): Pomona College reports that the quality of life on campus is so high that only 2 to 3 percent of its student body chooses to live elsewhere. One feature that separates it from other schools offering on-campus housing is its diversity of living environments. Students can choose to live in special themed units, which include substance-free housing, friendship suites, and special housing for students with dependent children. Eco-conscious students can live in Pomona Hall or Sontag Hall -- two residence halls that have earned the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED Platinum certification for sustainability. Additionally, the school's Oldenborg Center helps foster community among international students, and the Five College Housing Exchange brings students from any of the five Claremont Colleges under one roof.

  • Rice University (Houston, TX): Rice University offers an abundance of undergraduate residence halls, graduate apartments and summer housing solutions. According to its website, Rice's undergraduate halls are a mixture of historic and modern architecture set in a beautiful landscape, providing what it calls a "true oasis" within the "concrete and steel" that defines Houston. Graduate students can look forward to apartment-style living. These furnished apartments are off-campus, but Rice offers free shuttles to and from campus. All housing offers what Rice calls cultural enrichment events, which are designed to bring students together and promote lasting friendships.

  • St. Lawrence University (Canton, NY): One word that perhaps best describes SLU's resident living: diverse. The university maintains so many different on-campus apartments, residence halls, themed cottages and themed floors that students can truly personalize their campus living experiences. Just a few of these unique houses: The Artists' Guild, The Outing Club, the Low Impact Living Greenhouse and La Casa Latina. Some halls also feature entire floors dedicated to intercultural or international student groups.

  • University of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH): The University of Cincinnati says its on-campus housing offers a safe, low-stress environment that supports students academically, socially and personally. Highlighting this point, UC residence halls host hundreds of programs and events each year designed to bring students together, including academic, social and athletic events. Residence halls tend to be co-ed and range from paired college dorms to more luxurious apartment-style living. Stratford Heights -- which houses 693 students in suite-style rooms -- offers special accommodations for those who participate in Greek life or religious organizations or who want to live in academic-focused groups.

  • Wheaton College (Wheaton, IL): This Christian college says its housing goal is to help students become immersed in the campus community and find spiritual support. All undergraduate students are generally required to live on campus in college-owned housing, though a small number of off-campus housing spots are reserved for junior and senior students who agree to attend regular housing meetings and abide by a number of preset rules and expectations. Wheaton can also provide special accommodations for qualifying married, graduate or international students.

Living the Good Life on Campus

For some students, attending college is all about having stellar living accommodations. It makes sense: campus housing can be a staging ground for friendship, cultural awareness and personal independence. Still, housing is only one feature to consider when choosing a school. We suggest researching a number of colleges and earmarking those that meet your academic, social and financial needs. You can contact each school directly to learn more about its offerings, both in and out of the classroom.

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