residence dorm or suite

Residence: Dorm vs. Suite?


The following tips, originally posted at the Studentawards Forum, were contributed by students in our membership.

Q. Does anyone have any opinions on dormitory living vs. apartment-style residences? (Posted by: JulieSkater)


  • I lived in a suite and it was amazing. You don’t have to share your room with anyone, so you can be alone to study/sleep when you want. You only have to share your bathroom with one other person (there were 2 washrooms in the suite). You don’t have to buy a $3,000 meal plan and aren’t forced to live off of just caf food. You can cook your own. But you’re not isolated because you’ve got suitemates still.  (Posted by: inthemaking)

  • I’d say dorm single room. I am in an apartment now and it’s nice and all. I have my own kitchen, common area, and bathroom that I share with 3 other people. But within the building, and floor for that matter, there is no sense of community. I think they call it the “double door challenge.” People just stick to themselves in their own apartments and you rarely see people walking the halls. There are no commons rooms in my building so that might be a contributing factor. You still can make many good friends, but if you want the whole experience do traditional. When applying, there would have been no other option I would have wanted except for suite/apartment (even after people warned me about this). But looking back at it, I think I could have survived traditional style residence for 8 months just for the experience of traditional residence living. (Posted by: ehkay17)

  • I recommend living in dorms in first year. It’s a different environment than what you’d get if you lived suite-style. In general, you tend to become a lot closer to your floor if you live in dorms (aka traditional-style) versus suite-style… easier to bond with your floor in traditional-style than suite-style. (Posted by: 123abcuwo)

  • My vote is on dorm-style… After first year, you’re probably going to be living in a real apartment anyway so you aren’t really getting anything special by jumping in an apartment-style residence [in my opinion]. It really depends on who you are, though. I love just hanging around with a bunch of people all the time so dorm was a no-brainer for me. If you prefer your privacy and are more independent an apartment may, in fact, be better for you. I just think this is probably your only chance to have a dorm experience whereas you’ll probably get many apartment experiences in your life. (Posted by: Unspool)

  • I lived in Apartment Suite style during my first year, and really enjoyed it. How involved you get with your floor is really dependent upon your own level of involvement, but I found I was too busy to have time for my floor’s activities. This way, I was still able to socialize with my apartment-mates. If the alternative to apartment-style is sharing a bedroom, then the apartment-style is a much easier way to keep boundaries on mess. You can let your own room look however you want it too, and keep your mess out of the common living spaces. Also, it’s nicer to only share your bathroom with a couple of people than an entire floor, especially when you’re sick. (Posted by: Cerebrop)

  • I personally lived in a dorm style residence and I LOVED it! It was such a great way to meet people from different cultures and also people in different (or the same!) faculties/programs. Living in a dorm style residence you instantly feel like family! (Probably because you’re sharing bathrooms and sometimes even bedrooms, and everyone is literally close together). A lot of people say the cafeteria food is terrible and you have no choices but at my university, we had a lot of choices and plenty of healthy options as well. Plus the ‘theme’ nights every week were great and you got to experience foods from other cultures! I know some people who lived in the ‘suite’ style residence and they enjoyed that as well, but you don’t really get to meet people there, and the sense of ‘community’ and ‘family’ isnt like it is in the dorm style. Plus, taking the time to cook your own meals and grocery shop in first year is a lot harder. (Since you’re still figuring out how you work in university/college and how much time you need for assignments and studying, cooking and grocery shopping can take longer than you think!) (Posted by: jhazz)

  • For me, the deciding factors were the costs (as mentioned above, no meal plan or a lesser meal plan makes suites cheaper than traditional residences) and also the layout of the room seemed more functional and more desirable. I’m a people person, but I’m also a messy person and suites have more room, but still have other people in them, so I felt I’d get the best of everything. (Posted by: Rita)