Now that high schools across the US are in the midst of graduation season and many of Wake Forest's class of 2022 have their diplomas in hand, I figured it was time to help our newest Deacs begin to get acquainted with their new home. You've all surely toured campus once or twice, or five times if you're anything like I was, and can completely envision yourself living on our beautiful campus. You're definitely going to move into that brand new dorm you toured and you and your roommate/future best friend are totally going to color coordinate the whole thing... right?!?
Unfortunately, matching bedspreads might have to wait until sophomore year because at Wake Forest freshman year housing is completely random. Everything from the building you live in to the person sleeping two feet away from you is in the hands of Residence Life and Housing. This random distribution of students creates diversity in the types of people and personalities living in each residence hall and ensures that no matter where you're placed there will be plenty of different people to get to know. This quality is shared by all seven dorms on Wake Forest's South Campus, but each dorm has its own quirks that make it unique and add to your individual freshman year experience.
Long regarded as the most social dorm on campus, the vibe of Collins Residence Hall probably most resembles that depicted in movies about colleges showing loud halls packed with students hanging out. It's reputation may come from the fact that the dorm houses the most students. It also may be because this high volume of students is packed into arguably the smallest rooms of any of the freshman dorms. Collins's shoe-boxed sized rooms are in such close quarters that you'll have no problem getting to know your neighbors because you'll literally be able to hear everything they say through the walls.
The set-up of the floors themselves also fosters the dorm's community feel. Each floor's lounge is in the center of the its three wings. The stairs and elevator open to this commons space, forcing traffic through the lounge. This central location and constant flow of people make it a great place to meet your floor mates and hang out, but not such a great study space! It was this social atmosphere that made me very grateful to have spent my own freshman year in Collins.
I loved that at any time of the day I could find someone to grab food in the Pit, head to ZSR, go out, or even just binge "New Girl" on Netflix with me. Being packed in with so many people was so helpful at the start of the year because I, like many freshman, was anxious to make friends, but nervous to approach people. Being forced to share a bathroom with 25 girls quickly forced this introduction!
2. Bostwick and Johnson
These two dorms are nearly mirror images of one another. They both have pretty outdoor balconies with tables and chairs, offering residents a unique study or hangout space overlooking Manchester Plaza, which is probably the most visually appealing aspect of these dorms. Inside is a bit of a different story. As South campus's oldest dorms, these two tend to be perceived as the least desirable because of their dated features and questionable cleanliness. However, a positive aspect of Bostwick and Johnson is their location on the perimeter of lower quad, placing residents within a 5 minute walk of food, classes, and the gym (which is prefect because all freshman totally
DON'T stick to their plan to workout regularly!!!!).
As a student living in Bostwick or Johnson you will also be the envy of all your friends walking your laundry basket up and down the stairs to the basement due to the buildings's lack of elevators will have you in great shape! All joking aside, these dorms are still great places to spend freshman year! They have all the same amenities as other dorms and foster a strong community feel! On the bright side, you're basically guaranteed to have nicer housing the following year!
3. South and Angelou
If you hit the Residence Life and Housing jackpot and get assigned to one of WFU's two newest residence halls, just know that everyone already hates you. Really, we do. Prepare yourself for constant annoyance and jealously from all your new friends after you reveal that you're spending freshman year in a dormitory that more closely resembles a hotel (they'll forgive you if you offer to host the pregame). Angelou and South are BEAUTIFUL with grand lobbies housing pianos and pretty seating areas. The rooms themselves are definitely larger than other dorms, so with that extra space you may even be able to achieve a room like all those you've saved on Pinterest in a "Dorm Goals!!!!!" board.
Students living in these dorms have skipped over the freshman right of passage that is living in a less than ideal south campus residence hall. While other freshman can reason that at least their housing will improve each year, students living in South or Angelou have to prepare themselves for the fact that their housing as a sophomore (or even as a junior) may be a downgrade! Additionally, these dorms tend to have less of the tight-knit community that exists in the other freshman dorms.
Perhaps this is because the extra space means that students aren't living on top of one another and are not as forced to get to know those living nearby. If you're living here freshman year prepare yourself to put in some extra effort to meet the people living on your hall and maybe even bring a doorstop to keep your room open if you don't mind your new hall mates popping in to say hello!
I've always seen Babcock as a happy medium of all the best aspects of Wake's freshman dorms. It's social, yet offers space for privacy, and it is updated, but not nicer than the apartment you'll be able to afford after you graduate. The rooms in Babcock are, in my opinion, some of the largest of all freshman dorms. The rooms have a large sink/vanity area and separate closets, offering plenty of space for the million items from home that you will never use but just had to bring!
The halls in Babcock are super social, and not just because of lack of space like in Collins! Residents of Babcock halls always tend to form tight and bonds and stick together, making living in this dorm a very fun and memorable freshman year experience. You can always find a group of people hanging out in the common spaces or even up on the roof, just remember that RA's are monitoring these areas, too ;).
Luter is definitely the most unique of the freshman dorms due to both its design and its inhabitants. Wake Forest freshman dorms all share the common feature of being hall style with communal bathrooms. The suite style living that students tend to prefer is reserved for upperclassmen living around the quad or on north campus… except for Luter. This residence hall is comprised of two double rooms connected by a private bathroom. This added convenience is a major plus. However, the additional space requires cooperation and cohabitation with additional people. Students living in Luter must live with the habits of not just their roommate, but also there two additional "suitemates".
Here, there's a chance that the one hallmate who always spends late Friday night puking in the bathroom could be the person sharing your toilet. Something else to note about Luter is the increasing number of non-freshman residents. As the number of students increases (and available housing does not), more and more older students are left without available space in more sought-after dorms around the quad or on north campus. With the only other option being Palmer and Piccolo by the Barn, many chose to live in Luter due to its proximity to class buildings and ZSR. About half of the large dorm is still filled with freshman, but the it's large upperclassmen population may decrease the first-year antics typically associated with the south campus dorms.