A Case for Dorm Life: Why PC’s Housing Policy Requiring Three Years of On-Campus Living is a Good Thing

by The Cowl Editor on November 7, 2019


Living in dorms provides opportunities for community building that students may not get off campus. Photo courtesy of Providence College Instagram.

by Margaret Scales ’23

Opinion Staff

In contrast to many other colleges and universities, Providence College requires their students to live on campus for their first three years at the College. Although this requirement fosters a good amount of negative criticism amongst the student body, its benefits outweigh the inconvenience of having to wait to share an apartment with friends.

At first glance, the idea of subscribing to dorm life for three years is quite the turn off—who wants to deal with roommates and communal bathrooms for three years? However, once stepping onto a campus that does not share that same obligation, it is clear that the pros of dorm life at PC outweigh the cons. At most other schools, as students are allowed the freedom of living off campus after their freshman year, these other campuses become emptier, losing that community feel that a greatly inhabited school like PC provides.

Dorm life—while testing at times—is very social, forcing even the shyest of students to interact with their neighbors and meet new people. Living only a door apart from dozens of other students is a great way to make friends and broaden your social circle. Although most schools require this experience for freshmen, the fact that PC students are subject to dorm life for three years builds even stronger relationships than those of other schools. 

Because PC requires their students to live on campus, kids are far more apt to develop their social lives around that. Given that the College’s property is already small, the fact that the majority of the student body lives on campus fosters a lot of energy at the College. Whether it be on Slavin lawn, in the Peterson Recreation Center, or even in Raymond Dining Hall, there is always an abundance of events happening, something that would not be made possible without the large community presence on campus. 

As the multitude of student-run events and activities at PC can certainly consume someone’s day, the night life similarly often revolves around being on campus. Because so many students live on the property, dorm-party culture is far more popular at the College than at other schools, something that the student-on-a-budget should certainly be grateful for. While there are many popular bars in the area, more often than not, PC students can be found having just as much fun spending their nights in dorms. 

The night life at many other inner city colleges and universities seems to be far more dependent on breaking the bank in order to have a good time. Between Ubers, dinners, and bars, students at other institutions often spend over $100 each time they want to socialize with their friends. The advantages of staying on a campus with such a strong community and inherently strong localized night-life more than outweighs the obligation of going into debt in order to have a social life. 

Lastly, the glorious tradition surrounding moving off campus for your final year at PC is something that every student is able to look forward to. The idea of senior privileges is diminishing as higher education becomes more independent and individualized, but not at PC. After forming incredibly strong relationships throughout every student’s three years of dorm life, finally being able to get a house together for senior year is all the more special. There is also something to be said about the fact that senior housing lines campus—students just cannot get enough of that Friartown community.