5 Questions To Ask About Campus Housing
Posted on March 14, 2023
There are plenty of reasons to live on campus, especially for first-year college students.
Living in a residence hall helps build a sense of community, bolster school pride and give new students opportunities to make lifelong friends. Students who are more engaged tend to do better academically and are more likely to continue to graduation.
But before a student picks a roommate or requests a specific hall, there are some bigger questions to ask: What should students want and expect in campus housing?
Students should make a list of priorities and check off what’s most important to them. Here are five questions to start with:
1. What are campus safety features and security programs?
Campus safety is a primary concern. Issues range from building security to campus police to community conditions.
At the University of South Alabama, residence halls for first-year students offer interior hallways and a two-step security system. Students must swipe their ID cards to enter a building, then use a key for access to the wings where their rooms are located. Security surveillance cameras are located on each wing.
Security and maintenance staff are available 24/7. There are resident assistants on every floor of every wing in each building.
The University Police Department is located next to the residence hall communities and conduct frequent patrols. LiveSafe, a free mobile app, helps students prevent crime and enable better incident response.
2. Are there private bathrooms?
Surveys show that privacy is important to college students. They don’t like the idea of communal restrooms or sharing facilities with several people on one floor.
At South, each room has its own bathroom shared between roommates. All rooms have windows and natural light. Students have their choice of multiple floor plans including rooms for two, private rooms, suites, studio apartments and two-bedroom apartments.
3. Is there easy access to campus amenities?
Many college campuses are huge, sprawling and with residential communities located far from academic buildings, student services and playing fields.
At South, three of the most popular destinations – the Fresh Food Co., Hancock Whitney Stadium and the Student Recreation Center – are right next door to the residence halls. Sports fans also enjoy easy access to the Mitchell Center and Stanky Field. Other locations like the Student Center, Marx Library and academic buildings are nearby.
The JagTran bus system offers free rides to destinations all over campus, and the Saturday Shuttle connects to grocery stores off campus. Students who live on-campus can park for free – the only cost is $5 for a decal.
4. How new are the residence halls?
Modern buildings often offer the latest in room design and security features, along with different floor plans and suite arrangements.
Azalea Hall and Camellia Hall are two of the most popular first-year communities at South. Each is a four-story residence built in the last several years. Each offers modern room layouts, private bathrooms and vanities, water-bottle fill stations, an elevator, lounge and study areas, plus common spaces and laundry rooms.
At South, laundry facilities are free – none of those old coin machines – with a handy app that lets residents check on washer and dryer availability. It will even send a text when that last cycle is complete!
5. How well does campus housing communicate with students?
Those who live in residence halls are some of the most engaged students. They live in the heart of the university. Resident assistants and the USA Housing team do their part to ensure students stay connected through steady communication and engagement.
USA Housing regularly communicates with residents through text, email and in face-to-face meetings. In the fall of 2022, the team increased staffing to ensure that residents have their needs supported at all times. The result: On-campus students reported in surveys that they felt well-informed, and a record number of residents have said that they will return to live on campus next year.
The USA Housing website offers everything from virtual tours and 3D floor plans to move-in guides and is regularly updated to ensure students know what to expect. The MyUSAHousing online portal provides digital support for a range of tasks, including room selection and choosing a roommate, and there is even the ability to live chat with the housing team.
The priority housing deadline for first-year students at the University of South Alabama is April 1. But don’t wait: Room selection preference is given to those who complete their applications the soonest.
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