Living on campus is a part of the archetypical college experience, and usually at the center of everybody’s “Remember in college, when,” stories. ODU’s on-campus housing will leave you with plenty of stories, but they will be a mixed bag of good and bad experiences. Because of a shortage of on-campus residences, ODU has a “lottery system” implemented to determine who will receive housing for the next year. Students are given a certain number of points based on class rank, behavior, GPA, student involvement and hometown. Those figures are tallied to give you a number that will determine your rank on the housing application list. Students with higher lottery numbers receive housing first. The bad thing about this is that if you’re a student who lives in Virginia Beach, has a 2.0 GPA and does not participate in student activities, you’re going to be pretty stressed about whether or not you have housing next year. The good part is that if you have a really smart and involved friend, you may not have much to worry about. He or she can “pull” you up on the list as his or her roommate for the next year, which also eliminates the stress of having a crazy, unknown roommate.
For the money, the dorms at ODU can be overpriced, and it seems like each dorm comes with a critical compromise. You can pay $2,500 per semester to stay in Powhatan, but you will probably have roaches. And tack on another $500 for a meal plan. You can stay in the The Villiage and have your own room, but you will pay $3,700 per semeseter. In between, there are the Quads, which are new, clean, and moderately priced, but they have paper-thin walls and come with one community kitchen for each hall to share. The freshman dorms are small and do not have kitchens, leaving you at the mercy of ODU’s cafeteria system, which tends to close on holidays and long weekends. Still, I haven’t spoken to anyone in college yet who just loved their university’s on-campus housing system, and for the first couple years, it is valuable to be at the heart of the University for the memories and learning environment.