Dorms at Santa Clara are organized according to "RLCs," or Residential Learning Communities. Each RLC has a "theme," from Italian culture to social justice, that determines the kind of activities and classes it offers its residents. Because each RLC reserves spots for its residents in particular classes, you're likely to have class with the same people you're living with, making it easy to find a study buddy the night before a test.
The dorms are fairly well maintained, though living standards vary from dorm to dorm. The dorms on the "party" side of campus tend to be louder and dirtier, while the suite- style buildings on the opposite side tend to be quieter and cleaner, though not as social. Santa Clara also offers several housing options for upperclassmen, from suites to single apartments.