Bad news first: On-campus housing is hard to get. Originally, UT Dallas was a pure graduate institution, whose students largely commuted to school, so demand for dorms was low. In recent years, the University has built two freshman dorms and many upperclassman apartments, but that still falls far short of the sudden surge in the undergraduate student population. Two more freshman dorms are in construction, but they can’t help with the shortage of housing for juniors and seniors, who lie at the bottom of the priority ladder. Roommate placement is also a big problem—don’t expect the housing staff to read your preferences, unless you specifically name someone as your future roomie.
The good news is that on-campus housing is of great quality. Dorms and apartments are new—the freshman ones are brand-new—so they all feel clean and fresh, at least when you first move in. Each residential area has its own study lounge, entertainment lobby or clubhouse, and sports courts for students to hang out and socialize. It’s hard to find parties on campus, but if you prefer a calm and healthy environment, it’s a big plus. Privacy and spaciousness arguably constitute the best part of dorm life. Students can choose the shared bedroom option, but private bedrooms with locks and keys are the norm, and you will only share your bathroom with another guy/girl. Unless you live in Phase 8A (called “Canada” by students), it’s a reasonable walking distance to classes, bus stops, and parking lots. Rent is a high $600-plus for freshmen, but it gets lower after that first year. Getting a scholarship or financial aid can greatly reduce the living costs, too.