What are the dorms like?

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Jessica Sillers, DC Freelance Writer, MFA Grad

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Washington and Lee University places most first-year students in double rooms. About 20% live in single rooms. Most rooms offer a variety of possible room configurations, whether you want to loft your bed (I recommend it, as it gives you an easy way to set up a desk/study space under the bed), set up bunk beds with your roommate, or choose to rent a MicroFridge through the university (this combination of microwave, mini-fridge, and mini-freezer is the only food storage or cooking unit allowed in the dorms). A few dorms may restrict certain room configurations, notably Davis, where you may not un-loft the beds.

If you're doing your dorm decor shopping, remember to look for extra-long twin bedding. Regular twin bedding will not fit on the dorm mattresses. For curtains, you should shop for a 48" wide by 64" high window. The university recommends bringing a tension rod to hang any curtains.

In general, expect space to be tight. Sharing with a new roommate takes a little adjusting, and it's courteous to work together to decide how to decorate the space (in other words, don't plan to bring enough posters and rugs for every inch of the room!). When you know who your assigned roommate is, you may want to contact him or her through social media to talk about your living routines and decor preferences. Washington and Lee dissuades students from switching rooms before the first 6 weeks of college life, so getting off on a good foot together goes a long way, even if you have areas where you and your roommate disagree.

Regarding life away from home, you'll have an RA who can help you mediate roommate disputes or lend a sympathetic ear. Washington and Lee offers a laundry service for a fee if you choose not to use the coin-operated machines. Students who want to avoid alcohol entirely can also ask about select substance-free dorms. (Note: Obviously, any underage student should be abstaining from alcohol, but I mention it for those sensitive even to being around others who have been drinking.)

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