Dorm Survival Guide

Going to college is a huge change in general, but one of the biggest adjustments is moving into a small rectangular room, sleeping 5 feet away from a person you just met. Although you have the power to request a roommate, you have no power when it comes to choosing which dorm you’ll spend the next year in. While the dorms are beautiful on the outside, once inside, it’s a toss-up. But don’t worry, I’ve broken it all down for you.

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Armstrong, Crum, Kathy Crow, Loyd, and Ware

These are the new dorms since they are only a few years old. They are all communal, so you will share a bathroom with the people living on your floor. Though they are close to the gym, and Arnold dining hall, they are on the opposite side of campus so the walk to class will take a little longer than you might like. If you’re ever running late, or it’s pouring rain, call a giddy-up. Giddy up is a service provided by SMU where you can be picked up on a golf cart and taken to class or anywhere on campus. #MySMU

Boaz, Cockrell-McIntosh, Mary Hay/Peyton/Shuttles, McElvaney, Morrison-McGinnis, and Virginia-Snyder

They are considered (you guessed it) the old dorms. As soon as you walk inside, it will become clear as to why they are called the old dorms. Although it may be hard to believe at first, there are some perks to living in dorms that were built in the mid 20th century. They are conveniently located along the Boulevard, a close walk to class and some rooms are more spacious. Depending on which old dorm you live in, you will either have a communal setup or suite-style room.

The sizes of the dorm rooms are different depending on your Residential Commons, but making everything fit will be a challenge on move-in day, no matter where you live. All dorms are co-ed, so if you’re lucky, the people living next door to you will end up being some of your closest friends.


The twin XL beds are likely a lot smaller than what you are used to at home, so spending a little extra on bedding is worth it. Here’s what you need:

  • mattress protector
  • mattress pad
  • mattress topper
  • two sets of sheets
  • duvet
  • pillows


If you have a lot of stuff, lofting your bed is huge because it gives you room to store your clothes/items under your bed. It allows you to stack plastic bins in addition to the dresser that is provided by SMU. You and your roommate can also loft your beds to make room for a couch under one and a TV under the other to accomplish a lounge situation. To request a lofted bed, go to the SMU Housing Portal.


Heres a stylistic tip that proves a small change can make a huge difference. If you want to hide the guard rail that comes on the bed, move beds with your roommate so that the rail is on the same side of your wall. Do this before you move anything in because you need space…trust me.

Be Nice

Be nice to your RA. Only good things can come from this. Once again, just trust me.


Living in a box with another person can be hard even if they end up being your best friend. You will quickly learn each other’s most annoying habits. If one of you is a neat freak and the other roommate is a closeted mess, the organized roommate will eventually reach a breaking point. Make compromises and address any problems you have early on. Don’t sweep them under the rug!

Take turns taking out the trash, buying snacks for your room, or anything you two share. It may not seem like a big deal, but if only one of you are doing all the chores, the other will probably get annoyed.


Keep a snack drawer for you and your roommate to share. It’s super convenient if you’re running late to class, have a lot of studying to do, or coming home from a night out.

A mini-fridge is a must. You can easily rent one from SMU on move-in day, but be warned that anything that is property of SMU can be checked and opened by SMU. For this reason, many students like to buy their own for privacy purposes.


If you’re in a communal bathroom, wear flip flops 24/7 because they are disgusting, dirty, and have decades of accumulated grime.

If you are living in a suite-style room with a shared bathroom, you’re bathroom will get cleaned by SMU once a week. However, it’s easy for a bathroom shared by four people to get dirty so grab some Clorox wipes and extra trash bags so that you’re not living in complete filth.

Study Time

Studying in your room may seem like a good idea until the people living on your floor come home from a night out. If you insist on studying in your dorm, you don’t have to be confined to your room. There are booths lining the halls and study rooms on each floor. You can also head over to Fondren Library or the quiet Bridwell Library (and less crowded) to knock out homework or study for a test.

Hope this helps! Good luck!

Chloe Smith

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