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Rooming at Carleton

Alvin talks about his experience in different dorms at Carleton.

Alvin talks about his experience in different dorms at Carleton.


Hello everyone!

Like the other bloggers, I’d like to take some time this week to talk about my rooming experience at Carleton. Unfortunately, I’m not on campus this term, so I am not able to talk about my current room or take pictures. However, I’ve lived in three different dorm buildings at Carleton, and would like to talk about each!

Incoming freshmen are randomly assigned rooms (after filling out a questionnaire about preferences, ie. noise level, number of roommates, what time you would like to sleep, etc.), and I was fortunate enough to be placed in the prestigious Burton Hall.

One of the older buildings on campus, Burton displays wonderful architecture and has a historical feel to it. As it is centrally located on campus, Burton is one of the most popular dorm buildings, and houses a large number of students. It is connected to two other dorm buildings (Severance Hall and Davis Hall), and is also connected to one of the two dining halls on campus as well as Sayles, arguably the most popular study/hang out spot at Carleton.

These buildings make up “The Complex,” and are extremely desirable as one can spend the day indoors, without needing to go out, which comes in handy in the harshest days of winter. Willis Hall (economics, political science/international relations), Leighton Hall (history, religion, sociology/anthropology), and Gould Library are also just a short walk away.

Burton primarily houses freshman, juniors, and seniors, but sophomores with good draw numbers live there as well (I’ll explain draw numbers later on). Burton offers singles, doubles, and triples (most popular). I stayed in a two room triple my freshman year, and lived on my own in one bedroom with my two roommates staying in a double. The triples in Burton are very spacious, and I had tons of floor space; while this is not necessary as a college student, it was certainly nice and I would definitely recommend Burton to anyone. For those who don’t like the separation, there are triples in Burton that do not have completely separated rooms. 

Burton Pros

– Large rooms

– Easy access to dining hall/Sayles

– Great floor life

Burton Cons

– As it’s the center of the complex, it can get pretty loud, especially on weekends

– Rooms/restrooms are older than some of the other dorms

Moving about 20 yards behind the complex, I lived in Musser Hall my sophomore year. Musser is primarily occupied by freshmen and sophomores who live in doubles, but there are a handful of RA’s and upperclassmen who choose to live in a Musser single.

Musser gets a bad rep at Carleton, as it is not seen as an ideal place to live and is frequently one of the last selected places to stay during room draw. However, I had a great time there! I think some people don’t like it as much as the doubles are a bit smaller and bathrooms are not as nice (showers don’t have individual cubicles). I didn’t find this to be a problem though, and I especially appreciated the cleanliness and brightness of the building (it is newer and in better shape with brighter lights than most dorms), and also the quietness of my floor (I lived on a substance free floor, and experienced much less noise than my freshman year).

Additionally, Musser is right next to the Complex, so I would say that Musser has the same benefits that the Complex provides. Also worth noting: I’m not sure how it is now, but when I lived in Musser, bathrooms were separated by gender, whereas bathrooms in Burton are gender neutral. 

Musser Pros

– Newer, cleaner rooms (lighting is far brighter than in the Complex)

– Good location

– Easier to get to know people in your grade

Musser Cons

– Bathrooms not as nice

– Smaller rooms

I lived in Davis Hall last term, which was also in the Complex. Davis houses mainly upperclassmen, and consists of doubles, singles, triples, and the popular quints. I lived in a quint, which consisted of a single, two doubles, an extremely large living area with couches and tables, and a bathroom with two sinks and two showers. Rooms in Davis are generally considered to be very nice and are relatively hard to get. Quints offer more possibilities for optimizing your room, and can be lots of fun. We had a piano and TV in our main room, and reserved a table for lots of different board games. All rooms in Davis have their own bathrooms, which can be extremely convenient. 

Davis Pros

– Located in the Complex

– Huge living space

– Comes with own bathroom

Davis Cons

– Dim lighting

– Also loud on weekends

– Have to clean bathroom (could be a pro depending on your personality)

So while freshmen are randomly assigned to rooms, all other students select their rooms through the room draw process. I’m not sure if other bloggers have mentioned how it works, but basically, each student is assigned a “lottery number” at the end of each school year. Rising seniors get the lowest numbers (roughly 1-500), with juniors following up with roughly 500-1000, and so forth.

People who want to room with friends make a group on the housing portal, and whoever has the best number in the group draws the room. Some students prefer to live off campus senior year, but apart from them, the housing process usually goes the same way. Carleton townhouses are selected first (roughly numbers 1-20), with James Hall being the first dorm building to fill up, with Severance Hall, Davis Hall, and Burton following up. Cassat, Evans, and Nourse are probably the three most desirable halls after that, with Myers and Watson falling in place behind them. That leaves Goodhue and Musser to be the last two dorm halls to fill up. 

In addition to residence halls, others choose to live in houses, such as Rice House and Farm House. I’m not too familiar with them, but with most people choosing to live in residence halls without second thought, living in houses on campus can also be a great option. They are a little further away from academic buildings, but are quiet with a strong community atmosphere and each possess their own individual charm.

All in all, living at Carleton is great and there will be something for you no matter what your preference is!

Sorry for the super long blog, in retrospect I got a bit carried away. So if you’ve gotten this far, thanks for taking the time to read it! I hope it was informative.


Alvin is a west coast kid at heart (coming from San Jose, California), but is loving his time in Minnesota. He plays for the soccer team here at Carleton and loves exercise. If he’s not on the soccer field, in the gym, or out on a bike ride during his free time, he can be found in one of the lounges playing Exploding Kittens, or in the music building playing piano. He is a Computer Science major with an interest in Economics and StatisticsMeet the other bloggers!