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Senior Living Community

Aidan talks about the living options available to seniors!

Aidan talks about the living options available to seniors!

As you get older and older at Carleton your housing options get increasingly better. As a first-year at Carleton, you have to be in residence halls. There are many residence halls with many living options open to first-year students including substance-free, all first-year floors, and more. But regardless, first-years live in residence halls—it’s all part of the experience. After your first year, the options open up a bit more. There are more options for different residence halls to live in and interest houses open up as well. Junior year, options are more or less the same. 

culinary house wall
My sophomore year house, I loved living in Culinary!


But senior year, that’s when the magic happens. The world is pretty much your oyster (of course it all still depends on your draw number). But, I couldn’t be more happy with my living situation this year, and most seniors I know are too. So today, I’ll give you some examples of the living options open to seniors, and the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Option 1: Residence Halls 

The old faithful. When you’re a senior, you’ll already be pretty familiar with what living in a residence hall is like. But the options are still markedly better than those available to first-years. Most seniors living in residence halls will either live in a single or suite-style room. Singles are preferable for those who like having their own dedicated space. Suites on the other hand are for people who want to live with their friends but would prefer living in the central locations of residence halls such as Davis, James, or Sevy. Living in a residence hall also means staying on the meal plan, a pro for those who hate cooking and a con for those who crave it. One thing to note is: as it is a residence hall, living in a suite means you’re still sharing some facilities and spaces with the rest of the students on your floor, so you get less ‘private’ space overall. 

aidan and friends
Me and my friends Alyssa and Maddie in my first-year dorm in Watson Hall!


Residence halls are perfect for people who want more of the same, but maybe just a little bit elevated from their old digs.

Option 2: Townhouses

Townhouses are an extremely popular and desirable option amongst seniors. Living in the townhouses usually means living extremely close to the rest of your friends since many seniors tend to end up here. Townhouses are overall pretty similar to the suite-style rooms available in residence halls (a combination of rooms, a shared common space, and a bathroom). They differ mainly due to their complete separation from the other townhouses and they come equipped with full kitchens. Due to the kitchen space, people living here have the option to be on a reduced meal plan or be completely off-board, cooking all their own meals. 

The townhouses are located just behind the Carleton sign!

Students tend to gravitate towards these spaces as they are more conducive to hosting events and hanging out with friends. The townhouse location is also desirable as it is situated right between the central campus and downtown Northfield with easy access to all the fun located in both spots.


Townhouses are perfect for students who want to live by many of their friends or want a change from dorm life.

Option 3: Northfield Option

Northfield option is definitely the black sheep of the housing options since you’re not technically living at Carleton at all! Even though Carleton is a primarily residential campus, every year select seniors are able to live in houses/apartments in the Northfield community with their friends instead of living in Carleton-owned housing. Northfield option homes are usually located a bit further off campus, but never too far away (no more than a 15-minute walk to class). 

The main reason students usually pick Northfield option is you get a bit more privacy. There is no more RA to monitor you or other students around to snoop on your business. Additionally, you have a whole house, yard and all—just like your one at home. But living in a house also means, you have to figure some stuff out. Living “Northfield Option” requires you to cook your meals for yourself, grocery shop for yourself, and clean for yourself. So, it’s definitely more of a commitment than the other two options, so students choosing this have to be prepared!


Northfield option is perfect for students who want a bit more privacy and space and are willing to sacrifice some conveniences of Carleton-owned housing for them!

Me and my housemates, Alyssa and Lucy! (We don’t know why we’re leaning either).

My Process

This year when I was looking for housing, I struggled a lot! There were so many good options and all of them were so appealing to me. Since there are so many options during senior year, picking roommates and settling on what everyone wants can be hard. Ultimately, I decided to draw a house with a couple of my friends. We all wanted to be able to cook for ourselves but didn’t mind the idea of Carleton still cleaning our house. So we settled on our new home: Prentice House. Honestly, it’s been perfect for me, and every senior I’ve talked to has been just as happy with their choices as well. You just can’t go wrong!

Aidan (he/him) is a Senior from Batavia, IL coming back to Northfield after a summer studying churches in Europe. He is a Religion major and French minor with a passion for cello. Outside of class, he enjoys spending his time cooking, hanging out with his housemates, and broadcasting his favorite songs to the Northfield community on KRLX. You can often find him at the campuses’ two dining halls chatting with other students while working as a student dining hall manager.