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Upperclassmen's advice for those going through the Penn housing process includes choosing roommates wisely and considering class locations. Credit: Ana Glassman

A student’s choice of housing can be one of the greatest influences on their on-campus lifestyle. The Daily Pennsylvanian asked upperclassmen for advice they would give to those going through Penn’s housing process.

1. Choose your roommates wisely

Every upperclassman that the DP spoke with agreed that roommates define students' living situations and experiences.

“I think there’s two aspects to it. One is choosing your roommates, and the second part is how to live with your roommates,” Engineering senior Joseph Lee said.

Lee added that students can try to make sure their lifestyles — such as sleep schedules and cleanliness — align before deciding to live together. 

However, he said that despite careful planning, students often still end up learning new things about their friends’ lifestyles after living together. To prepare for this, Lee said that it is important for roommates to set clear expectations for one another at the beginning of the year.

“What should we do to achieve those expectations? Should we do a cleaning schedule, putting something on the fridge? Just setting those things early in the year will solve or prevent a lot of issues from coming out later,” Lee said.

College senior Abby So also said that it is most important for students to room with people who are compatible with their lifestyle. However, for incoming first-year students who might know less about their potential roommates, she said not to worry too much about the parts of the housing process that are out of their control.

“It’s not the end-all be-all. I’ll be honest, I met most of my super close friends through other activities outside of just who was on my floor or who my roommates were,” So said, referring to her first couple of years living on campus.

2. Consider proximity to your classes

Engineering senior Venkatesh Shenoy said that he lived quite far from his engineering classes during sophomore year, and he found it a “hassle” trying to make it to early morning classes.

“It kind of hampered my motivation to go," he said. "Proximity to your classes is definitely something to consider."

Shenoy, a DP staffer, added that he lived much closer to his engineering classes the following year, and it made it easier for him to stay engaged with his academics. 

3. Consider what is most important to your personal lifestyle 

The upperclassmen also agreed that on-campus dorms have their own respective pros and cons depending on students’ personal preferences. They recommended considering how social each dorm tends to be — as well as the availability of dining halls, kitchens, common rooms, and other amenities such as music or fitness rooms.

Shenoy said that it is important for students to be aware of their social battery as well. 

“Think about how sociable you are — if you’re the type of person who is okay with having people in your room or having people outside,” Shenoy said. “Do you want a place with a common room where your roommates can have people over or not? That’s something to consider as well.” 

Ahead of the 2024-25 housing application process, the DP compiled a list of on-campus and off-campus housing options for students as they weigh their options and consider upperclassman advice. [add links here]