PRO: Dorm living is good for students

Sept. 16, 2012 at 4:16 a.m.
Updated Sept. 17, 2012 at 4:17 a.m.

Marco Barrientos, of Houston, lines up a pool shot as his roommate, Shomari Simon, eyes his competition from the back of the room at Jaguar Hall.

Marco Barrientos, of Houston, lines up a pool shot as his roommate, Shomari Simon, eyes his competition from the back of the room at Jaguar Hall.   Frank Tilley for The Victoria Advocate


The 18-year-old student from Katy didn't know anyone when he moved to Victoria.

"I wasn't afraid, but I was nervous because I had always been at home with my mom and now I'm on my own," said Shomari Simon about starting school at the University of Houston-Victoria.

Simon did not even know the high school graduate who would be his roommate in Jaguar Hall, Marco Barrientos.

The two met when they moved in.

"It was a very smooth meeting," Barrientos said. "We were both fixing our side of the rooms and as the day kept going, our parents left and it was just us, and we got to know each other, asking questions."

Barrientos, who also didn't know anyone when he moved from Houston, said the two are now good friends.

And that is exactly why the university requires freshmen and sophomores to live in the dorms, says Lindsey Koch, director student life and services.

"It is based on retention research, which informs us that students who live on campus, and the longer they live on campus, they are more likely to persist and graduate," Koch said. "They are connected to valuable services that can assist them in and out of the classroom."

Koch said even when students have personality clashes in the dorms, advisors are there to counsel them through problem solving.

"Often students want unlimited freedom after leaving their parents, and while that is understandable, we think we should take steps toward that unlimited freedom," Koch said.

For many students, too, dorm life is cheaper.

The average dorm costs $380 per month, with all utilities included and they come completely furnished. Financial aid can also apply to dorms fees.

"Rental right now is at an all-time high, which is great for the rental market, but I don't believe it would be very smart for a student to get in that right now," said Judy VanZant, a real estate agent with Cornerstone Properties. "The dorms are probably a better deal."

Koch said the lack of available rentals in Victoria is one reason for requiring sophomores to live on campus

Simon and Barrientos said they don't mind the requirement; they would have lived on campus as sophomores anyway.

They said it is impossible to be bored in the dorms because there are always people and events.

"It is a good requirement because a lot of people, when they come here from high school, are afraid to meet new people. And being required to live here means that you meet new people every day and really get to know people," Simon said.



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