May is coming up quickly and that means deciding your college and picking your housing. I remember how stressed out I was by the housing selection process and so I want to explain it to all of the incoming freshman to make it easier for them. I also reached out to many of my friends in different on campus residences and had them send me their honest reviews and pictures. By the end of this post, you will know everything you need to about selecting a residence hall for your freshman year at University of South Carolina.
What is a Living and Learning Community?
University of South Carolina as well as many other universities offers living learning communities to students. This is where you live in a residence hall with other students who are in your college or have you major. This encourages you to get to know like minded people and become friends with people in your classes. There is also meetings and fun events held by the learning community directors.
Do I have to Participate in the LLC?
At University of South Carolina, when you are applying for housing they actually have you apply to a living-learning community instead. So you will rank what living and learning community that you want to be in on the form. However, each living and learning community is assigned to a building, so if you do not want to be in that building because of location or type of dorm, don’t select that community.
The university encourages you to chose the living and learning community that fits you best rather than your favorite dorm, but it is not required. I actually ended up in the Women In Stem LLC even though I am a tourism major.
With that said, there are some residence halls that are competitive to get into so you if you are not in the major that aligns with the LLC then your chances are slimmer of getting it.
A Note About The Campus Housing Experience:
I asked my friend Tabitha about her experience in the dorms and she so beautifully described it that I wanted to include the whole quote:
Leaving home is always scary, especially when it’s hand in hand with living somewhere new for a year. It was a little easier knowing that most of the people around me were also experiencing the same thing I was, so many new and sudden freedoms. But with new freedoms came new choices, I had to make new friends and I couldn’t rely on my parents to make all my choices. Living in Cola Hall was such a new adventure and maybe it was harder for me than most, needing time to recharge after being social, unlike my roommates who had no trouble diving right in and always leaving our door wide open. The late night talks in the study were juxtaposed against the multitude of fire alarms going off throughout the night. The constantly filled or broken washers and dryers overshadowed by the random visits from friends down the hall or those we knew from a another floor. There were good parts and there were bad parts, as is the uncaring nature of life, but as cliche as it may sound, Cola Hall became my family. I may complain that people were too loud or too intrusive, but that was just part of their charm. Being in a new place is scary, but it helps knowing that whatever your feeling, everyone else is feeling too. Don’t be afraid to make the initiative to meet people that live on your floor, who knows, you might make some of your best memories with them.
Reviews On Each Residence Hall
Womens Quad: Sims, Wade Hampton, McClintock
These residence halls are their own “residence” but are apart of a connected building with three wings. They often host events together and encourage Women’s Quad to be one big community. As you can tell by the title, all three are female only dorms.
The building was recently renovated so the rooms all look nice. The dorms are suite style so 2 people share a room, and then share a bathroom with the dorm adjacent to them. Each room has a large sink in it, and the bathroom has the toilet and shower.
The dorm is on Greene street right next to the Russel House (Union) and is a short walk to the strip of academic buildings such as Gambrell. It is also pretty close to the lesser known gym, Blatt.
“I loved my dorm at Women’s Quad. My dorm felt very spacious, clean and was a newer building. Suite style dorms was perfect for me because I didn’t love the idea of sharing a bathroom with 20 girls. However, the doors were very heavy and girls did not have an “open door policy” so it was hard to get to know people. I think that most people don’t want to be in Women’s Quad because they want to live with boys as well. It doesn’t prevent you from creating those friendships however for the first semester (before it is up to a community vote), boys are not allowed to stay past 2 am on any day but Friday and Saturday. I would definitely recommend this residence hall to everyone.” – me
Patterson is the Galen Health Fellows LLC so it is pretty hard to get into if your major does not fit into that. The reason is because this dorm is arguably one of the nicest and so it is competitive. You must apply to this LLC and fill out a form explaining why you want to be apart of it and how your major relates to the health community.
This dorm is also suite style with 2 people to a room and 4 people to a bathroom. There is a sink in each bedroom. Patterson also has it’s own nice courtyard behind the building with chairs to lay out or do your work.
” I lived in Patterson Hall and I absolutely loved it! It was super close to Russell and the center of campus! My room was way larger than I had envisioned a college dorm being! Everyone in Patterson is super welcoming and it is definitely a family atmosphere!”- Meredith
Capstone is a building specifically for students in the capstone scholars program. This building is on the edge of campus so it is very far from the strom workout center and business school, but very close to several academic buildings. It is a short walk to the Russel House, but luckily has it’s own all you can eat dinning hall within the building.
The dorms are suite style and have two people to a dorm, and 4 to a bathroom. Just as the other buildings, it also has a sink in the room.
“Living in Capstone was the best decision I made Freshman year. It is known as one of the most social dorms and I would completely agree with that, and the bond I made with my floor mates was so much fun. Everyone leaves their doors open and having friends walk into our room to talk was one of the best parts of living there. Overall such an amazing experience. It is an older dorm so that could be seen as a downside, and the elevators are a little slow but those things are totally worth it to live there. I wouldn’t trade living in Capstone for anything, and it completely MADE my freshman year.”- Claire
Columbia Hall is a suite style co-ed building right next to Capstone. As Capstone is, it is far from the other side of campus but near several academic buildings.
“I’ll admit that my experience was pretty unique, because I shared a triple with 2 other girls. We shared a bathroom and had a slightly bigger room that was a double. It was kinda difficult at first, each of us having a different schedule but we eventually figured it out. The conditions were okay, not the best but also not the worst. Our bathrooms were cleaned once a month, so we cleaned up the little day to day messes. Other than that, Cola Hall was in pretty good condition since the building was renovated a recently.” -Tabitha
Green Quad is one of the three apartment style residences. It has three buildings next to each other A, B, and C which are all apart of the Green Quad residence. The apartments have four rooms, two bathrooms, and a kitchen and small living space. It is slightly far from the Russel House but has its own small cafe in one of the buildings.
When you apply to live here, you select one roommate and get randomly paired with the other two who likely selected each other.
Green Quad A was an amazing first home for me at USC having my own room and a kitchen couldn’t of been a better choice for me. The social aspect of it wasn’t as interactive with the other residents as I hoped for but I still met some amazing friends. It’s close to the science, engineering buildings and a short walk to community table and both gyms I loved being on that side of campus and the dorms itself was very nice compared to other resident dorms I definitely recommend! – Isabel
Living at Green Quad was amazing. I loved all of my roommates for the most part but the community on our hall was a bit saddening. We didn’t really have friendships with anyone else on the hall. We also had a kitchen and living room which was really nice. Having our own rooms was a godsend when you needed time away from people to get work done and really focus. It was in a good location compared to the science buildings, the gym, and Russell house. I recommend it to anyone that doesn’t really want to live in a typical dorm. – Emma
East Quad is another one of the three apartment buildings that you can live in as a freshman. Like the others, it has 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room and a kitchen. East Quad is an easy walk to the Russel House, and is about at a halfway point in the campus.
Also since a lot of people in East quad are business majors including myself it made the transition easier since I had friends in the same classes. I had my own room and a kitchen/living room which I feel like a lot of people don’t usually have their freshman year. Also the only downside is if you get placed in a 2 person room in East quad you most likely won’t have a stove and it’s a lot smaller. I can’t really think of that many cons besides maybe the water isn’t he shower getting clogged up or losing water pressure sometimes. Overall it was a really great place to live! -Emily
Park Place is one of the more unique residence halls. It is very far from campus for a typical residence hall. The building is also more expensive than the other options because it is so new. Park Place includes a pool, study rooms, a mailing center, gym, theater and even golf simulator.
The apartments house 4 people each having their own bedroom, bathroom, and closet. Inside each apartment there is a dishwasher and washer and dryer which no other residence hall has.
One difficult part about living there is dealing with food and your meal plan. The closest option is Community Table which is really good but a solid 15 minute walk. It’s harder to make friends in Park Place i’d say because it’s not as social of a dorm. If you put yourself out there you’ll be fine. Park Place is a really good place to live if you want to be a little independent. For example, getting yourself to class and eating real meals whether it’s cooking in the kitchen or getting to campus on weekends. Over all I LOVED it and all of my best friends lived there. Just because you don’t share a bedroom with your roommates doesn’t mean you don’t have really good friendships either. It’s definitely a different experience from traditional dorms but I loved it. -Addy B
Preston Residential College
Preston Residential College is another unique residence hall. It is a residential community that has its own meal plan to encourage the residents to develop deeper relationships. Their meal plan is right across from the residence hall and has homemade meals every day. It also gives their students exclusive classes. Preston College focuses around leadership skills, and if students are apart of Preston Scholars, they can graduate with leadership distinction.
Preston is a coed suite style building, with 2 people per dorm, and 4 people per bathroom. It is in a central location of campus right across from Russel House and located on the Horseshoe!
I am glad I lived in Preston! I met some of my best friends at Preston who will be by my side for the rest of college! It’s right across from the library and super close to Russell House! The Horseshoe is basically in the backyard, which is another huge plus! The porches can’t be beat. The back porch was my favorite study spot on warm days. Pros: best location on campus, meal plan, amazing community, so many events + free food. Cons: no real major cons! It is an older building so sometimes my room was freezing haha. If you wanna live in Preston, you do have to apply to live there but it’s really nothing too difficult. I think answering a few extra questions when applying for housing is definitely worth it!-Addy A
Bates West is an older apartment building with four people, each with their own bedroom. It is kind of far, but not as far as Park Place. Bates West is located right by the soccer field.
It’s about a 10 minute walk to Russell and the library. The apartment style is definitely a pro. I really enjoyed having 3 roommates instead of just one and having a kitchen/ living room was really convenient. If you don’t feel like walking all the way to Russell they have a diner in the building next door. A con is just that its pretty far from a lot of classes. I’m really glad I lived there. A major tip I have for someone living there is to go to Blatte fitness center rather than Strom. It is so much closer and is actually really nice in the weight room.”
This residence building is for students in the honors college. The Honors Residence is right next to the library and is in a pretty central location of campus. It is a coed suite style building with 2 to a dorm and 4 to a bathroom. The honors residence also has its own all you can eat cafeteria on the first floor.
I was in Honors. It is pretty close to Russell, the science building, Darla, and the library. It has in-house dining and U101 classes on the first floor. I can’t really think of any cons other than a slow elevator. I’m super glad that I lived there. I’d just tell people to get out on their hall in the first couple days because everyone is chill there.
Residences Not Reviewed:
- Maxy (International Students)
- South Tower (traditional style next to Patterson)
- South Quad (apartments)
- Mycbride (All boys)
- Bates House (Next to Bates West)
I tried to review as many residence halls as I could but I only know so many people! I hope that these reviews of the dorms were helpful and gave you a good idea about each residence hall. If you have any questions or thoughts please comment below and I’d love to help you out. To all of the new gamecocks, congrats and I can’t wait to meet you!