Housing at Bates isn’t really a black and white “good or bad” deal (except if you live in Smith, that’s not really a good thing). But this is what I know:
Let’s go down the housing options one by one:
Parker- I didn’t live in Parker but know people who did. It’s the most dormy of all the housing options. Really long linoleum hallways and all the 2-person rooms are basically the same size (not terribly big, not terribly small, maybe like 200-220 square feet for two people, I don’t know?) Everyone on the same floor of Parker tends to make friends with eachother, especially during Freshman year. So it’s a good atmosphere to make a lot of new friends, though I think it gets pretty noisy/rowdy on the weekends (compared to the other Freshman housing options except Smith)
Smith- In Smith, you and three other people have to cram into two doubles that open into each other. The arrangement is usually that all the desks go in one room and all the beds (bunked) go in the other. You either make really good friends with your roommates or HATE them and have to get out of there (but honestly I’m sure there’s a middle ground too). Smith is sort of a party dorm. I know whenever I went there to visit my friends Freshman year it smelled of stale beer and people called the girls who partied there “Smith Biddies”. Do with that information what you will. It’s also all Freshman, unlike most of the other housing except actual Houses (not dorms) such as Clason and Milliken. So try to make sure you say you don’t want to live in all-freshmen unless you can somehow make sure you live in a house rather than a dorm,
Rand- I lived in Rand Freshman year and I LOVED it (my room was huge with two giant windows and two walk in closets, but someone else’s room on my floor was super tiny, so it’s really the luck of the draw). This dorm is still sort of dormy, but less so than Parker because of the old-fashioned vibe I get from it (idk? Maybe it’s just because my floor was carpeted…it was still pretty dormy). But my god, the outside of Rand gorgeous. And my room looked out to the Chapel, which was nice. Anyways, people still bond with their floormates like Parker does (my floor was like cultishly close and most of them still chill together), so friendship still ensues there. Uh, Rand is a low-chem all-class year house, just like 280, so if you want to live in either of those, say you want to live in a low-chem dorm arrangement (with all class years).
280- This dorm has been described as “The place to live, but not the place to be”, meaning it’s a pretty darn nice living arrangement (pretty standard rooms and nice living room areas—Big screen tvs that work) but it’s NEVER where parties are at. It’s a very low-key living arrangement. You still make friends with your floormates, I believe. Idk, I didn’t know many 280ers to be honest. It’s nice to live there, but you have to find parties outside of your house (if that matters to you—but on the plus side it means your house will usually be pretty quiet which is nice).
Clason- All freshmen living in a house, so probably a tight-knit community (same as Millikin, who have been cult-ish in the past too. In like a good way I guess? Though when you get a safety group of friends early on, you’re less likely to explore outside of them so watch out for that. Always be looking for new groups of friends to hang out with so you don’t feel like you only know and eat with the people you live with). Anyways, houses are nice if you want that small community. You meet less people, but you grow closer with a few amount (unless you dislike them, then you’re stuck with them in a smaller area and have to see them too often). The rooms range from 150-170 sq feet which is small to normal sized with one 215 sq foot room (so don’t get your hopes up). Also, it’s chem-free all freshman (unlike Smith which is just all freshman), so if you want to live in all-freshman housing (which, to be honest, no matter what your living arrangements you’ll be surrounded by freshman where-ever you live. They group all the freshmen together) but don’t want to live in Smith, ask for no-chem (or if you really want Clason no-chem/house instead of dorm—-or if you want Millikin all freshman/ house instead of dorm.)
I know a couple of peeps who lived in Millikin their Freshman year. It’s an all freshman house. Similar to Clason, but it’s not “no-chem”. People can get culty here too (or as Bates calls it “a tight knit community”, which it is.) so you have to make sure to like join clubs and go to dinner with new people somehow in order to not get stuck in the safety net that is being friends with only the people you live with. Which, to be honest, is fine at first, and you eventually DO broaden your friendship groups just because of friends made in class or clubs or someone new was introduced to you by a Millikinite. But if you find that it’s hard for you to make new friends, be sure not to find yourself in an unhealthy situation in the houses.
Alright, that’s about it.
I need to go. I’ll edit this later.
Batesies, anything to add?