What’s included in first-year dorm rooms

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Over the past few decades, college dorm rooms have evolved, as has the idea of what items are “essential.”

Incoming first-year students can anticipate access to laundry machines without an additional charge, microwaves, Wi-Fi and individual desks, items that were once considered luxuries not too long ago.

For example, washing machines and dryers at TCU used to require students to pay with quarters and slowly evolved to have students swipe their ID cards, adding the cost to their student accounts.

“We decided we’re paying too much and that it’d be more effective to buy the machines ourselves so we can save money as an institution,” said Craig Allen, director of housing and residence life at TCU.

Students said having access to these items is beneficial to their college experience.

“They’re definitely useful and I don’t think dorms would be ideal without them,” said Jillian Morley, who just completed her first year.  

Laundry machines are provided in each residence hall.

Allen said the dorms have evolved tremendously throughout the past few years as they continue to update, renovate and build to accommodate to the growing campus size.

“You could go to a bigger school and you won’t find someone who’s done as top of a line inventory as we have done in the last 10 years,” Allen said.

As for the future of on-campus housing, there is still room for improvement, according to a campus survey, as students requested the desire for more on-campus housing for upperclassmen.

“Living on campus is very important to a lot of juniors and seniors,” Allen said. “We have to figure out how we meet that need and what we have to change.”

In addition to focusing on upper-division students, Allen said housing will continue to look for ways to make sure first-year students have a smooth transition from high school to college by designing dorms that are not too big or that can become too “impersonal” for students.

“Our staff is instructed that the most important part of their job is to know their students,” Allen said. “It makes a difference and helps us stand apart from other universities.”